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Discover how to build web sites, prototypes, and more in this course on Adobe Dreamweaver CS6. Author James Williamson shows designers how to take control of their site by properly naming and structuring files and folders; how to create new documents and web pages from scratch or with starter pages; and how to add content such as text, images, tables, and links. James also provides a background on the languages that power projects built in Dreamweaver—HTML and CSS—and introduces the programming features in the application, for developers who want to dig right into the code. The last chapter shows how to finesse your project with interactive content such as CSS3 transitions and Spry widgets.
The CSS Styles panel can help control every phase of creating and managing CSS within Dreamweaver. In this movie I want to begin exploring how you can use the CSS Styles panel to create a new CSS rule. To do that we're going to keep working in the index file, but this time I have it opened from the 06_03 directory, and if I scroll down into my content, I can see these little section boxes, these info boxes. The headline doesn't look the way it should. It's just not styled at all to be quite honest with you. So we're going to focus on those and we're going to create a brand new rule that's going to target those elements.
Now to do that, we're going to go over to the CSS Styles panel and use the new rule feature. I noticed that if I look in the lower right-hand corner of the CSS Styles panel I have a series of icons over there. One of them that little chain like icon will allow me to Attach an External Style Sheet to a page, so if I create a brand new page from scratch and I want to go out and attach an External Style Sheet to it that's the icon I'll use for that. Though what we're interested in is the one right beside it, and this is a new CSS rule. You can see it looks like a little page with a plus (+) symbol on it. So anytime I want to create a new rule visually, I can just do that.
Now there's nothing wrong with going down there and clicking that icon and beginning to create your rule, but if you pay attention to where you're focused, both on the page and within the CSS Styles panel, you're going to do a much more efficient job of not only creating the proper selector to target the element on the page, but you're also going to be able to control where within your styles in terms of the organization of your styles, where this rule is going to be placed and both of those are very important things, especially as your pages get more complex. So in order to do that, what I'm going to do, I'm first going to click over here in Student Spotlight.
Now the first time you click on one of these info boxes, it's not going to select the individual element. You're going to get this blue outline around it because it's an element that Dreamweaver sees as a positioned element, so you're going to sort of get that overall group selection first. But if you double-click on that, that should take you into the elements inside of that, and I'm going to place my cursor directly inside the Student Spotlight headline. Now when I do that, I can see that this is an h2, so I know I need to target now a heading2 tag, and I see that it's inside of this section element.
And the section element actually has several classes applied to it, Spotlight, Info, and Condense. Now when I click on each of these as well, I can see that the classes they have applied to them are Events, Info, and Condense. Now Condense is basically controlling the transition, the animation of these things, when you hover over them they'll expand and we'll be covering that a little bit later in the title. So the only other class that allows me to target all of these at once is Info, so we need to somehow combine this h2 with the Section Info class and what we're going to do that is we created our new rule.
So now that I have some idea as to what the selector that I'm going to be creating needs to look like, I'm going to go over to the CSS Styles panel and I'm going to scroll through, to see if there's a location within my styles already that would be appropriate for our new rule. And I happened to notice as I'm scrolling down through here, I do have a whole series of selectors that are targeting elements within those info sections, so that's a perfect place for my new rule. So in order to make sure that the rule is placed in the proper location, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go up and I'm first going to highlight the section.info rule.
Now, I'm not going to double-click on that, I'm just going to click on it one time, and when I do that it's going to highlight it, and that essentially establishes the focus. So I've got really focus in two places right now. On the actual html page I have focus on the Student Spotlight headline, and in the CSS Styles panel I have my focus on the section.info rule. Okay, so now when I go down to the bottom of the CSS Styles panel and I click on the New CSS Rule icon, that's going to open up the New CSS Rule dialog box. This box essentially has three sections to it. The first one is what Type of Selector that you want to write.
The next is the actual selector itself, and then finally it asks where do you want to place these styles? Well, let's tackle these one at a time. For Selector Type, I can choose Class, ID, Tag or Compound. Class, ID and Tag allows me to create a single Class selector, ID selector, or Element selector, so if I want to target all h2s on a page, or everything with the class of Info applied to it, then those are the choices to use. If you want to be more specific however, you're going to create a compound selector, and essentially compound selector is allow you to type in as terms of a selector name, almost anything you want, but they're really focusing on doing what we call descendent selectors.
Now you'll notice that we get an immediate benefit by having our cursor inside the element. You'll notice that it tries to write the selector for us. It's doing spotlight.info.condense h2, so essentially it's saying, this particular selector would apply to any h2 that's found within an element that has all three of these classes applied to it. Well, I appreciate Dreamweaver for the effort here, but it didn't get it quite right. But that's okay, because I am now free to come in and modify this anyway that I want.
The first thing I want to do is I want to take the spotlight and I want to replace that. I want to make it so that instead of just spotlight, it's actually targeting a section tag, and then the condense really doesn't have anything to do with those headlines. There are certainly going to be some info boxes that don't animate, so I want to get rid of that. So I want to modify the selector to say section.info h2. Now this illustrates, for you guys that are new to CSS and you're wondering Do I need to learn syntax? Do I really need to learn CSS? This illustrates that yes, indeed you do.
So even though Dreamweaver does its level best to assist you in writing the selectors and to be honest with you, it's going to do a really good job most of the time, especially if you have fairly simple pages. There are going to be times when you have to go in there and edit that manually, so that you're targeting the proper element on the page. And the only way to be able to do that is if you understand CSS syntax and you know how to write these selectors. The next thing that I want to choose is where I want this rule defined and in this case I want it defined in my external main.css file. The only other choices that we have here is within this document that would create in embedded style in the head of the document, or if we wanted to create a brand-new style sheet file, which we don't, we want to leave that in main.css.
Okay, so those are your options for the New CSS Rule dialog box. Now once the rule has been created, you need to define the properties and the values for that rule, that's what we're going to do next. Since that process deserves a much closer look, we're going to explore setting Rule Properties to the Rule Definition dialog box in our next movie, and since we're going to be picking up from right where we left off, you don't necessarily need to even close the screen you have up right now. When this movie finishes, just go ahead and start the next one, stay right where you are at and we'll pick it up from this exact location.
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