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Adding structure to text


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

Video: Adding structure to text

When designing a new page, one of the first tasks you'll need to do is to create the basic structure of your page's HTML. If you're typing in your content directly into Dreamweaver, you can add that structure as you type. If you are importing content from programs like Word, you can either preserve the text's structural formatting or reassign content to specific tags. Whatever approach you take, Dreamweaver makes it incredibly easy to add basic structure to your HTML. In this exercise, we'll take a resource file, which has been stripped down to the barebones, and add meaning to the text by formatting it within specific tags.
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  1. 2m 57s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 49s
  2. 7m 50s
    1. What is Dreamweaver?
      3m 16s
    2. Learning web design
      2m 22s
    3. Current web standards
      2m 12s
  3. 43m 9s
    1. The Welcome screen
      4m 5s
    2. Windows and Mac interface differences
      2m 23s
    3. The Application toolbar
      4m 7s
    4. The Document toolbar
      4m 40s
    5. Arranging panels
      8m 19s
    6. Managing workspaces
      7m 32s
    7. The Properties Inspector
      5m 54s
    8. The Insert panel
      6m 9s
  4. 25m 45s
    1. Basic site structure
      3m 11s
    2. File naming conventions
      1m 49s
    3. Defining a new site
      4m 35s
    4. Managing sites
      4m 51s
    5. Managing files and folders
      6m 36s
    6. Working with browsers
      4m 43s
  5. 27m 21s
    1. Creating new documents
      5m 16s
    2. New document preferences
      3m 6s
    3. Setting accessibility preferences
      4m 56s
    4. Working with starter pages
      3m 46s
    5. Managing starter pages
      10m 17s
  6. 30m 2s
    1. Basic tag structure
      2m 15s
    2. Adding structure to text
      8m 20s
    3. Creating lists
      9m 59s
    4. Getting text into Dreamweaver
      5m 59s
    5. Importing Word documents
      3m 29s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding style sheets
      2m 16s
    2. The anatomy of a CSS rule
      1m 48s
    3. Setting CSS preferences
      6m 36s
    4. The CSS Styles panel
      10m 2s
    5. Controlling CSS through the Properties Inspector
      5m 14s
    6. Using the Code Navigator
      7m 21s
    7. Using CSS Enable
      6m 45s
    8. Understanding element selectors
      8m 11s
    9. Understanding class selectors
      8m 49s
    10. Understanding ID selectors
      5m 59s
    11. Understanding descendant selectors
      6m 51s
    12. Attaching external style sheets
      7m 44s
  8. 1h 47m
    1. Working with units of measurement
      7m 11s
    2. Declaring font families
      9m 39s
    3. Controlling font sizing
      9m 9s
    4. Controlling weight and style
      8m 0s
    5. Controlling line height
      8m 29s
    6. Controlling vertical spacing with margins
      12m 3s
    7. Controlling spacing with padding
      5m 39s
    8. Aligning text
      8m 26s
    9. Transforming text
      5m 36s
    10. Writing global styles
      15m 42s
    11. Writing targeted styles
      17m 37s
  9. 1h 32m
    1. Understanding image types
      5m 3s
    2. Managing assets in Dreamweaver
      12m 51s
    3. Setting image accessibility preferences
      4m 20s
    4. Setting external image editing preferences
      3m 52s
    5. Placing images on the page
      7m 37s
    6. Photoshop integration
      5m 54s
    7. Modifying Smart Objects
      5m 51s
    8. Alternate Photoshop workflows
      8m 8s
    9. Modifying image properties
      11m 14s
    10. Styling images with CSS
      7m 11s
    11. Using background graphics
      9m 3s
    12. Positioning background graphics
      11m 6s
  10. 55m 16s
    1. Link basics
      3m 37s
    2. Setting site linking preferences
      2m 14s
    3. Creating links in Dreamweaver
      11m 1s
    4. Absolute links
      5m 8s
    5. Using named anchors
      11m 19s
    6. Linking to named anchors in external files
