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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.
Right now, all our text looks the same on this web page, but we want to give certain text more weight and other text less weight, we want it to have meaning. We want our main headers to be larger, our subheaders to be smaller. We want our body text to look one way. So let's start adding some semantic markup, this is called formatting your HTML. Let's select the first line of text, which is our Simple Text navigation bar. We can see by using the Tag Inspector at the bottom of the document window that this has a p tag that is nested in. If I went to Code View right now and looked at this, you can see that a p tag is wrapped around this line.
So if you are not sure what kind of tags or formatting you have, you can always select it and look at the Tag Inspector. Let's click on Design View. I'm going to leave the navigation bar alone right now. We will come back to it later. I would like to start formatting the three headers that I have here. The first thing I notice is I would like to keep it semantic, make it meaningful. I have talked about this over and over again. Main Heading means it's the largest one, but Heading 2, a better name for that would be a Sub-Heading. Then Heading 3 means it's going to be smaller.
One of the things we know about heading is Heading 1 down to 3, Heading 1 is our largest one, 3 is a smaller one, and we can go on down with the numbers getting smaller and smaller. Let's select Main Heading 1, including the h1 that indicates just that we are going to make this an h1 format. Come down to your Properties Inspector, go to your Format dropdown menu and select Heading 1. There you go, pretty big heading. It's done in the default style of the browsers and what's recommended by the W3C. This is exactly how it would appear in a browser if you added no style sheets.
Let's select Sub-Heading 2, and apply, as I have indicated, an h2 tag. Go down to Format, click on the dropdown menu, select Heading 2. So you can see, this is really easy and fun. Select Heading 3, we are going to apply an h3 tag or formatting to that, select that, and now it's applied. If we go back to Split View and match up our windows to look at that, we can see that Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3 are all applied.
A great way to think about code is that it's a set of instructions that tells the browser how to display your page. So we are saying, when you see these words, Main Heading1, h1, put them in an h1 tag and display it that way in the browser. It's simply a set of instructions telling the browser what to do. Let's go back to Design View. This is going to be body text, and the p tag or Paragraph tag is a perfect tag for that. But let's just check to make sure when you are being a web designer. You can never err too much on the side of caution. Although you and I both know that this paragraph is probably in a p tag, let's select it and make sure.
How do we check? We look down at our Tag Inspector and see that in fact it does have the p tag wrapped around it. I am going to move and scroll up the page a little bit. The next two areas that we want to look at are list, the Unordered List and the Ordered List, and I want to do this in Split View, so you can see how the code displays this. This is a more complicated tag, but its one that you can do using your Properties Inspector. Scroll up so that they match visually. There we go. There is our Apples. You can see the Apples there and you can see our Apples here.
Let's select the Apples, Oranges, and Lemons. Then look down at your Properties Inspector, and you will see that there is a bullet list or that's what you call it in Microsoft Word, but in HTML, we call this an Unordered List, the tag is ul. Let's click on that button. Notice what happened over here in Code View and also what happened in Design View. In Design View, it added a bullet. It compressed the space or the line height of the items, and it grouped them as one main element.
In Code View, this is very important to notice, ul is a mother or a parent tag. It defines this whole grouping. It's saying that whatever appears within this tag will be part of an Unordered List. An Unordered List is just a group of things. It means they have something that relates to it, but they don't need to be in any particular order. So that's what an Unordered List is. In this case, we have all kinds of fruit, it doesn't matter whether Lemons is at the top or Oranges is at the top, it's just a group, a generic grouping, and that is how we should use the Unordered List tag, as a group of things.
The child tag is the li or line tag. Needs an opening and closing tag, and you can have as many of the li tags as you want. This is basically list item. The coders were smart when they named these. They used things that we could all remember. ul, Unordered List, first initial of the two words. Li, list item, or some people like to say line Item, it doesn't matter, but it will help you remember visually if you can think of these as being just initials for what they stand for. So you have got that. Let's go down to the Ordered List. Ordered List has order of importance, usually 1, 2, 3, A, B, C, Roman numeral I, II, III, something that matters what the order is.
For instance, in this case, these are the three things my son does when he wakes up. Wake up, Dress yourself, Eat breakfast. So I'll go down to the Properties Inspector. Look for what we call the numbered list if you are working in Microsoft Word, but inside of Dreamweaver we call this the Ordered List or the ol tag. Dreamweaver instantly applies that. It works just the way the other list did. We have a parent tag, ol, that wraps around the entire grouping or the entire list and then each list item or line has its own tag.
In this case it displays a little bit differently, in fact, a lot differently. It adds the numbers 1, 2, 3. Just like in Microsoft Word we will be able to change these later on. We could have Roman numerals. We could have all different kinds of ordering numbers or alphabets here. The important thing to see here is that the order does matter, and that's why we use an Ordered List. So don't confuse the two. One is a group of generic or related items, and the other one really has to do with showing importance from top to bottom.
Now that we know how to apply HTML formatting or what is called semantic markup using the Properties Inspector, we will take a look at hand coding some of the tags and some of the markup.
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