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CSS: Core Concepts

Adjacent selectors


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CSS: Core Concepts

with James Williamson

Video: Adjacent selectors

Adjacent selectors allow you to target elements based on which elements follow one another in your code. Essentially, adjacent selectors let you style in an element based on which element comes before it in the document, providing that both of those elements are inside the same parent. Does that sound confusing? Well, it's really not, once you try it out. So let's go ahead and open up the adjacent.htm file. You can find that in the 02_11 folder, in the Chapter 2 directory. And I just want to check this in the browser before we get into writing the CSS for this, so let me switch over to my browser. And what we have is we have a couple of headlines.
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  1. 4m 57s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 2s
  2. 1h 7m
    1. Exploring default styling
      4m 56s
    2. CSS authoring tools
      2m 29s
    3. CSS syntax
      4m 45s
    4. Writing a selector
      4m 10s
    5. Setting properties
      8m 40s
    6. Common units of measurement
      7m 47s
    7. Inline styles
      5m 1s
    8. Embedded styles
      5m 19s
    9. Using external style sheets
      10m 34s
    10. Checking for browser support
      8m 48s
    11. Dealing with browser inconsistencies
      5m 30s
  3. 2h 15m
    1. Structuring HTML correctly
      2m 51s
    2. Element selectors
      4m 52s
    3. Class selectors
      6m 4s
    4. ID selectors
      3m 27s
    5. Using classes and IDs
      10m 7s
    6. Element-specific selectors
      4m 35s
    7. The universal selector
      5m 42s
    8. Grouping selectors
      4m 49s
    9. Descendent selectors
      7m 32s
    10. Child selectors
      5m 7s
    11. Adjacent selectors
      5m 30s
    12. Attribute selectors
      12m 43s
    13. Pseudo-class selectors
      3m 54s
    14. Dynamic pseudo-class selectors
      8m 29s
    15. Structural pseudo-class selectors
      6m 45s
    16. Nth-child selectors
      13m 10s
    17. Pseudo-element selectors
      12m 40s
    18. Targeting page content: Lab
      8m 56s
    19. Targeting page content: Solution
      7m 59s
  4. 42m 39s
    1. What happens when styles conflict?
      4m 0s
    2. Understanding the cascade
      5m 47s
    3. Using inheritance
      6m 11s
    4. Selector specificity
      6m 55s
    5. The !important declaration
      4m 5s
    6. Reducing conflicts through planning
      3m 33s
    7. Resolving conflicts: Lab
      6m 45s
    8. Resolving conflicts: Solution
      5m 23s
  5. 1h 47m
    1. Setting a font family
      7m 10s
    2. Using @font-face
      9m 18s
    3. Setting font size
      7m 35s
    4. Font style and font weight
      6m 52s
    5. Transforming text
      3m 58s
    6. Using text variants
      2m 49s
    7. Text decoration options
      4m 26s
    8. Setting text color
      3m 2s
    9. Writing font shorthand notation
      8m 49s
    10. Controlling text alignment
      6m 33s
    11. Letter and word spacing
      9m 11s
    12. Indenting text
      4m 30s
    13. Adjusting paragraph line height
      10m 30s
    14. Controlling the space between elements
      6m 41s
    15. Basic text formatting: Lab
      8m 45s
    16. Basic text formatting: Solution
      7m 14s
  6. 2h 1m
    1. Understanding the box model
      16m 53s
    2. Controlling element spacing
      14m 29s
    3. Controlling interior spacing
      10m 49s
    4. Margin and padding shorthand notation
      6m 27s
    5. Adding borders
      8m 57s
    6. Defining element size
      10m 7s
    7. Creating rounded corners
      6m 58s
    8. Background properties
      2m 51s
    9. Using background images
      5m 10s
    10. Controlling image positioning
      10m 25s
    11. Using multiple backgrounds
      7m 5s
    12. Background shorthand notation
      5m 25s
    13. Styling container elements: Lab
      7m 55s
    14. Styling container elements: Solution
      8m 17s
  7. 47m 51s
    1. Color keyword definitions
      5m 4s
    2. Understanding hexadecimal notation
      6m 5s
    3. Using RGB values
      4m 58s
    4. Using HSL values
      5m 17s
    5. Working with opacity
      2m 23s
    6. Using RGBa and HSLa
      3m 8s
    7. Styling drop shadows
      5m 38s
    8. CSS gradients
      6m 32s
    9. Working with color: Lab
      4m 26s
    10. Working with color: Solution
      4m 20s
  8. 1m 58s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 58s

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CSS: Core Concepts
8h 49m Beginner Nov 22, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this hands-on course, James Williamson demonstrates the concepts that form the foundation of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), including styling text, adding margins and padding, and controlling how images display. The course also explores the tools needed to work with CSS, the differences between embedded and external styles, how to use selectors to target elements, and what to do when styles conflict.