      2m 44s
    7. Creating an email link
      5m 24s
    8. Creating CSS-based rollovers
      13m 49s
  11. 1h 34m
    1. CSS structuring basics
      2m 56s
    2. The Box Model
      13m 21s
    3. Understanding floats
      6m 53s
    4. Clearing and containing floats
      8m 56s
    5. Using relative positioning
      4m 8s
    6. Using absolute positioning
      7m 18s
    7. Creating structure with div tags
      12m 7s
    8. Styling basic structure
      10m 34s
    9. Creating a two-column layout
      10m 37s
    10. Using Live View and CSS Inspect
      7m 51s
    11. Using Browser Lab
      9m 39s
  12. 56m 22s
    1. Reviewing table structure
      7m 41s
    2. Importing tabular data
      5m 13s
    3. Creating accessible tables
      9m 56s
    4. Using thead and tbody tags
      4m 0s
    5. Basic table styling
      8m 45s
    6. Styling table headers
      7m 52s
    7. Styling column groups
      4m 22s
    8. Creating custom table borders
      5m 1s
    9. Styling table captions
      3m 32s
  13. 1h 43m
    1. How forms work
      3m 0s
    2. Reviewing form design
      3m 2s
    3. Creating accessible forms
      7m 33s
    4. Setting form properties
      4m 6s
    5. The fieldset and legend tags
      4m 32s
    6. Inserting text fields
      5m 58s
    7. Inserting list menu items
      5m 26s
    8. Inserting checkboxes
      7m 50s
    9. Inserting radio button groups
      6m 22s
    10. Inserting text areas
      4m 12s
    11. Inserting submit buttons
      3m 37s
    12. Basic form styling
      12m 0s
    13. Form element styling
      8m 52s
    14. Styling form layout
      11m 49s
    15. Adding form interactivity
      2m 47s
    16. Using Spry validation widgets
      12m 49s
  14. 1h 23m
    1. Planning for templates
      10m 51s
    2. Creating a new template
      10m 37s
    3. Using editable attributes
      13m 43s
    4. Creating optional regions
      6m 23s
    5. Creating new pages from a template
      9m 17s
    6. Applying templates to existing pages
      6m 9s
    7. Working with nested templates
      7m 56s
    8. Working with repeating regions
      12m 58s
    9. Modifying templates
      5m 41s
  15. 40m 14s
    1. Behaviors overview
      3m 47s
    2. Hiding and showing elements
      9m 18s
    3. Spry overview
      4m 4s
    4. Using Spry widgets
      11m 36s
    5. Adding Spry effects
      3m 6s
    6. Using the Widget Browser
      8m 23s
  16. 28m 18s
    1. Inserting Flash files
      5m 4s
    2. Setting properties for Flash
      6m 27s
    3. Dreamweaver and Flash integration
      6m 6s
    4. Encoding Flash video
      6m 10s
    5. Adding Flash video
      4m 31s
  17. 45m 28s
    1. Running site-wide reports
      6m 33s
    2. Checking for broken links
      5m 41s
    3. Checking for browser compatibility
      8m 3s
    4. Adding remote servers
      8m 0s
    5. Uploading files
      7m 20s
    6. Managing remote sites
      9m 51s
  18. 34s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
15h 22m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training, Adobe Certified Instructor James Williamson explores the tools and techniques of Dreamweaver CS5, Adobe's web design and development software. This course covers both the ins and outs of Dreamweaver, as well as recommended best practices for crafting new web sites and files, the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, and how to ensure clean and accessible code. The course also includes how to use tools in Dreamweaver to create and style web pages, manage multiple sites, and add user interactivity with widgets and scripting. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Defining and structuring a new site
  • Creating new web documents from scratch or from templates
  • Adding and formatting text
  • Understanding style sheet basics
  • Placing and styling images
  • Creating links to internal pages and external web sites
  • Controlling page layout with CSS
  • Building and styling forms
  • Reusing web content with templates
  • Adding interactivity
  • Working with Flash and video
James Williamson

