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Creating faux columns with background graphics

From: Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

Video: Creating faux columns with background graphics

Now that we have added some background graphics to our header to make that a little bit more attractive, we want to take a look at another technique that's very important any time you are doing a two or a three-column type of a layout. One of the problems with CSS is that unless you give it a specified height, an element is only going to extend down as far as its content. So if I go, for example, to the sidebar. Let me go all the way down to my sidebar and go ahead and add a background property to that and the background property I am just going to go ahead and give it a color and we will just say #FFC for yellow color. If I were to Save All and then test this in my browser, you can see that although our sidebar now has a background color, if I scroll down, it doesn't extend all the way to the footer and I really need to give the illusion I am doing that. So we will use a technique here called faux columns and what faux columns does for us is it allows us to use a background graphic and repeat that background graphic over the Y-axis, so that it extends all the way down the page and then the trick is you got to place it on element that extends all the way down to the bottom of your footer element and in this case, the sidebar clearly does not. So even though this background graphic applies to the sidebar, we are not going to apply it to the actual sidebar rule. We do have an element that runs the length of the page and that would be the wrapper div tag So I am going to remove this background property from my sidebar and I am going to scroll up to my wrapper div tag. Now I could go ahead and edit my background graphic on the wrapper div tag and I will go ahead and type in URL and type in whatever I am looking for, but I am not getting the same code hinting that I was getting in the external CSS file. So that would probably a little bit better. So let me go ahead and undo that and switch back over to my layout_background.css because I really like having the ability to browse for a specific file rather than having to remember the exact path. So I am going to scroll up to my wrapper styles and it's all the way up top, so you might actually want to jump up to the top here and it's a little easier to scroll down once you are at top and there is my background property. So right after the color definition, I will go ahead and type in a URL and I will browse to my _images directory and I will find inside the _images directory the sidebar_bg.gif and we will go ahead and choose that. Now repeating this one is pretty important. So what we are going to do with this? And what I am going to do is I am just going to go ahead and do a repeat along the Y-axis. So I will choose repeat-y. What that will do for me is it will just repeat along the Y-axis. So, it will tile over and over again top to bottom but it won't tile side to side.

Creating faux columns with background graphics

Now that we have added some background graphics to our header to make that a little bit more attractive, we want to take a look at another technique that's very important any time you are doing a two or a three-column type of a layout. One of the problems with CSS is that unless you give it a specified height, an element is only going to extend down as far as its content. So if I go, for example, to the sidebar. Let me go all the way down to my sidebar and go ahead and add a background property to that and the background property I am just going to go ahead and give it a color and we will just say #FFC for yellow color. If I were to Save All and then test this in my browser, you can see that although our sidebar now has a background color, if I scroll down, it doesn't extend all the way to the footer and I really need to give the illusion I am doing that. So we will use a technique here called faux columns and what faux columns does for us is it allows us to use a background graphic and repeat that background graphic over the Y-axis, so that it extends all the way down the page and then the trick is you got to place it on element that extends all the way down to the bottom of your footer element and in this case, the sidebar clearly does not. So even though this background graphic applies to the sidebar, we are not going to apply it to the actual sidebar rule. We do have an element that runs the length of the page and that would be the wrapper div tag So I am going to remove this background property from my sidebar and I am going to scroll up to my wrapper div tag. Now I could go ahead and edit my background graphic on the wrapper div tag and I will go ahead and type in URL and type in whatever I am looking for, but I am not getting the same code hinting that I was getting in the external CSS file. So that would probably a little bit better. So let me go ahead and undo that and switch back over to my layout_background.css because I really like having the ability to browse for a specific file rather than having to remember the exact path. So I am going to scroll up to my wrapper styles and it's all the way up top, so you might actually want to jump up to the top here and it's a little easier to scroll down once you are at top and there is my background property. So right after the color definition, I will go ahead and type in a URL and I will browse to my _images directory and I will find inside the _images directory the sidebar_bg.gif and we will go ahead and choose that. Now repeating this one is pretty important. So what we are going to do with this? And what I am going to do is I am just going to go ahead and do a repeat along the Y-axis. So I will choose repeat-y. What that will do for me is it will just repeat along the Y-axis. So, it will tile over and over again top to bottom but it won't tile side to side.

And we will save that, jump back to index_background and there is the background graphic for our sidebar. As I scroll down, you can see that the background graphic is all the way down to the footer element. Now, how does it know where to position itself? Because we have applied it to the wrapper and doesn't the wrapper wrap all our content? Well, the secret to this is that I am looking at the actual image itself. So I am going to switch over to Photoshop and once we are in Photoshop, I have got the sidebar background graphic open. Notice that it's a GIF file and you will notice that it's 9000 pixels wide, which is the exact width of the wrapper div tag. The left-hand side of it is transparent and the right-hand side of it contains exactly what's necessary to give the illusion of that drop shadow effect as it's tiled along the Y-axis for our sidebar. So it gives us exactly the effect we are looking for. Back in the Dreamweaver we need to finish up our sidebar by applying some icons to these states. As we scroll through our sidebar, we can see that we have different dates and different events coming up. If I click inside one of those, I can see that they are Heading 2s and each of them has a class style applied to it.

