Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating CSS-based rollovers


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

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Video: Creating CSS-based rollovers

Although we aren't going to do anything in this movie that we haven't already done in one form or another, stick with me, because in this movie we're going to tie everything we've learned about styling links together to explore making CSS-based rollovers. The ability to create CSS-based rollovers is based off of the use of what we call pseudo-selectors. There are many pseudo-selectors but the link, visited, hover and active pseudo-selectors allow us to respond to user interaction for our links. In this movie, we will create a CSS -based rollover for our frequently asked questions links.
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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

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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

Creating CSS-based rollovers

Although we aren't going to do anything in this movie that we haven't already done in one form or another, stick with me, because in this movie we're going to tie everything we've learned about styling links together to explore making CSS-based rollovers. The ability to create CSS-based rollovers is based off of the use of what we call pseudo-selectors. There are many pseudo-selectors but the link, visited, hover and active pseudo-selectors allow us to respond to user interaction for our links. In this movie, we will create a CSS -based rollover for our frequently asked questions links.

By creating a separate visual state for the link and the hover, we can create a more compelling visual guide to the pages navigation. So I have the faq.htm file open, and if I scroll down, and I can see that the links that are going to take us down the page don't look quite as good as they used to, but that's because we've ripped all the styling out of it, and we're going to style it again. All right. Now, I want to bring up another toolbar here for this exercise, so what I'd like you to do, go up to the Document toolbar. Right-click that or Ctrl+Click that if you're on a Mac with a single button mouse, and choose Style Rendering.

So our Style Rendering toolbar is going to come up. Now, I'm going to dock mine up in this area. Now actually I can really pretty much dock it anywhere I want, or I can float it around. I just want to place it in a place where it's not going to take up a lot of screen real estate. Now, if you're on a Mac, it is going to dock within the Document toolbar, and you cannot move it around. So, hopefully its placement will be okay for you. Now, notice that the Style Rendering toolbar right here on the end has some pseudo-class selectors: We have link, visited, hover and active. So as we begin to style these, we can preview them here locally by simply previewing that particular state.

The next thing that we're going to do is we're going to give ourselves a little bit more room here, because we're going to do a little bit more hand-coding. Please don't panic. This is really simple stuff, and now we're going to go through it step by step. So if you haven't done a lot of hand-coding, don't worry about it. I promise you, the more you do it, the easier it will get for you. Okay. I'm going to go right over here to our panel dock, and I'm going to collapse that down to icons. It's going to give me a little bit more room. And then I'm going to go to a Split screen view, so that I can see the code on the one side, and my objects on the other.

So, what I'm going to do is scroll down just a little bit more and find my first link, Backpack Cal right there. Now, by using the Code Navigator, you go hold down the Command+Option key on the Mac and click on that, or on the PC you can simply Alt+Click them, and up comes your Code Navigator. Yes, there are a lot of styles being applied here, but there are two in particular that we're interested in, the very two at the bottom. The first one is dealing with the link state; second one is dealing with the hover state. So as we're writing these, we're going to talk about what these pseudo-class selectors allow us to do.

So, I'm going to click on the second one right here, #mainContent #mainArticle ul.faqNav li a:link, all right, so just click on that. That will jump in our CSS, so our code should just jump right there. And I want to break down these selectors, because taken as it right now they can be a little confusing, so let's talk about those. So essentially it's saying, hey, look in the mainContent region, find the mainArticle inside that and find an Unordered list with the class of faq.Nav, which is exactly what this is inside them.

Then find an individual list item, inside that locate a link. So, all that, just to drill - down to one specific link. So it's a very specific selector, but this is what I want you to focus on right here, a:link. Now just underneath that we have the exact same thing repeated, but a:visited. Okay, so what is link and visited actually mean? Link means that it is an anchor tag with an active href attribute, so an href attribute that points to somewhere. So, this wouldn't apply to a named anchor, but it would apply to any link that is actually going somewhere else off the page.

Now, visited is the visited state of the link. You know, often you'll click on a link and then you come back to the page, and there are some type of an indicator that you've been there before, maybe the link changes color, or perhaps there is an icon beside it to let you know that you've visited the page before, but that's what that allows you to do. Now, the comma between these two means that these are being grouped. Now, why would we group those two? Well, in this case, we really don't want to actually show a difference in the linked and a visited state. We don't want the browser to continually update it if it's been visited, because kind of ruins the look and feel of it.

