Dreamweaver CS3 Projects: Creating Custom Spry Widgets
Illustration by Don Barnett

Adobe's online Spry documentation


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Dreamweaver CS3 Projects: Creating Custom Spry Widgets

with James Williamson

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Video: Adobe's online Spry documentation

To assist your Spry development, Adobe has an extensive series of tutorials, samples and documentation on the Spry homepage. As a starting point or as a reference, these files offer a wealth of information about working with Spry. So here we are on the Spry homepage and the first thing we want to do is browse to some documentation and so in the menu here on the left-hand side, I'll click on the Documentation link and that's going to take us to our Spry Documentation. Notice that we also have a series of LiveDocs and LiveDocs are really cool because it's sort of a wiki-type environment where somebody could enter in, 'Hey, this doesn't work' or 'Have you tried this?' and so there's really topical, current information there. You want to try that.
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Watch the Online Video Course Dreamweaver CS3 Projects: Creating Custom Spry Widgets
1h 0m Intermediate Apr 18, 2008

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Advanced Dreamweaver users wanting to add AJAX functionality to sites will find Dreamweaver CS3 Projects: Creating Custom Spry Widgets a valuable resource. Spry, Adobe's integrated AJAX framework, offers a built-in resource for providing richer user experiences. Instructor James Williamson shows how to go beyond Dreamweaver's installed Spry capabilities by creating custom Spry widgets. He delves into Adobe's online Spry documentation, demonstrates how to download and upgrade Dreamweaver to the latest Spry release, and examines how the Spry framework functions. Users will build a Sliding Panel widget, control the widget through JavaScript, and customize the panel content through the use of CSS.

Topics include:
  • Examining the Spry framework
  • Finding information on customizing Spry assets
  • Defining page structure
  • Using external JavaScript files to add interactivity
  • Modifying presentation through CSS
  • Customizing Spry widget functionality through JavaScript and CSS
Subjects:
Developer Web
Software:
Dreamweaver
Author:
James Williamson

Adobe's online Spry documentation

To assist your Spry development, Adobe has an extensive series of tutorials, samples and documentation on the Spry homepage. As a starting point or as a reference, these files offer a wealth of information about working with Spry. So here we are on the Spry homepage and the first thing we want to do is browse to some documentation and so in the menu here on the left-hand side, I'll click on the Documentation link and that's going to take us to our Spry Documentation. Notice that we also have a series of LiveDocs and LiveDocs are really cool because it's sort of a wiki-type environment where somebody could enter in, 'Hey, this doesn't work' or 'Have you tried this?' and so there's really topical, current information there. You want to try that.

And the one we'll be doing is the Sliding Panels widget, so I'm going to click on that so I can read a little more about the documentation. This is great because it breaks down exactly how Sliding Panels are put together, the cascading style sheets involved and the JavaScript involved as well. And you can see, if we scroll down, we get a nice visual breakdown in terms of how the Sliding Panel widget works. We have what amounts to a View pane, and the View pane is the visible window that you see here on point number one, and then we have the actual content area, which is usually a a lot larger than the View pane.

So as the content animates, what it's really doing is just moving behind the View pane. and the viewport is displaying the active area so we just navigate from one region to another region. Ah, pretty simple, right? Now if you scroll down, you can see that they show the most basic structure and this was what, when we build our own Spry widget, we'll build first, the basic structure of it. So we've got the styles that drives the main part of the Sliding Ppanel and then we have this DIV structure, which is really what I want to pay attention to first. So notice that our Sliding Panels are nothing more than DIV tags, and that's pretty much everything within the Spry framework.

Just DIV tags or other elements that have specific IDs that we can drive. So we'll have one DIV tag that is our SlidingPanels class tag. Then we'll have another one which is the SlidingPanelsContentGroup and inside that we'll have the individual content panels themselves. And you can have as many of those as you need. If you need a little bit more of a visual sample- I'm going to scroll back up here and we're going to hit the Back button, and the Back button again- and if you're looking for a little bit more of a visual sample, you can go to the Spry homepage and click on Samples.

Now from Samples, we have samples for working with Spry data, working with the Spry utilities, element selector, server side utilities. So there's a lot to Spry that you might not be aware of. And finally we're going to take a look here at widgets. So I'm going to click on Widgets. And again we can see examples of all these widgets. We'll scroll down until we find our Sliding Panels and I'm going to click on the Sliding Panels examples. And here we have a lot of different examples. The first example is Vertical Sliding, which by the way is the default animation for Sliding Panels.

We have Horizontal Sliding, which is what we're going to be doing. And then we have several versions thereof, for example sliding in both dimensions, where you're doing horizontal and vertical scaling, which is really kind of neat. We have Keyboard Navigation samples. We have samples of turning off the animation and even fine-tuning the panel animation, something that we will do as we build our own widget. And you can also specify the default panel. So there's a lot of options here as well.

Now what's great about these samples is that if you downloaded the Spry 1.6 framework, all these sample files including the HTML, styles and JavaScript that goes into making them, is included with that as well. So you can open those files up in Dreamweaver, play around with them a little bit and actually really get involved with the structure before you build your own. By browsing the Spry framework documentation, you'll find an entire world of functionality and capabilities that go beyond what you'll find in Dreamweaver's normal tool set. Now that we've gotten some background into the world of Spry, let's start creating our own custom Sliding Panels widget.

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