So the first one is show, the second one is music, the third one is class. So, these are different types of events and to identify them visually, we will go ahead and put in an icon. Now that's best done with the background graphic because if we were to go ahead and put in an image, obviously, the image is embedded in the code and it really doesn't serve any purpose other than visually explaining what the event is and we just want to pass forward the information. So using background graphics for that is a little bit better. Now any image that you need to have accessed by whoever is consuming the content and if you need to put an alt tag on an image or need that image to be searchable, then you will want that actually in the code. But for something else, you can just use background graphics. So I will switch back over to the layout_background.css and we need to find our sidebar styles. So we will continue down the page until we find our sidebar and it's directly after our favorites. One of the habits that I would encourage you to get into is to place your styles in the order of the content on the page because doing that makes it a lot easier to find your styles later on. You'll know, hey, the sidebar comes right after my main content. So right after the content styles, I can locate the sidebar styles. We will go down to the bottom of the sidebar styles and we have two sets of sidebar styles; we have just the regular sidebar and then the sidebar navigation styles. Now we will run into these sidebar navigation styles later on. You can tell right now that there is no content in the sidebar that's navigation. So eventually there will be in some of the secondary pages.

So prior to that content, we will just go ahead and enter a new rule and we will type in #sidebar h2 and I am going to do the show class first. So I will go ahead and open up a curly brace and all we are doing is positioning our background graphic. So I am going to type in the background and then again, I am going to use my code hinting to launch the browser, so for URL. And I am going to go find the file, easel.gif, because that is the transparent GIF file that corresponds to any type of a show. I will select Choose and I now need to give it a no-repeat and then I am going to do a little bit of positioning here and I need to do both horizontal and vertical positioning.

For my horizontal positioning, I am going to give it a horizontal position of 0.5em and for my vertical positioning I will give it a -0.5em. So that's a very, very small, negative value for the vertical positioning. Now you might wonder well, how do you know these values? And to be quite honest with you, it's trial and error. You have the size of your graphic; you know where you are going to place it. You are going to add some padding to the content to push the heading 2 away from this left edge but in reality, you will take a guess, you will position it and then you will kind of tweak these styles. So after you're done with that rule, just go ahead and add a curly brace and all three of our events are going to use very similar CSS rules. So there is really no need for us to type them in three times. The only thing that really changes is the background graphic itself and the vertical and horizontal positioning. So I am going to go ahead and copy that rule and paste it and I have to change the event.

So instead of show, change the class style to music. So we will handle the music event. Change the graphic from easel.gif. So you want to just highlight the word easel there. Change that to note.gif and the positioning is going to change to the 0.5em. Vertical positioning will remain the same but the horizontal position is going to be 0.1em. We will need to paste that one more time and we will change again the class to actually class because it's a class that they are holding. So I will change the easel.gif to the palette.gif and the vertical positioning is going to be 0.3em and the horizontal positioning is going to be 0.2, so make sure you take off the negative value there. 0.2.

We will save that and again what this is going to do-- each of these is not going to repeat, so it's only going to appear one time. We are using vertical positioning of 0.5em to sort of position it in the middle of line and then we are tweaking the horizontal position where we are moving some to the left and some to the right based on the size of the image. And we are using three separate images. So let me go back to index_background and when we click back on our index_background.htm, as we scroll down, we can see that the sidebar elements now have their individual icons and because the icons were at different heights, of course we had to adjust them all a bit. So when you use this type of technique, you are going to need to do a little tweaking. One thing that I do want to point out is each of those headings, the dates, 7.24, 6.15, 5.26. They all have enough padding to push the text away from the edge of the element so that the background graphics can appear with nothing on top of them.

So that's another part of technique that you really need to pay attention to. We will finish talking about background graphics in our next movie, as we explore adding a little extra design to our site, by adding rounded corners to one of our elements.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