There are certain menus and lists that benefit from visited links, but this is not one of them. So if you want to ensure that the browser doesn't change your styling or change the way a link looks, you can group those two selectors together, and you know that the normal state of the link, and the visited state of the link will look exactly the same. So those are what those two pseudo selectors are doing for us. Okay. I'm going to click right inside the empty declaration, and we're going to start styling our links. So the first thing I'm going to do is get my background color.

So, I'm just going to type in background, and then a colon, and the color that we're going to type in is # CCC and then a semicolon. So that's a light gray, so the word background: #CCC;. Now remember from our earlier lesson on CSS, you have the property on this side. You have the value of the property on this side, and they are separated by a colon. The semicolon tells it to quit reading this line, and go to the next one. Speaking of that, let's go to the next line. On the next line we're also going to give this a border.

So, I'm going to type in border, and we can use a little shorthand notation here. We're going to do 1 px space and then solid and then space and then #999 and then a semicolon. Now, in this instance I was taking advantage of code hinting, so if you begin typing, often Dreamweaver will give you a list, and you can just go ahead and choose from that list, hit Return, and it will finish it for you. That often prevents you from having to really work with a lot of the syntax. You don't have to worry about typing in the colon, that sort of thing. So now, you can actually see in the Design View it's starting to update every single time we do one of these, which is really kind of nice.

Now, after that, we're going to do a little bit of padding. So I'm going to type in a p, it jumps down to padding, notice that, and I hit Return or Enter, and it will go and finish typing that for me, and it will type the colon, which is pretty cool. For padding, I'm going to do 5 px, and then a space, then 0, then a space, 5 px, another space, and then 10 px, and then a semicolon. So, the first value is going to be the top padding. So that's going to be the space between the text and the top of the element. The second one is right padding, but we don't really need any right padding, because most of our text is not going to make it all the way over.

The third value there, I should say, is the bottom padding, and then the fourth one is a left. So, we're pushing the text 10 pixels away from the edge of our element. We're giving it 5 px of space, top-to - bottom, and then we're really not worrying about the right side at all, because we don't need to worry about that. The text will make it that far over. So that should give us some extra space inside that so that the background color doesn't do what it does right now, which is butt right up against the edge of that. All right. So, I'm going to hit Return and go down to the next line, and on the next line I'm going to do font-size. So, font-size, and here we're going to do .85em.

So I'm going to make the font-size a little bit smaller, .85em, so that it fits within these boxes nicely. So, I'll just make that a little bit smaller there. By the way, I know you've noticed that when you type in a unit of measurement like pixels or ems, you use that small abbreviation. There is no space between the value and the unit of measurement. If you leave a space there, that could cause a problem. Next, we're going to go on the next line, and we're going to type in a color. The color for this one is going to be #193742, #193742.

So, I'm going to hit Return, and I'm going to type in width, and for some reason be very careful about typing in wid, because I always end up with widows, but I want width, so let's do width. Now we're going to do 170 px. On the very next line we're going to do display, and we're going to do block. Okay, now what am I doing that for? Well, these two values, width and display, are going to make sure that the link extends for that entire box. So, that's what block is going to do for us, and forcing a width in there forces browsers like Internet Explorer to make the entire box clickable, and not just the text area.

Now, if I click inside the Design View, it should update that. There we go. Notice that we get that sort of teal color. We get that gray all the way around that, and our padding is giving us a little bit of distance between the text itself and the box. Perfect. So, go ahead and do a Save All, and now the normal state of the link is going to look like this, and the active state of the link is going to look like this, but to create a true CSS-based rollover, we now have to work on the hover state. Well, that's what the selector just below this one is going to do for us, so I'm going to scroll down, and just like we did last time, I want to go over this selector.

Now, the first part of it is exactly the same. So the whole long path to the element remains the same, however, here, we're doing a:hover and a:active. Let's talk about those two. Hover is the state of the link when somebody is actively hovering over it. So when somebody rolls over your link, that is considered to be a hover. Active means somebody is actively clicking on the link, or if somebody clicks to the link, and then hits the Back button right away, focus on that link might still be there, so you might see the active version of that. You know, sometimes you see a little border around the link or a little dotted border.

