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A web site is just a web site unless it’s designed with a unique style. Creating a CSS Style Guide: Hands-On Training highlights the importance of a CSS style guide, which serves as an interface for the design team and a communication tool for the client. Laurie Burruss calls on her background as director of digital media at Pasadena City College and takes an informative, real–world approach to this topic. She shows how Dreamweaver CS4 can be used to develop a coherent site–wide emotion that boosts brand identity. The course culminates with building a working web style guide for professional use. Exercise files and a downloadable PDF quiz accompany the course.
Download the exercise files from the Exercise Files tab.
Although it's beginning to look more page-like and more like a style guide that we might show around our team, it's still too tight. We have no negative and positive space. We really need to talk about margins and padding. It's confusing to beginners, it's even confusing to people who have been doing it a long time, but as you can see, the box is clearly evident. If I add margins, that will add space or push away from the box. Think of your hand going out to the side and pushing someone away.
If I add padding, it goes inside the box, so think of taking your hands and holding yourself tightly. It goes away from the inside edge. For instance, if we are shipping something with FedEx, we would put padding inside in the box. That's the way I think of it. I really do literally think of it as sort of like packing a box, things outside the box and inside the box. I'll say it one more time. Pushing away outside the box, margin; putting something inside the box would be padding and pushing away from the inside edge of that box.
So let's go back into Dreamweaver and see if we can get some of the negative space and some of the padding that this page needs so desperately. Click on the document window to refocus and where we need to add the padding is in that Content box. That's where there is no give. That's where there is no breathing room. So let's return to the CSS Style Guide and scroll to the bottom to look for our content ID style. Double-click on that. Let's go to the Box Category.
In padding, let's try putting 20 pixels. I'm just guessing that that might be a good number and let's click Apply. Immediately we get that breathing room. That text is now coming away from the edge. It's kind of floating and holding its own space, which is exactly what we want. Padding is a good thing if you understand the box that's containing it and that it's moving away from the edge of that box. I'm going to click OK. Again, I'm going to look down through my page and just check for few other things. Now that I have added that padding, there is no reason this table can't be the full 100%, because I know that the 20 pixels on the left and the right will keep it from going clear across the browser. So I'm going to put my I-beam inside the table. Go to the Tag Inspector and select that tag table and down in the Property Inspector where it says Width, I'm going to type 100%. Then I'll Tab out. That looks good.
Let's go File > Save All and let's take one last look at the page inside the browser to make sure that it's got the right proportions of negative and positive space and that we have used margins and padding correctly. Now that looks like a page. That's looking very, very good. See how the table is holding its own, stretching clear across and stopping right at the 20 pixels on the left and right. We have some breathing room on the bottom of 20 pixels. On both sides we have 20 pixels and right at the top it's starting to look like a real webpage.
Margins and padding are difficult to understand when you first start learning to do web design. But we are lucky. This page looks good. We have styled it correctly and we have a way by using our Firebug toolbar to check out our padding and margins. Over on the left you see our body tag, but we really want to look at our content Div. As soon as I roll over the word content, look what Firebug does for us automatically. The aqua color says that is what your Box is and the purple color shows us padding. This indicates that we have 20 pixels all the way around this box. So the purple is inside the box.
If I dig down inside the hierarchy here and go down to h2. In this case, it's yellow green and it's outside of the box. This is margin, not padding. So if you ever really want to see how is it working, is it padding, is it margin, is it inside the box or outside the box? Use your Firebug application to check your margin and padding and be able to understand the box model. There is one other thing I want to show you that exists inside of Firebug is this layout model. As I hover over different IDs, different tags, this model will continue to change and show me what's going on with this particular page.
Now it's not proportional. I actually think the view in the window is much easier to understand. Remember, purple is padding and yellow green is margin outside the box. To close this window up, just simply click here. Take one more look at your page. Make sure everything is breathing, standing on its own and holding its own on the page.
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