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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 the Properties Inspector makes it easy for the web designer to do a lot of formatting and marking up tags, there are many, many more tags that are not available through the Properties Inspector. So one shouldn't be afraid of using some hand coding and trying out some other things in marking up their page. Let's try Definition List, a very popular tag, but one not available in the Properties Inspector. I have made it identifiable in my Design View by putting a dl in front of it to remind me this is where we will do the Definition List.
I am going to put my I-beam right there and delete that, now that we know. In Code View, let's bring that up so we can see them side-by-side. There are three parts to the Definition List. There is the parent tag, which is called the dl, Definition List. There is the actual word that will be defined, which is called the Definition Term, dt, and then there is the Definition Data or the definition of that word, dd. In order to do this, we need to select the entire group to put the tag on.
That will be the parent tag, the dl. Right-click, drop down through the menu and remove the p tag. We don't want the p tag on this particular grouping. Now we want to wrap the parent tag or the dl tag. Right-click, choose Wrap Tag, go ahead and start typing D. We know that we are going to make this a dl, and you can see that the code hints appear right here. You can scroll down, if you don't remember. You can start looking through those. There is the dl, d for Definition, l for List. Select that, hit your Return key, click anywhere in the document window, and that will apply.
Let's check that out in the Code View. Here is the opening tag, dl, and it is completely wrapped around, the opening and close tag has been properly applied. Within the parent tag, we need to put the Definition Term. Let's select that part that should be the Definition Term, Blue, all the way to the end of the sentence. Right click. We don't need to remove a tag this time. We want this tag to be embedded in that parent tag, so select Wrap Tag. Start to type. This is going to be the Definition Term, d, and then if you want to you can scroll down where we know that it is the dt. You can simply type dt, Definition Term pops up in the menu, click anywhere outside. Let's look back over at our Code View and inside of the parent tag dl, we see the dt or Definition Term that was applied correctly.
The third and last thing we need to do is tag the Definition Data or the Definition of the word we are trying to do, which in this case is the color of the sky. Right click. Again, choose Wrap Tag. This one will be dd and now Dreamweaver knows and intuitively understands that we are trying to format or markup the Definition List, and it jumps to the dd tag, which it's expecting because we are doing it in that order. Go ahead and hit Return or Enter, click on the document window, there you go.
Let's take a sec to see it in Design View so we get an overall impression of how our page looks, and that is the correct display for the Definition List. Remember, all lists have a parent tag and then a way to display the parts inside of the tag. The Definition List is popular because it has two different child tags and that allows you to style your content three different ways. You will see more when we get to the CSS style sheets. Let's return to Split View, and let's try it another way. Maybe an easier way is some way that might make us get a little more comfortable. What if we didn't know anything about the Definition List? Well, one of the great features inside of Dreamweaver is our Help menu. Let's click on Help, and let's scroll down to Reference. Included with the application is a set of the O'Reilly Reference Materials. Let's click on the dropdown menu. These are all of the O'Reilly books that are included with your version of Dreamweaver CS4. It's fantastic.
We will use the HTML Reference right now. It always jumps to whatever tag you have your I-beam on inside your document. Evidently I had mine somewhere inside the Unordered List, but we want to be working on our Definition List. So let's click on the dropdown menu for Tag. It's in alphabetical order. Let's go up to d. we know it's a Definition List, select dl, and this is what makes me love this tool. It gives you the opening and closing tag. It describes how you should use the tag and the parts of this tag. That it has child tags that go within it. If you scroll to the bottom, you will see that it actually gives you an example.
So if you don't know anything about how to setup the tag and you don't know how to use the parent and child tags, just simply select this, copy it, close your Reference Guide. In Code View, let's go to the end of our Definition List that we just created, the one about Blue, find the close tag, which is /dl, insert our I-beam, hit the Return key, and then let's do a Command+V or Paste. Terrific! Now we have the example inside. If we click on the Refresh key on the right, you will see that that example now is displaying inside of our page. But it's not the content that we want. Let's try making a new definition.
I would like to define what Yellow is. So let's select their content and type the word Yellow. Let me override that, click on your Refresh button. Notice again, it appears in our Design View. Then select everything within the dd tag or the Definition Data, and we will write 'Yellow is the color of bananas and New York taxis.' Again, click on that Refresh button. Wow, looks great. I like to keep checking again in Design View to get an overall impression of my design, to see if the code and the markup looks correct, and that does.
Another popular tag that you can do using the Properties Inspector is the blockquote. Lots of us will be inserting quotations and indented items inside of our main body content. So let's move on down to the blockquote, select that, and let's go into Split View so you can see what's happening when I select those words. When I select those words, you can see that one, there is a line break in there, which we don't want. So we are going to delete that. Then let's select the text again.
You can also see that we do not have the opening and close tag selected, and there is an easy way to get around this. I'm going to go back into Design View. If you don't know whether you have your opening and closing tag selected, you can simply go down to your Tag Inspector and select that tag. If we go back into Split View, you will now see our selection includes not only our content but the tag. This is very important when you are going to be changing tags that you get rid of the old tag and insert the new tag.
Click back in Design View and we are going to use what we call the Quick Tag Editor by using a hot key, Command+T or Ctrl+T. Notice now it knows that we have the p tag wrapped around this content. We want to eliminate the p tag and instead put the blockquote. Again, it appears in our code hints. Select that, click on Return, click anywhere in the document, and now it's properly applied. Beginners, again, I can't emphasize how important it is to keep looking in Split View to make sure that what you think you did is what you did. There, clean code. blockquote opening, blockquote closing, no extraneous tags. This is exactly the way we want to markup our document.
So what have we learned? It's okay to hand-code. Don't be afraid to try it. The Help features, particularly the O'Reilly References can not only teach you code, but make it easier for you to insert code. Finally, we have this great tool, the Command+T, Ctrl+T Quick Tag Editor. The Quick Tag Editor can do three things, Insert, Edit, and Wrap Tags, and also if we are not sure if we have selected both the content and the tags, always check down in the Tag Inspector at the bottom. This makes it a lot more fun and you will try a lot more things if you feel free to try using and inserting hand codes and tags.
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