That means a link still has focus. So that would be the hover and the active state. Once again, we're grouping those together, because we want those to look the same. We don't want any other styling to interrupt our link. Okay, now this one doesn't require as much work as our last selector, because here we're going to change a couple of values. We're going to change some color, foreground and background color, and then we're also going to change the border as well. So, the first thing I'm going to do here is type in color, so just type into your selector, type in color: #fff;. That's white, so we're going to change the text to white.

Hit Return to go down the next line, and here type in background, and the color we're going to use here is #cb7d20, so cb7d20 and then a semicolon. That's sort of an orange color, and then go down to the very next line, and type in border: 1px solid #666;, so it's going to be a little bit of a darker color, so as you hover over it, the border will get a little bit darker as well, although it's going to stay the same size.

Now, I'm going to scroll back up just a little bit so you guys can see my code and if you need to just go ahead and pause the video and look at that code a little bit more closely. Hand-coding your CSS is not hard. Dreamweaver gives this a lot of code- hinting, and if you kind of know what you're doing and know the properties, you can go through it pretty quickly. However, if you're brand-new to CSS, obviously this properties aren't going to be familiar to you, the values aren't going to be familiar to you, and if you're not absolutely precise with this code, meaning, one character is off, you forget a space, you forget a colon, then it can cause your entire CSS not to work or sections of it not to work, certainly this not to work.

So, you want to take just a second, maybe pause the video, go over each line of code, make sure everything is exactly as you see it here, and you should be in good shape. While you're doing that, I'm going to go ahead and do a Save All, all right? And now I'm going to go and preview these. Now I can certainly preview them in my browser, and I'm going to do that in just a moment. But I want to use this cool new feature in the Style Rendering toolbar. I really like this, because now I can come over and say, okay. That's what my normal links look like. What about my hover? So, I'm going to click on hover, and you might notice a slight change in your layout.

It's okay. Dreamweaver sometimes has trouble rendering certain issues, and as I scroll down, I can see now that my links have orange background color. They have a sort of a darker border around them, and things don't look the way maybe we wanted it to. So, when you first do this, you might panic a little bit, but don't. What Dreamweaver is doing here is only showing you the hover attributes. CSS is cumulative, so the padding, the lack of decoration on the text, the lack of the underline there, the width of those things, those are not being shown, because they are not part of the actual hover selector, but they're still there.

So, really you're going to use this Style Rendering hover preview to just see specific information. Did I get the orange background color right? Is the border color right? That sort of thing. Don't trust this as an accurate preview. For that, we're going to go ahead and preview this in the browser, or we could use the Live View feature here as well. So, I'm going to click back on links, make sure I've done a Save All, and then preview that in my browser. As soon as I do that I can hover over my links and sure enough I get a nice CSS-based rollover. So our background color is changing, foreground color is changing, the border is changing a little bit, so we're doing all of that through the link, visited, hover and active pseudo-selectors.

Obviously, this is a little bit of a complex selector, because of how specific it is, but this works for any link that you're currently working on. You can also swap out background images as well, and you may have remembered that we've done that earlier. Now, whether you're creating a menu, changing the default styles of your link site-wide, or just creating a group of rollovers like we have here, the proper use of the link, visited, hover and active pseudo-selectors allow us to create dynamic rollovers without using any JavaScript. Now, one thing that you need to keep in mind: If you're going to use these pseudo-selectors, you have to use them in the correct order.

If you place the hover, for example, above the visited, then after your visited link, you have no more hover. The visited overwrites in. So most people use the device Love-Hate, LVHA as a way of reminding them the proper order; link, visited, hover and active. Grouping the pseudo-selectors, as we've done here, is another way to prevent those types of problems. Now for additional information on what can be done with links in these pseudo-selectors, you might want to watch the Chapter_07 movie on Positioning Background Images where we create something very similar to this by shifting the position of background images in an element.

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 W3.org 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 http://html5doctor.com/the-figure-figcaption-elements/.
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Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

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Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

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