Adding structure to text

When designing a new page, one of the first tasks you'll need to do is to create the basic structure of your page's HTML. If you're typing in your content directly into Dreamweaver, you can add that structure as you type. If you are importing content from programs like Word, you can either preserve the text's structural formatting or reassign content to specific tags. Whatever approach you take, Dreamweaver makes it incredibly easy to add basic structure to your HTML. In this exercise, we'll take a resource file, which has been stripped down to the barebones, and add meaning to the text by formatting it within specific tags.

Keep in mind that in this exercise we are focusing on the main content region of the page, not the layout or the secondary areas. The markup we would use for page layout will be covered a little bit later on. So here I have my resource file open from the 05_02 folder. Now it would be really easy to look at this file and say it doesn't have any structure at all right now. But that wouldn't be exactly true. If I click inside this first paragraph right here, if you have questions about an upcoming trip, you'll notice that in the tag selector - and this is that little status bar right down here below the document window - you'll notice that the tag selector tells me that this is inside of a paragraph tag, and in fact, if I click on the paragraph tag, it selects all of the text.

Now, if I begin typing and I hit Enter, so if I hit Enter or Return, then I go down to next line and type in, This is a new paragraph, indeed, looking down the tag selector, I do have a new paragraph. So Dreamweaver will place the previous line inside of a paragraph tag, and create a brand-new empty paragraph to hold the next line. Now, don't just assume that if you see a line of text that it is in a paragraph. Notice the first line of text here. When you click inside of it, you can see, looking at the tag selector, that is not tag. It's just sitting there in the body tag.

This is even more obvious if I switch over to Code View. You can see that while everybody else has opening and closing paragraph tags, which identifies the content inside of it as belonging to a paragraph, this headline Got Questions is inside no tags. Now, that's really, really important. Within an HTML document, all content must be tagged so that user agents know what type of content it is. Now with this in mind, let's restructure our page using Dreamweaver's Property Inspector.

Now I am going to change my view a little bit. I am going to click on the Split Screen view, so that my code is on the left-hand side, and my Design View is on the right-hand side. You can then grab the little dividing bar between them and allow more room for your Design view or more room for your Code View, whichever one you're currently interested in. Now whichever one of these windows you click in, that's the one you are currently focused on. So if I click inside the code, I'll be working in my Code View. If click inside my Design view, I'm working in my Design view. So what this allows us to do, let's say you are somebody that's brand-new Dreamweaver, and you've never worked never worked with HTML before.

You can make changes in the Design view and just to left of you, you can see what changes that you're actually making to your code. This is a great way to learn how to structure your content and which tags are being added as you create or import content in, so it's really nice way of working. The other thing this does for you is it reinforces the concept that you're creating code. If you work just in Design view, and you are brand-new to Dreamweaver, you might get the mistake and impression that you're almost working in a Word processor. I think it's really important for you to understand everything that you do in Dreamweaver is, in fact, generating code. Okay.

Let's do some structuring here. I am going to click inside the headline Got Questions over here in the Design pane. I am going to go down to my Properties Inspector, and of the two tabs, I am going to make sure that I've clicked the HTML tab, because remember, we want to change the HTML structure. I am going to grab the Format pulldown menu, and I can see a listing of all the tags that I can choose from here. I have got my paragraph, all of my headings, and this little odd choice called Preformatted. I get asked about that a lot. Well, what that actually is is it wraps the content in a pre tag, which causes browsers to display the text in a monospace font, and retain any line breaks or whitespace within the text.

It's really good for displaying computer code or scripting examples, and that's what it's primarily used for. In this instance, however, we want a Heading1 for our Got Questions. So I'll got ahead and choose that. Notice that in the Design view it gets bigger. It's bolder, and over there in the Code View it's surrounded by an opening and a closing H1 tag. So that is exactly what we want. We have a few other headings to structure, so let's go ahead and take care of those. Now I am going to get rid of my This is a new paragraph. I don't need that. So I am going to highlight that, and then hit Delete, and then hit Delete again to get rid of the paragraph.

You'll notice that the first time I deleted, I just deleted the content of the paragraph and not the tag itself. So now I am going to click inside General Tour Information, and using my Format pulldown menu, I am going to make that a Heading2. So it's sort of secondary or subheading. Now I'll click in the Customer notifications. I'll make that Heading3. And then I am just going to scroll down my page, and for each of the other headings, Tour Voucher, Trip Planning, all those guys are going to be Heading3s. So H3s, Tour Checklist, it's going to be a Heading3 as well.

Now I've got some more content underneath here that we are going to restructure, but we'll be doing that in our next movie. Now as we structure our headings, we've used a very logical progression: H1, then H2, and then H3s. Now you might infer from this that you always should go in that order, but the truth is you can use any approach you want to structuring your content. In the Explore California site, each main content region will have one H1 tag that identifies the content. Any other main headings will be assigned as H2s, and any paragraph subheadings will be H3s.

You're certainly free to develop your own strategy for your content; just make it logical and be consistent with how you use it. By coming up with a logical structural framework early on, you can ensure that all of your pages use a consistent structure throughout your site. That makes the content easier for user agents to parse, and easier for you to style. Now we are almost done, but they're just a couple more things we need to do here before we can move on. So far, we've been using Block level elements: headings and paragraphs. Now we need use some Inline level elements to add structure within the paragraphs themselves.

So what am I going to do is I am going to go down to the second paragraph here, customer notifications, and there are couple items in there that really want to stand out to the user: for example, tour confirmation. I want them to know that they really ought to be looking for a tour confirmation that this is an important article. So I am going to highlight the text, tour confirmation, and again, using the Properties Inspector I am going to click the B tag, which indeed, it says Bold. Now it's true that browsers will render that text as bold, but in reality, what we've done is we've surrounded that text with an opening and a closing strong tag.