102 video lessons · 38693 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      46s
  2. 1h 23m
    1. Reviewing the Coding toolbar
      8m 42s
    2. Customizing the Coding toolbar
      9m 52s
    3. Taking advantage of Code Hinting
      7m 20s
    4. Using snippets and shortcuts
      11m 10s
    5. Using the Quick Tag Editor
      5m 18s
    6. Using Find and Replace
      9m 50s
    7. Regular expressions
      5m 39s
    8. Using Bridge with Dreamweaver CS3
      8m 28s
    9. Round-trip editing with Photoshop CS3
      3m 40s
    10. Leveraging image variables in Photoshop CS3
      7m 32s
    11. Integrating external variables into your workflow
      6m 16s
  3. 37m 26s
    1. Understanding the CSS Styles panel
      7m 59s
    2. Understanding the Cascade
      5m 50s
    3. Understanding Inheritance
      5m 8s
    4. Understanding Specificity
      7m 5s
    5. Managing CSS styles
      5m 4s
    6. Using Design-Time style sheets
      6m 20s
  4. 2h 19m
    1. Using the new CSS template pages
      5m 59s
    2. Understanding DIV tag structure and layout
      12m 0s
    3. Understanding the CSS box model
      10m 0s
    4. Using absolute and relative positioning
      8m 35s
    5. Understanding floating elements
      7m 9s
    6. Clearing floats
      7m 19s
    7. Using floats to control page layout
      3m 45s
    8. Building structure and assigning IDs
      10m 19s
    9. Applying basic styling to structured content
      11m 14s
    10. Positioning container elements
      11m 4s
    11. Enhancing layouts with background graphics
      11m 48s
    12. Creating faux columns with background graphics
      8m 55s
    13. Creating rounded corners with background graphics
      9m 17s
    14. Building navigation with CSS
      16m 57s
    15. Using Dreamweaver's Browser Check feature
      5m 31s
  5. 53m 22s
    1. Creating properly structured forms
      6m 30s
    2. Creating accessible forms
      6m 41s
    3. Using CSS to lay out form structure
      7m 40s
    4. Creating vertical columns for form elements
      7m 48s
    5. Adding user feedback
      5m 52s
    6. Applying advanced styling to forms
      8m 11s
    7. Client-side form validation
      4m 17s
    8. Validating forms with the Spry Validation tools
      6m 23s
  6. 1h 20m
    1. Understanding the Spry framework
      3m 43s
    2. Defining a data source for use in Spry
      3m 56s
    3. Creating a Spry table
      8m 8s
    4. Using the Spry widgets
      8m 11s
    5. Connecting various data sets
      4m 50s
    6. Understanding Spry widget structures
      7m 1s
    7. Applying custom styles to Spry widgets
      6m 24s
    8. Applying additional custom styles to Spry widgets
      8m 46s
    9. Controlling Spry widget behaviors with JavaScript
      6m 0s
    10. Controlling Spry widget animations with JavaScript
      9m 31s
    11. Creating effects with Spry behaviors
      4m 42s
    12. Hand-coding Spry
      9m 11s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Creating a base template
      8m 6s
    2. Creating editable attributes
      6m 26s
    3. Creating a new page from a template
      7m 42s
    4. Applying a template to an existing page
      4m 36s
    5. Creating nested templates
      5m 24s
    6. Using repeating regions
      6m 34s
    7. Creating editable and non-editable optional regions
      6m 0s
    8. Using template parameters
      7m 26s
    9. Using template expressions
      9m 59s
    10. Using conditional template expressions
      8m 54s
  8. 54m 40s
    1. Examining XML structure
      2m 44s
    2. Creating an XML document
      9m 9s
    3. Using the CDATA structure
      5m 7s
    4. Creating an XSLT file
      4m 33s
    5. Binding data from an XML to an XSLT document
      5m 6s
    6. Inserting repeating regions into an XSL document
      5m 16s
    7. Creating a client-side XSL transformation
      2m 52s
    8. Styling a remote RSS feed
      7m 29s
    9. Creating a server-side XSL transformation
      5m 31s
    10. Writing XSL expressions
      6m 53s
  9. 1h 2m
    1. Overview of building dynamic websites
      1m 35s
    2. Installing PHP, MySQL, and Apache on Mac
      3m 22s
    3. Installing PHP, MySQL, and Apache on Windows
      3m 54s
    4. Creating a MySQL database
      3m 16s
    5. Defining a testing server and database bindings
      6m 14s
    6. Creating a database recordset
      4m 35s
    7. Adding dynamic content to the page
      5m 14s
    8. Creating repeating regions of dynamic content
      7m 6s
    9. Filtering database records
      7m 39s
    10. Using the Live Preview
      10m 22s
    11. Passing URL parameters
      4m 23s
    12. Dynamically generating links
      5m 18s
  10. 57m 9s
    1. Understanding behaviors
      5m 16s
    2. Installing additional behaviors
      3m 39s
    3. Planning to create a custom behavior
      3m 42s
    4. Examining existing behaviors
      5m 32s
    5. Building a behavior function
      7m 23s
    6. Creating an Action file
      6m 48s
    7. Enabling behavior functions
      9m 1s
    8. Initializing the user interface for a behavior
      3m 9s
    9. Loading behaviors in Dreamweaver
      6m 47s
    10. Testing and debugging behaviors
      5m 52s
  11. 27m 12s
    1. Running reports
      7m 41s
    2. Checking and validating links
      3m 40s
    3. Using cloaking
      5m 42s
    4. Using Check In/Check Out
      4m 3s
    5. Using Design Notes
      6m 6s
  12. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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