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Creating properly structured forms

From: Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

Video: Creating properly structured forms

In this chapter we will discuss creating standards compliant forms. We will explore properly structuring your forms; controlling layout with CSS and using Dreamweaver's form accessibility tools. Any discussion of the correct formatting of form should start with the fieldset tag. The fieldset element allows you to group semantically related form elements. Grouping these controls makes it easier for users to understand their purpose while assisting and styling the form for browsers and also greatly assist in speech navigation for screen readers. So simply put the fieldset element and the related legend tag to make your forms more accessible.

Creating properly structured forms

In this chapter we will discuss creating standards compliant forms. We will explore properly structuring your forms; controlling layout with CSS and using Dreamweaver's form accessibility tools. Any discussion of the correct formatting of form should start with the fieldset tag. The fieldset element allows you to group semantically related form elements. Grouping these controls makes it easier for users to understand their purpose while assisting and styling the form for browsers and also greatly assist in speech navigation for screen readers. So simply put the fieldset element and the related legend tag to make your forms more accessible.

Now our companion to the fieldset tag is the legend tag. The legend element allows authors to assign a caption to the fieldset and this improves accessibility for our fieldsets and can add more styling options visually. In this exercise, we will have a brief overview of our forms and we will identify unique semantic areas where we can use the fieldset and legend tags to give our forms proper structure. So I am in the Chapter 4, Exercise Files. If you are following along with the Exercise Files, go ahead and copy those files to your desktop and then find them as a site. And you can see that I have the contact.htm file open. So you are going to want to open that one up; this is our starting point.

Now I am just going to go ahead and preview this our browser. So we already have a form on the page and as I scroll down, I can see that the form, well, there is not a lot to it. It's a fairly simple form, but it's going to allow us to do all the things that you are going to want to do in your more complex forms. We've got an area for somebody to insert their name; we've got a few checkboxes for information about the following art types, a place for Additional Comment and then a request for specific artist information. So as I am looking at this, the top of it where you are passing along your name and any additional personal information that we think the form needs to have asking for information about general art types and then the additional comments, this seems to all logical grouped together whereas at the bottom of the form where it's asking for a specific artist information that could be another area of content. So we've identified two areas in our form that can be identified with fieldset tags.

So I am going to close Firefox and go back into Dreamweaver and we will begin working on our form. Now since we are going to be wrapping tags on our existing form elements, I prefer to do that in Code View. Again the reason that I prefer to do that in Code View is I just don't want to partially select an element and then wrap something around it, because that can really mess up your Source Code. So I am going to scroll down until I find my form and we can find that on line number 33. I am going to start at the top paragraph where the Name input is and I am going to scroll all the way down until I find the paragraph for I would like information about the following artist. And I am going to stop before I highlight that.

So the last thing that I've highlighted is a line break that has the class clear applied to it. We are going to stay right here. I used the Quick Tag Editor. Remember Dreamweaver makes that really easy for us to bring out by doing our hot key of Ctrl+T or Command +T, and I am going to wrap this in a fieldset tag. So if you just type in fi code here, you are going to jump down to fieldset. And we are going to pass an id value into the fieldset as well. So our first id is going to be personalinfo all one word. So personalinfo and in addition to wrapping with a fieldset, you can also pass along an id attribute that's going to add further identification to that particular fieldset. So I will hit Enter and after you create a fieldset, it's a good idea to go ahead and establish a legend tag.

Now the legend element comes directly after a fieldset tag. So we are just going to hand-code this. So I go back up to about line 35 where a fieldset tag has been added and I am just going to enter a new line of code and I am going to do a legend tag. And the legend tag has text between the opening and closing tags that really serves as a label for the fieldset. But before we actually enter our visual label. We are going to go ahead and assign a class id to this legend as well. So I am going to give it a class and I am going call this one perlegend, again all one word. And these are actually classes that we will use later on when we are writing our cascading style sheets to control our forms. So we are just giving ourselves some stylistic looks here as well as passing along some information.

Now inside the legend tag, I am going to type in personal information. And I you may have noticed that I am doing it in all lowercase. That's just a stylistic choice at this point and then I am going to close the legend tag. Now we are not quite done yet. We still have one fieldset to go. So let's scroll down a little bit and we want to find the area down here that says I would like information about the following artist. So I am going to start right there, it's just below our first fieldset tag. So I will scroll down and we are going to go all the way down to the closing P tag. Now make sure you don't include the closing form tag, because obviously that would put our fieldset both inside and outside the form. Not a good idea.

Once again we will use the shortcut key. So Command+T or Ctrl+T and we will go ahead and wrap this one and the fieldset as well and the id for this one is going to be artistinfo. So all one word, artistinfo. We will go ahead and hit Enter; that will wrap the content in the tag and we will go ahead and include a legend tag for this one too. So go ahead in on a line below that, type in a legend tag. This one is going to have a class of artlegened assigned to it.

Artlegend and then inside the opening and closing legend tags, type in artist information. Again, I am going to use all lowercase, just stylistic choice and then don't forget to close your legend tag. So let's save our form, and I am just going to switch back over to the Design View and you will see what we have done here. Now you can see that personal information now appears above name and if I scroll down artist information appears above, I would like information about the following artist. Let's preview what that looks like in the browser. And as we scroll down we can see the default browser behavior when dealing with the fieldsets and legends.

So the default behavior is to actually wrap an outline around the fieldset area and to position the legend at the top left-hand corner. Now the faint gray line that you are seeing around it is a style that I have already written for the form. So that's not part of this behavior. If that line wasn't there, you would just see the lines around the fieldset. So visually the browser has already grouped these together. Screen readers or other types of accessibility devices would instinctively know that all of these elements are related to each other. So by adding proper structure to our forms, we can assure that our forms are accessible and Standards Compliant.

In our next exercise, we will examine Dreamweaver's form accessibility tools and the proper use of the Label tag.

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This video is part of

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Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

102 video lessons · 38680 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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