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Creating structure with div tags


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

Video: Creating structure with div tags

Our site will feature a twist on a popular and very basic layout structure. We'll have a header followed by the main navigation and this'll be followed by the mainContent region, a sidebar and then finally a footer. Every page in our site will follow this layout, meaning that we will be able to build one set of styles to control our layout and then use those styles on every single page. That allows us to write very efficient code and build a consistent structure. You may remember that div tags will give our page structure and form these content regions.
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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

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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 structure with div tags

Our site will feature a twist on a popular and very basic layout structure. We'll have a header followed by the main navigation and this'll be followed by the mainContent region, a sidebar and then finally a footer. Every page in our site will follow this layout, meaning that we will be able to build one set of styles to control our layout and then use those styles on every single page. That allows us to write very efficient code and build a consistent structure. You may remember that div tags will give our page structure and form these content regions.

ID values will be assigned to do the div tag to pass along meaning and aid in the styling process. As a general rule, I will create and style these div tags before any other content appears on my page. That way, I can make sure the layout is working and that the structure is sound before committing content to the page itself. In this movie, we'll begin to create our layout from scratch. To do this, we'll use Dreamweaver's tools to quickly add div tags to our page, adding IDs and styles as we go. So I have the index.htm file open from the 10_07 folder and currently we just have a blank page.

There is nothing in here whatsoever other than the body tag itself. Now we do have one style that is currently giving a background color to the body tag and that's just going to help us make sure that we have proper definition for all the elements on the page as we begin to add them. Okay now, I am going to show you a tool here that I absolutely love. Now to be honest with you, some of you guys are going to be very comfortable hand coding and you can go into Code View and you can do what we're about to do here in a much quicker fashion. However, the tool I am going to show you guys is the Insert Div Tag tool.

It's right up here in the Insert panel. And the thing that I really like about this is that even though we are in Design View, we are going to be able to create div tags that are going to go into our content, we are going to be able to precisely control where those div tags are going to be located, and we're going to be able to assign an ID or class and write the style for that ID or class as we insert it on the page. So that allows you to tackle a lot of tasks at one time, which is why I like this tool so much. So what I am going to do is just go up and with my cursor blinking, anywhere on the page it doesn't matter, 'I am going to click to insert the div tag.= Now this point saying Add insertion point doesn't really matter. I mean there is nothing on the page.

So it's going to go inside the body tag, which is perfect. Now notice that we have a couple of dialog boxes here. The first one allows us to assign a Class value and the second allows us to assign an ID attribute, so we could assign a Class or an ID attribute with this dialog box. Now if we currently had an attached style sheet that had pre-existing classes or pre-existing IDs, we could actually grab them from does pull-down menu. Now we don't have any styles written whatsoever, so it's empty, but that's what is so neat about this New CSS Rule option.

That allows you to create and write your CSS as you're assigning the ID and inserting the div tag on the page, so it allows you to do that all at one time. So if I click inside the ID field here and I type in the word wrapper, when I choose New CSS Rule, notice that it already knows that oh you need an ID selector and you are going to name it #wrapper. So you're going ahead and taking care of a lot of steps all at once. Now I am going to go ahead and define this rule in this document only. I am going to go ahead and click OK and instead of writing all of our layout CSS right now, we are just concerned with building the structure.

So we are only going to put a couple of properties in here to allow us to identify these regions and then we are going to come back in a later exercise and actually write the CSS for them. So the first thing I want to do here is go to my Background property and I am going to give this a background of #fff, that's white, and then I'm going to go to the Box category and I am going to go ahead and give this a width of 930 pixels and that's what we need for our wrapper div tag. Our page content is going to be constrained within 930 pixels. I am going to go ahead and click OK and OK again.

Now what happens is all at once the CSS style wrapper is created over here in our CSS Styles panel and our div tag is placed on the page. You can see that Dreamweaver gives you some placeholder content for that particular div tag. Content for ID wrapper goes here. Well, that's very useful if you're building out your entire structure and you want to know where the header is, where the sidebar is, where the main content region is, but for the wrapper all it really does is wrap all of our other div tag so we don't need that. So I am going to go ahead and highlight that text and just delete it to sort of get it out of the way.

Be very careful. Make sure you don't have the entire div tag selected. So just highlight that text. You want the div tag to remain. Okay, now we are going to go through and add the remainder of our divs and go ahead and build styles for them at the same time. I'm going to go ahead and insert another div tag on the page and this time where we insert it really does matter. We want to make sure that this is inside the wrapper div tag. So what we are going to do is grab this pulldown menu, and instead of saying Before tag or After tag, we are going to say After the start of tag and we are going to say after the start of wrapper.

