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Join James Williamson, as he shows you how to create elegant menus, links, and buttons that help visitors navigate your site faster and more intuitively. The course covers creating structured navigation that is accessible and clean, styling links, and building horizontal and vertical menus with rollover effects. The last chapter reveals how to create stylish buttons with special effects and CSS sprites.
Although our dropdown menu is functioning properly, it is not quite perfect yet. As we saw in the last exercise, when we roll over the submenu items, our top-level rollovers go away. We need to create a persistent hover state that's going to keep that rollover active as we browse through the submenus. We really don't need to do a lot to accomplish this. All we have to really do is just update a couple of our existing selectors. So, this time we are going to be working with the dropdown file again, but this time from the 05_07.
And we're actually going to be styling up in the top-level menus, so make sure you're looking up at the horizontal menu styles. I'm looking for the selector that controls the rollovers for our top-level menu items, and it would be this little guy right here, so li a:hover. Now, what's interesting about this one is this is really targeting any link that's being hovered over, which is also inside of the list item. And that includes all of our submenus, and that's one of the reasons why we had to create this selector. As specific as it is, it's overriding the top-level hover styles.
What we really need to do is find a way to target only those top-level links. And to do that, we're going to utilize one of the newer selectors that CSS has given us. Just after the li a:hover selector, I am going to type in a comma to group another selector with it, and I am going to go ahead and type in topmenu li:hover a. Let's talk about who the selector is going to target. It's going to look inside the topmenu, which is the top-level unordered list, it's going to find any list item inside of that that's being hovered over, and then it's going to find any link that's inside a list item being hovered over.
So, it's really saying any link, any list item inside topmenu--and it's not being very specific--it's saying any one of them, no matter how far down the tree you go. That means that this selector would still apply to all the links also in our submenus. So we need to change that. I am going to place my cursor between the topmenu and the li. Then I'm going to do a space. I am going to type in a greater-than symbol or a right-angle bracket, depending upon how you like to refer to it. Now, make sure that there is space on either side of that. This is what's known as a child combinator.
If you've never used it before, what a child combinator does for you is it's very similar to descendant selector, but it has a way of ending it right inside that element. So it's basically saying, okay, look inside that top-level menu and find any list item that is a direct child of that menu. So, it doesn't say just how far down give me all of the list items. It says, no, no, no, just inside the top menu. That would return all the list items inside the top- level menu but none of the list items in the submenus.
Now, after that we are still using a descendant selector. Now we're saying give me any links. So, that's still targeting the links that are inside the submenus. So, what I am going to do now is I am going to add another child combinator to it. Now, I know this looks really complex, but trust me, your browser can handle this no problem at all. So what this is doing is it's saying, hey, look inside the top menu, find the list items that are a direct child of my menu, and then find the links that are the direct child of that list item. So if we go into the code, the actual structure, what this is going to do is it's going to say, hey, find this, find the list item that is a direct child.
So this would match, but this would not because this is not a direct child. Then it would say find any links that are direct child. So this would match, but this would not. So it's a nice way of targeting just those top-level links. Now, what's really nice about this, again, it's going to persist as long as I'm hovering over this list item. Because the list item also includes the submenu, that means that this will stay active as long as you are mousing over that list item, which of course, as I mentioned includes the submenu. So if I save this, go back into my browser, and refresh the menu, sure enough, when I mouse over this now, as I mouse down, you'll notice that this persists, which is perfect.
That's exactly what we want. On the surface, it looks like everything is fine until I mouse over the current one. That's one of the real problems with writing a selector that's that specific. That's pretty easy to take care of. All we really need to do is I am just going to go right back down to the selector below it that's controlling that current styling, and I am just going to group another selector with that, I am going to say topmenu li:hover a.current. I don't really need to use child combinators here because I can be very, very specific in saying any link that has a class current applied to it, when its list items are hovered over just go ahead and persist the styling.
So, saving that, refreshing the browser, so now not only does our submenu work, but now it leaves our current styling alone as well. So there you have it. Our dropdown menu is now fully functional. So all we need to do really is to go ahead and turn on the rest of the submenus. And if we ever wanted to create another one, we could just go ahead and create another submenu and the styling would apply to it. So I am going to go back in my code right now, and I want to get rid of the comments that we have, and yes, I am taking advantage of Dreamweaver here.
I am so sorry, but you could just delete those comment tags, save that. Now, I want to come back to the page. Notice that not only is products working, blog is working, and contact is working, all three of our submenus are performing exactly the way we want it to. So really, if About needed another submenu, all I would have to do is go in and structure it with the HTML, and the styles would go ahead and take care of all the functionality and appearance of the submenu. Now, if we wanted to create multilevel dropdowns, that would require a little bit more work, but honestly, the techniques behind them are exactly the same as we've used here.
So, once you've experimented with building single-level dropdowns, see if you can figure out how a multi-level menu might work.
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