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Creating block-level links

From: CSS: Styling Navigation

Video: Creating block-level links

One of the really cool changes in HTML5 that often gets overlooked is the ability to create what we call block-level links. This means that instead of having to use separate links for multiple elements that all link to the same page, we can now wrap all of those elements in one single anchor element. Now to show you guys that, I have the block-level.htm file open here, and if I look at this in a browser, you can see it's a little Products page that has one single product on it, a Ultra Glazed Blue Vase.

Creating block-level links

One of the really cool changes in HTML5 that often gets overlooked is the ability to create what we call block-level links. This means that instead of having to use separate links for multiple elements that all link to the same page, we can now wrap all of those elements in one single anchor element. Now to show you guys that, I have the block-level.htm file open here, and if I look at this in a browser, you can see it's a little Products page that has one single product on it, a Ultra Glazed Blue Vase.

It has the title of the product, it has an image below that, and then one line of text and a price. Now what if we had a more detailed product detail page that you wanted people to be able to go to if they wanted more information about this particular item? It would be nice if all of those elements, the heading, the image, the price, if they were all clickable so that you could just click on any of them, and it would take you to the product detail page, that would be kind of nice. Well, again, using block-level links, we can do that. Now in the past, if we wanted that type of functionality, we would have to wrap every single one of those elements in an anchor tag.

So for example, I would have to come up to the heading 2, go ahead and wrap that in an anchor element, going to the Detail page, and then maybe I'll just give it a title, and I'll title it "our blue vase", there we go. So you know, I save this, and I will preview that again. You can see that now we have a link here that takes us to the Detail page, which is kind of nice. But if I wanted every single element within the summary to be clickable, I now have to go in and do that three more times. I have to wrap every single one of those elements.

That means if the link changes, I have to update all of them. If, you know, I have 100 products, you can imagine how tedious that's going to be. So what's really nice, again, about the sort of block-level link capability in HTML5 is I can simply take this closing anchor tag, and I can now wrap all of those elements. If I save this, go back into my page and preview this, now you'll notice that every single one of these guys is clickable, and it takes into exactly the same page. Now one word of warning when using this technique, older versions of Firefox had a slight bug when you used it with HTML5 elements being inside the block-level link, so you want to be careful about that.

It is HTML5 only, but I do want to point out that really this is HTML5 supporting a behavior that browsers have long supported. So even if you're not using the HTML5, and you want to do this, there's a good chance that it'll still work just fine, no problems out there. Most browsers support this and have supported it in HTML for quite some time. Now the biggest problem is what you're seeing right here on the screen. Once you trigger the link, all of the linked elements share in the link state because it's just one gigantic link.

So you'll notice that right now they all have the focus because they were the link that I clicked on. If I click and hold the mouse down, notice that they all become the active link. If I hover over them, the hover state applies to all of them. As you can imagine, this can present some really interesting styling challenges for styling block-level links. It's so interesting. In fact, we were actually going to take a closer look at styling block-level links a little later on in the course.

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This video is part of

Image for CSS: Styling Navigation
CSS: Styling Navigation

53 video lessons · 17802 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 3m 8s
    1. Welcome
      42s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      1m 12s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 14s
  2. 35m 25s
    1. Organizing menus with lists
      4m 26s
    2. Ensuring accessibility
      9m 3s
    3. Using the nav element
      7m 30s
    4. Creating block-level links
      3m 8s
    5. Lab: Structuring navigation
      4m 11s
    6. Solution: Structuring navigation
      7m 7s
  3. 48m 42s
    1. Exploring link style considerations
      9m 2s
    2. Using global link styles
      9m 56s
    3. Styling link states
      10m 57s
    4. Indicating external links
      10m 4s
    5. Styling image links
      8m 43s
  4. 52m 5s
    1. Stripping default list styling
      4m 34s
    2. Defining link dimensions
      6m 0s
    3. Setting link styling
      3m 36s
    4. Aligning links vertically
      4m 11s
    5. Controlling link spacing
      2m 30s
    6. Styling menus with borders
      2m 32s
    7. Creating rollovers
      4m 45s
    8. Restricting link styling
      3m 31s
    9. Lab: Creating a vertical menu
      11m 44s
    10. Solution: Creating a vertical menu
      8m 42s
  5. 54m 58s
    1. Stripping list styling
      3m 35s
    2. Displaying links horizontally
      6m 14s
    3. Clearing floats
      6m 12s
    4. Controlling link sizing and spacing
      3m 11s
    5. Styling links
      7m 16s
    6. Creating rollovers
      5m 52s
    7. Indicating current pages
      4m 43s
    8. Controlling cursor states
      2m 46s
    9. Lab: Creating horizontal menus
      6m 45s
    10. Solution: Creating horizontal menus
      8m 24s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. Overview of dropdown menus
      1m 17s
    2. Structuring submenus
      5m 56s
    3. Styling submenus
      6m 4s
    4. Creating submenu rollovers
      3m 28s
    5. Positioning submenus
      5m 43s
    6. Controlling submenu display
      5m 5s
    7. Creating persistent hover states
      5m 53s
    8. Animating menus with CSS transitions
      6m 29s
    9. Lab: Dropdown menus
      6m 51s
    10. Solution: Dropdown menus
      8m 49s
  7. 58m 7s
    1. Creating CSS-only buttons
      8m 39s
    2. Creating special effects for buttons
      4m 2s
    3. Enhancing buttons with gradients
      7m 40s
    4. Overview of CSS sprites
      3m 30s
    5. Using CSS sprites for icons
      14m 30s
    6. Styling block-level links
      8m 38s
    7. Lab: Enhancing navigation with CSS
      5m 26s
    8. Solution: Enhancing navigation with CSS
      5m 42s
  8. 6m 29s
    1. Additional resources
      6m 29s

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