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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.
By adding the footer, we have really made that style page rock visually but there are things we can do behind the scene. Remember it's front end and back end design. Commenting is one of those ways. Typically when you go out for a job interview in industry, there is a first interview where you show your visual portfolio but there is what we call a callback or a second interview. In that second interview, the employer will ask to look at your file structure, to see your file folders, to actually see your code, to see your CSS style sheets, to see your notes on how you started the project, even those text documents that I showed earlier in this project.
One of the ways you can show them that you really are in the know is to comment your code and I always comment style sheets. Let's click on our Code View then select our style guide. I do this as much for my team and for my clients as for myself. Often when you are working with a client, three months later they will call you back and say, "I would like you do some maintenance work" and this is a great way for designer to make some money and to have a long term relationship with their clients but it has been three months and there has been three projects between then and now. By adding comments, I can see exactly what I have done and I can go and help my client get their site updated the way they want.
A typical request by a client might be "It's wintertime. Let's change the background color to reflect what's going on in winter." "I want to change an image here or do this." Now this is a small, small site, but still comments will help. The second big, big reason for me is I can share my code, share my ideas and do this throughout the design process so that my team knows what I'm doing, why we are doing it, what changes need to be made. So comments are a good thing. At the top of your style sheet, insert your I-beam right after the utf-8 phrase and then hit the Return or Enter key. To create a comment, simply do /* and don't get worried if everything turns gray, then do another */.
It will all come back on. As long as your comments are wrapped in this /* */, it won't show anywhere. It's just for you only. It's a visual only, read-only thing for the designer or developer. Insert your I-beam between the two asterisks. The first thing we want to remind ourselves is that we used CSS shorthand throughout. So let's type that, CSS Shorthand used throughout. Try to keep it short, simple and direct. So when I come back to this project three months, six months from now, I'll know exactly what's going on here.
I also spend a lot of time ordering my tags in order that I could find them again and that's good to comment about as well. I'm going to select this line, so I don't need to type that again, copy it, insert my I-beam at the end of this line, this comment, hit the Return key, paste, delete everything between the asterisks and right here I'm going to write HTML Tag Styles. I will copy this little comment again and go to my next section of styles which are my classes and I can tell when I at the classes because classes have a period before the name of the class. I'll insert my I-beam after the last style but before the classes, paste, delete everything between the asterisks and here I'll type 'Class styles' and because I'm a beginner, I'm just going to write another note to myself, '- can be applied many times per page.' I can use it as often as I want. Select this line, copy it, move on down your page, I have all my ids together and I can recognize that they are ids because they are proceeded by the hash mark. Insert my I-beam after the last style, hit the Return key, paste, select everything between the two asterisks, delete that and what we want to type here is 'DIV ID Styles' and 'can be applied only once per page.' That looks good.
And finally one other thing. I need to make a little note to myself about the anchor tags. I don't know if I can remember all these things about the anchor tags and this is a big problem. Anchor tags have to be consistent throughout large sites so lots of people comment. We will make an easy one for a beginner but something to remind us about how to use our anchor tags. So I'm going to click on the last tag, hit my Return or Enter key, paste, select everything between the two asterisks, delete and I'm going to write 'a or anchor tags -t he four states that must appear in the following order' and that order should be L, V, H, and A. And let's just put our little mnemonic device in here. LoVeHAte. I even have my little prompt to remind me to keep this order the same way for all my anchor tags.
This kind of commenting, markup, project management and attention to detail will help you with your portfolio development and eventually support your efforts in the job market. Now one other thing I want to tell you, comments do not change the way your page displays. It's simply for you. That's why it's grayed out. It isn't code that will be applied in any way by the browser. So whenever you see other people's style sheets and you see this gray commenting, be sure you read it. It's for you to read or to remind you. People put their dates in there, they put all kinds of information, even what they were thinking about and why they were styling it the way they were.
I really enjoy going out using my Web Developers toolbar and looking at the kinds of comments that other designers and developers are using. Let's go back to Design View and in fact, those comments have not in any way changed the way the design view looks. Comments- use them. You will set yourself apart, you will look like you know how to communicate both visually, orally, and in writing.
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