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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.
With the external CSS style sheet linked to the HTML document, we can continue to create styles for our tags as well as create classes. Let's take a look at how we can do that with our external style sheet and using our CSS Styles panel. At the bottom of the CSS panel are several icons and buttons that we need to know about. This will link additional style sheets to your document. This allows you to create new styles. The dimmed-out Pencil allows you to edit style sheets and edit styles and this as we found can delete styles, so be careful about using this one.
We want to create a new style right now and we want to create it for our Unordered List. I'm going to scroll down so you can see this a little better on your screen. I'm going to click my I- beam inside the Unordered List. Let's look at the Tag Inspector and select the Unordered List at the bottom of Tag Inspector. As soon as we select the UL tag in the Tag Inspector, it actually selects the entire Unordered List for us. This is a good practice to find the tag that you want to style, then come back over to the CSS panel and click on the New CSS Rule.
This opens up that familiar dialog box that we got when we were creating classes. However, this time it's made an incorrect guess. This is not a class that we are making; we are applying a style to the Unordered List tag, to the UL tag. So, let's look at the dropdown menu and select Tag. Once we define the proper selector type, which is Tag, Dreamweaver then does make a correct guess. It says your I- beam is in the UL and that must be what you want to style, this is, in fact, true. At the bottom this has changed, we are now using an external style sheet so it no longer says in this document.
We could be making that style in this document but from now on as a best practice following web standards we will be using external style sheets only. So everything looks okay. This is a tag. This style will be applied to the UL tag and we want to define or save this style inside our external style sheet. Click on the OK button. Now, an awesome, a little daunting dialog box comes up. This dialog box is great for beginners and for intermediates. It prompts you to learn and to understand all the different kinds of attributes and descriptors that you can style inside of Dreamweaver CS4. There are many more than this, but these are the ones that are frequently used by designers and developers.
Select the Type category. I would like to make this UL List italicized. So in Font Style, I'll click on the dropdown menu and choose Italic. Again, I have this Preview button. It should really say Preview, not Apply. I can click on that Apply button and instantly over here on the left I can see that my list is now italicized. Because it's a list I'm curious about the category List. I'm going to select the List category and I see that I could have different kinds of style types for my list. Select the dropdown menu and I think I'll try the circle. Again, I can try this out, hit Apply. Look, that gives me a hollow circle. I could try the square. Apply that.
I can even choose no identifying mark in front of my Unordered List and I can really start bossing the way my list look and how they present inside of the page. Let's say if I wanted was the circle, I'm going to select the dropdown menu again and choose circle. We'll click the Apply button one more time. I'm happy with those changes and select OK. So, it's a really easy to create a style that's attached to a tag inside of the CSS panel and have that be put inside of your external style sheet. Now, as I've talked about before, every time you create a style, it always goes to the bottom of the list. It's the latest style that you created, so it puts it at the bottom of the list. This is a great feature inside the Style panel. You can select this and drag it up to wherever you want it. I have been very careful to be grouping my styles according to what kinds of styles they are.
Notice, these are all HTML tags. The second group are all the Anchor tags, which need to be together in this order. Remember the LoVeHAte word? The last grouping are the class styles. I can recognize them by the period in front of each one of their names. So, I'm carefully acknowledging and grouping them according to what they are and what they do. Why would I be doing this? Because three months from now when the client says, "change this page, update this, change that, our logo changed color," I can come right into my style sheets and find the appropriate style easily because I have taken the time to order them in a way that makes logical sense for me.
Let's do a Save All to save the entire grouping of pages and let's see if that displays properly out in Firefox. Looks good. That's a great looking Unordered List! Creating styles in the CSS panel and dialog box is easy and a great a way to learn the scriptures and attributes, but we really need to work on the layout of our style guide. This style guide will be shared amongst our team. We want to create a style guide that the whole team can use that translates into the look and feel of the site that we are creating. Using tags, using styles, we can create a layout look that the whole team can use.
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