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Most people think of lists as simply a way of displaying related items in a numbered or unordered listing. Now that's certainly true, but lists can do so much more than that. Lists allow us to group related content together and then structure that content in a way that denotes importance, rank, or similarity. When used for navigation, lists offer a way to group links together so that user agents know that those links are all related. HTML offers us three main types of lists: Ordered, Unordered and Definition lists.
Ordered lists use some type of a numbering system - numbers, letters, Roman numerals - to display the listed items. Unordered lists use bullets or icons to denote a listed item, and Definition lists display a term followed by a definition. While Ordered lists and Unordered lists follow the same basic structure, Definition lists uses a slightly different structure. Well, here I have a list_example opened, and I want to show you the basic structure of Unordered and Ordered lists, and those are two most common list types that you're probably going to be using in HTML.
So I'm going to scroll down through my code, and you can see, in the Design view,
that this is just a simple bulleted or Unordered list.
But in Code View, let's take a look at the structure.
Every list is surrounded by an opening and a closing list tag.
In this case, the tag denotes an Unordered list.
Then the list items themselves are surrounded by an opening and closing or list item tag.
That's really as complex as it gets.
It's a very, very basic structure, very clean.
Now, if I wanted to change this listing from an Unordered list to an Ordered
list, all I would really need to do is change the opening tag to an
the closing tag to a closing tag.
Now if I click back over here in Design View, you can see I now have an Ordered list. So very, very close in structure between Ordered and Unordered lists. Well, now that we have examined the structure of that, let's go ahead and create a few lists of our own in our Resource page. I'm going to close this file, and then from the 05_03 folder, I'm going to open up our resources.htm. Now we've added a good bit of structure to this page already. But if I scroll down to the bottom of it, I can see that we have single paragraphs down here that need to be structured maybe a little bit better.
These are all related items, and they fit very nicely within a list. So what I'm going to do is start with the first item. Have you arranged for your mail/paper delivery? I'm just going to highlight all the way down to our last item. We recommend packing a small first-aid kit. So with that highlighted, I'm going to go down to my Properties Inspector. Again, I'm going to be making sure that I'm on the HTML tab, not the CSS tab. And I'm going to choose to go ahead and make this, initially, an Ordered list. So very similar to any type of a Word Processing program that you've been using, but notice, again, on the left- hand side in the Code View, we're actually structuring our list.
In Design view, we can see we have items 1 through 21 listed in a numbered list. Now, are there things that we can change via the HTML, to change how our list displays? Absolutely. If you click inside any of the list items - I'm just going to click inside the first one here in the Design view - you'll notice that our Properties Inspector has a button on it that it didn't have before, List Item. If I click on that, that's going to bring up a dialog box that allows me to change some of the properties of my list. For example, I could change the type of lists that I have.
In this case, I'm going to change the style. I'm going to grab the Style pulldown menu, and I notice that I can choose between numbers, Roman Numeral Small and Large, and Alphabets Small and Large. I'm going to choose Alphabet Small. Click OK. Now that I can see instead of starting with the number 1, it starts with an "a". Also, notice, in Code View, that now our opening tag has an attribute. An attribute is a property inside of a tag that gives more information about that particular element. In this case, it's saying there is an Ordered list, and its type should be small alphabet.
Now, you can also make changes directly in the code as well. So what I'd like you to do is switch over to the Code View. I'm going to remove that attribute and change the ol to a ul. So scroll all the way down, find the opening tag, and then find the closing tag. The closing tag has that little forward slash right at the front of it. And again, I'm going to just change the o to u. Now when I click back over in Design view, now we have bullets instead of numbers. And bullets are going to be better for this type of list, because we're really denoting any sequential information; we're just organizing grouped information.
Now occasionally, you're going to need nested lists, that is a list appearing inside of a list. For example, if I look inside of our existing list, I have this entry here: Is your trip an outdoor adventure? If so, we recommend the following. So we have another group of information that pertains to just that item. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to start with Comfortable hiking shoes, and I'm going to go all the way down to Sunscreen, because that is part of the group, so Comfortable hiking shoes to Sunscreen. Now how do we nest one list inside of another? It's actually very, very simple.
We're going to go right down to the Properties Inspector, and I'm just going to
click this little icon here that says Indent.
As soon as I do that, it goes ahead and indents that lists in, and now it is a nested list.
Now how does that look in the code?
Well, this is pretty interesting.
Notice that the lists item that this pertains to - Is your trip an outdoor adventure -
here is the opening
Now, that's a very important structural point I want to make here. If you open up one tag inside of another tag, the nested tag must close first before its parent tag can close. If it were the other way around, and that ul came after the tag, that will be non-valid HTML, and in fact, you'd be basically interrupting one list and putting another one in its place, so we don't want to do that. The nice thing is Dreamweaver does all that for you. Okay, I'm going to go ahead and Save this file. And I want to talk very briefly about Definition lists.
Now Definition lists aren't as widely used as Unordered or Ordered lists, but they are very handy in several situations. I'm going to go over to my Files panel and open up the faq.htm file found in the 05_03. So this is our site's frequently asked questions. And if I scroll down, I see that each of our frequently asked questions has a question followed by an answer. That structure is repeated over and over and over again. It'd be really nice if, structurally, we could tell any type of user agent that these items were related.
A Definition list allows us to do just that. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to start with our first question in the Backpack Cal area. What does "tour difficultly" in the tour description mean? I'm going to start with that, and I'm going to begin to highlight all the way down to the last answer inside Backpack California, Yes, we can. Take a look at our tour guide gear recommendations. Now that can be a little tricky, so you want to double-check your highlighting and make sure that you have questions and answers highlighted entirely, and that you didn't get any of the lines above, or lines below.
Definition lists can be a little tricky, and you want to make sure that you have all the elements selected that you need for that Definition list. Okay, so now we're ready to format this. Now, if we go down to our Properties inspector, there is nothing down here for Definition lists. There is Bulleted lists. There is an Ordered lists, but nothing for a Definition list. Well, you won't find them on the Properties Inspector. You will find them, however, up in the menu. So I'm going to go up to my menu, I'm going to go to Format > List and right there is Definition list. Now if this is something you're going to be doing a lot, you might want to map a keyboard shortcut to that so that you don't have to keep coming up to the menu.
But if you're just doing it once or twice, it's probably not that big of deal to come up to the menu and select that. So as soon as I select Definition list, we see a little bit of a change here. Our answers are now indented in a little bit and give us a little bit of separation between our questions. Now, this isn't the best rendering in the world, but remember, that's what our CSS is for. We're going to style this later on with our CSS to make this look the way we want it to. I'm going to take just a moment to go over to the code, because I want to examine the structure of this lists and compare it with what we were doing with our Unordered or Ordered lists.
Notice at the very top of any Definition lists is the
From there, it alternates between a
That can really mess up your structure. Well, to go ahead and practice this, we've got facts for each of these tour packages: California Calm, California Hotsprings, Cycle California, all the way down the page. Take some time, go ahead and pause the movie, take some time and add that additional structure to each one of those elements. As you do that, you'll get a little bit more comfortable with creating a Definition list. Now, creating and editing lists inside Dreamweaver is extremely simple. It's similar to using several popular text editing programs, so a lot of what you're doing here you're going to be quite familiar with.
What's really important to remember is that any changes made to the list, and all of the text in Dreamweaver for that matter, is in reality generating and modifying code, the underlying structure for all of your content. As such, you want to make sure that you understand how this code should be structured in case you ever need to go in and modify yourself. I recommend monitoring the code as you create it, just as we're doing here, so that you're ensuring that you're formatting your code correctly
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