Topics include:
  • Exploring default styling
  • Writing a selector
  • Setting properties
  • Working with common units of measurement, including ems and pixels
  • Structuring HTML correctly
  • Understanding the cascade and inheritance
  • Setting a font family, font size, text color, and more
  • Understanding the box model
  • Styling container elements
  • Working with RGB vs. HSL values
  • Styling drop shadows
Subject:
Web
Software:
CSS
Author:
James Williamson

Adjacent selectors

Adjacent selectors allow you to target elements based on which elements follow one another in your code. Essentially, adjacent selectors let you style in an element based on which element comes before it in the document, providing that both of those elements are inside the same parent. Does that sound confusing? Well, it's really not, once you try it out. So let's go ahead and open up the adjacent.htm file. You can find that in the 02_11 folder, in the Chapter 2 directory. And I just want to check this in the browser before we get into writing the CSS for this, so let me switch over to my browser. And what we have is we have a couple of headlines.

This is a heading 1 followed by another heading 1 which is inside of an article, so the rest of the text is inside of an article tag. And we have some paragraphs after that, we have some subheadings with paragraphs, another subheadings with some paragraphs. So what I'd like to do here is to adjust the spacing between the headings and the paragraphs wherever they're found. I'd also like the initial paragraph after each subheading to be italicized, just for stylistic purposes. Now this can be very hard to do with traditional selectors. Even descendent selectors would make this difficult, and I would probably have to employ some type of class attribute, which would mean that I'd have to go through all the code and apply a class of the first paragraph after every single heading.

Well, the good news here is that adjacent selectors allow us to do this without using class or ID attributes. So I'm going to go back to my code, and I just want to scroll up a little bit till I get into my styles. There are quite a few styles already in the document, and that's just sort of to handle the default styling that we have. So right here in the *add styles here* section around line 69, that's where I'm going to add my styles. So adjacent selectors are a lot like child selectors in the fact that they have a combinator that they use. If you remember from the last movie, the child combinator is the greater than sign, so adjacent selectors use the plus symbol.

So here I'm just going to type in h2 + p, so that's in the adjacent combinator. And again, whitespace here is immaterial, so I could write the selector like this, or I could write the selector like that. It's whichever one you're most comfortable with, whichever one is easier for you to read; both of them will work just fine. All right, so I'm going to go ahead and open up my curly braces, and inside that I'm just going to do some really basic styling. I'm going to do margin-top. So I'm going to increase the space above the paragraph by .6ems, so that's .6em and then a semicolon, and then I'm going to do font-style: italic.

And I know for several of these exercises in this chapter where we're focusing on selectors I'm setting properties and I'm not really talking about those properties that much. If that's frustrating to you, please don't get frustrated; we're going to have some chapters that'll follow this where we get into properties like margins, and font-style, font-family, typography, things like that. So we will be focusing on those properties just a little bit later on. Right now, our focus is on targeting. Okay, so going back to this selector, this basically says find every single paragraph that immediately follows an h2 if they're in the same parent.

So in this case, here's our article tag that's what our parent element, and if I scroll down, I can find a heading 2 with the paragraph directly following it so it would target this paragraph and then any paragraph like that. So I'm going to save this, go back to my browser, and refresh my page, and you can see, if I scroll down a little bit, it targeted each of the paragraphs that come directly after a heading 2. We've got our extra space above it and we have the italicized text. Now one of the things this allows me to do, just like in normal typography on a page, if I want my subheadings and paragraphs a little bit closer together to sort of indicate that this section belongs together and have a greater amount of space above that, this type of selector makes that a lot easier to do.

Now you'll notice that it didn't target the paragraph that came directly after the h1, and that's because we were very specific in the saying h2. Now we can group from these selectors together. So if I go back into my code and go back up to the selector that we just wrote, it's just as simple for me to say h1 + p, and that's how we're going to group these together. I can't get really group them together here. So if I try to do this syntax--h1, h2 + p--that would target every single h1.

If I try to do something like this, where I was saying h1 + h2 + p, that's not going to work either, because that's basically saying target a paragraph when it comes immediately after an h2 which comes immediately after an h1. So in order to target both instances, I've got to say h1 + p, so I'm just grouping those together. So again, I'm going to save this, go back out to my browser and test it, and you'll notice that it's targeting that paragraph as well. So these adjacent selectors, they're extremely handy, and they can save you a tremendous amount of time when you're targeting elements based on when they are found with specific siblings.

Now this is particularly useful when dealing with the interior styling of consistently structured elements. For example, let's say you had a complex block quote or a pull quote or something like that that you'd pulled out and it's always going to be structured the same. These adjacent selectors are really handy at targeting the sort of similar structures and styling them the way you want to in a very complex fashion. That's one of the things I really love about it: it allows you to style these elements without using unnecessary class attributes. And if you can really plan out when to use them, I think you will find them extremely helpful.

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