Strong tags strongly emphasize text, so any user agent will make sure that this text stands out. Next, we need to do the same thing to reminder notifications. So I am going to go ahead and highlight reminder notification, click the B tag, and surround it with a strong tag as well. Now there is another line in this paragraph that I want to make sure people are paying attention too as well. This sentence right here, "If you do not receive a confirmation within 24 hours, or the reminder notification two weeks out, contact us immediately." All right, I am going to highlight that and click the I tag.

So what does that Italic icon do? It surrounds text with an em tag, an opening and closing em tag. So what's the difference? Well, the em tag is an emphasis tag, and it denotes text that is being emphasized. The strong tags denotes text that is being strongly emphasized. So if you are looking for the logical structural definition of that, that's what it is. We've got one more. Let's scroll in just a little bit more down to our Trip Planning, and I've got a sentence here that says, "a list of any required equipment for the tour that is not provided by Explore California." I want to emphasize that point, so I am just going to highlight "not provided" and click the I tag there as well to just does emphasize that text too. Cool! Now our page is on its way, but structurally, it's not quite done yet.

In our next exercise, we are going to explore another fundamental structural element as we work with Lists.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: After creating a website following the instructions in the course, the header background graphic appears correctly in all browsers except Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7.  The graphic works properly in IE 8. What can be done to make the graphics appear in IE 6 and IE 7?
A: To make the header background graphic appear, wrap the header div tag in another div tag and give it an ID like “mainHeader.” The problem stems from a bug in Internet Explorer that prevents the browser from dealing with absolutely positioned elements that are right next to relatively positioned elements.  Following the steps above should solve the problem.
Q: In the tutorial, the author links the Tool Tip to the word "More" at the bottom of the thumbnail photo field. I can't figure out how to place the <a> "More" on the thumbnail photo field.
A: In the example, there is a paragraph that wraps an <img> tag and the word "More," which is surrounded by an anchor tag (<a>). The author uses CSS to make sure the parent div tag of the thumbs floats to the left, and is only wide enough for the image. This causes the link text to break down onto another line. Then, the instructor uses CSS to align the link text to the right of the <img>. The link itself is a void JavaScript function, ( javascript();). This gives you a "dummy" link without returning you to the top of the page as the "#" dummy link tends to do.
If you were manually typing the text in, you could select the image, hit the right arrow button, and begin typing. The text should then appear on screen.
Q: In this movie, you are making changes to the HTML in order to customize the text layout on your page (i.e. h1, h2, and h3 tags as well as strong and em tags). I'm wondering why you are not using CSS to do this (i.e. font-size, font-weight). Do you typically use one method, or is it customary to do use both in a layout, and if so, what guidelines would you suggest to determine which to use when?
A: We modify the page's structure through the use of h1, h2, and other heading tags. So when we are choosing heading levels, we're not concerning ourselves with typography; we're establishing page structure. A heading is chosen to denote the level of importance for the heading, not typography.
CSS should always be used for presentation, not HTML.
Q: In the “Understanding ID selectors” movie, the author states that only one ID tag can be used per page, but then he adds two ID tags. Can you please clarify this for me?
A: You can use as many IDs per page as you wish. They just must all use a unique name. Therefore if you assign an element the ID of "header" no other element on THAT page may use the same ID.
Q: I noticed that in this course, the instructor uses this code on his CSS external sheet: @charset "UTF-8"; I was under the impression that this code wasn't necessary. The site is unclear on the matter. Is it necessary? Is it a best practice? Is it an older form of CSS?
A: The characterset attribute is added automatically by Dreamweaver, and there’s no practical reason to remove it. While it's not needed (the HTML page should indicate which encoding to use for the page) it is helpful if the CSS file is ever imported or used on a page where the characterset isn't specified. Think of it as a safety net for characterset encoding. Not necessary, but not harmful either.
Q: I need to add captions below images that I insert in pages of text. I played all the lessons in Chapter 5 (Adding Text and Structure) but none dealt with captions. I hope the author has an answer or can refer me to a source.
A: In HTML 4 and XHTML 1 (which is what Dreamweaver CS5 uses by default), there wasn't really a way to add captions below your photos. Most web authors would "fake" captions by having paragraphs of text below their images and using CSS to position and style the captions in the desired manner. Many would use a class such as .imgCaption to control the styling. To do this you would essentially position the text underneath the image through CSS (often by grouping the image and the paragraph in a div tag) and italicizing the text.

However in HTML5, there are new elements that allow us to associate images and their captions, the figure and figcaption element. Our author James Williamson just finished a course on HTML5: Syntax, Structure, and Semantics which details how to use it.

HTML5 Doctor also has a nice article on the figure and figcaption elements at
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