So after the opening wrapper div tag, we're going to insert a div tag and so it will be between the opening and closing tags meaning that this div tag will be inside of the wrapper tag. So we want to make sure it says after start of tag, div ID equals wrapper. Now we are going to give this one an ID of header and choose New CSS Rule. Once again we are going to double- check to make sure it is an ID selector, it should say #header and we want to to define it in this document only. We are going to go ahead and click OK. We are going to give this one a background color as well. Now the background colors we're putting in here, this one is going to be #ffc, they really don't mean anything.

They are just placeholder colors to help us identify these regions of content. Later on we'll replace them with graphics or other colors. I am going to go down to the Box category and here we're going to give this one a width of 192 pixels and we are going to give it a height of 237 pixels. The header is where our company logo is eventually going to go and so that width and height is the exact width and height of the company logo. I am going to go ahead and click OK, click OK again, and now right after the start of our wrapper div tag and you can kind of see it's definitely inside of it, because there is a white background color of our wrapper, there's the header.

Okay well let's keep going. And it doesn't really matter where you click, because now we can use those Insert Div Tag controls to make sure we're inserting them in the right place. So I am going to choose Insert Div Tag. This time I am going to choose After tag and the tag this one is going to come after is the header. So we are just going to do these in order from this point forward. It will be after the previous tag that you just wrote. In this case, this ID is going to be mainNav. Noticed that it's all one word, lowercse m uppercase N. This means that if somebody is viewing our unstyled content, after the header we want them to encounter the main navigation.

We'll choose New CSS Rule, verify that everything looks good here, ID, mainNav, This document only, everything is good. I'll click OK,and now what we are going to do is give this one a background color of #00f. I am going to go to the Box category, give it a width of 272 pixels, and give it a height of 200 pixels. Now the height is just there to show volume, but the 272 pixels is important. The main navigation and the sidebar are going to stack one on top of the other. They are both going to be 272 pixels wide and they are going to look as if they are single column, but because of the way that we want the content to be encountered, main navigation first, main content second, sidebar third, we are going to be a little sneaky in how we actually construct it.

Okay I am going to go ahead and click OK here, OK again, and now there is the div tag mainNav. So let's keep going. Insert another div tag. This time we are going to be after the mainNav tag. Now make sure it says After tag and not After start. It's easy to confuse the two. An After tag means after the entire tag and not inside of the tag as After start of tag will be. So make sure you say After tag there, div id mainNav. Now the next one is going to be mainContent. Here we are going to choose New CSS Rule.

Verify everything looks okay. ID, mainContent, This document only. And for this one, the Background-color is going to be #ccf. Now if you want to use different background colors, be my guest. I know these don't follow any great color scheme. They are really just there to show the elements and they are designed to contrast with each other. So if you find them visually unappealing, please go ahead and put in your own. Now in the Box category, we are going to go ahead and give this a width of 608 pixels. Now that is the width that we need for our mainContent region but the height, and in this case it's going to be 600 pixels, is again just to show volume.

So go ahead and click OK. Click OK again. There we get our mainContent. We are almost done. I am going to do an Insert Div Tag again. This time we are going to do After tag, mainContent. So you can see we are just going down there in the order, and the ID of this one is going to be sidebar. Now be sure to click New CSS Rule and we want this to be ID, #sidebar. This document only. That's fine. Click OK. Background for this one, I am going to use #cc2. I am going to go the Box category and in the Box category I am going to give that a width of 272 pixels and a height of 300 pixels.

Now remember, 272 was the exact same width as the mainNav. So when those two sort of stack one on top of each other, they are going to look like a single column. I'll go ahead and click OK, click OK again, and now we have one last div tag container that we need. I am going to Insert Div Tag. This one is going to be after the sidebar that you just placed in. So After tag, div id = sidebar, and we are going to give this one an ID of footer, and then click New CSS Rule. So make sure it's an ID selector, #footer, This document only.

Go ahead and click OK. Now here for the background I am just going to put in #0ee, sort of a bright blue aqua color, and for the Box category, go ahead and give it a width of 930 pixels. That is exactly the same width as our wrapper div tag and give it a height of 200 pixels. Click OK, click OK again, and there is the footer. Now that doesn't look very good at all, but it is exactly the structure that we need for our page layout. If we switch over to Code View, you can see how simple the structure is.

We have a wrapper div tag, which is surrounding a header followed by a main navigation, followed by a mainContent, followed by a sidebar, followed by a footer. Those five elements are going to give us all we need for our main page layout. So even though we're long way away from having our layout finish, we can at least see the basic structure of the site. Many of the things that we have created like background colors and I love the heights won't be part of our final layout. They do however give us the ability to preview our content areas as we're building the layout. Now if you don't feel like adding these temporary items to your styles, let me show you something that Dreamweaver can do for you to preview those areas.

I am going to switch back to Design View. And if we didn't have any of these background colors and we were just kind of wondering where do these elements fit in, you can go to your Visual Aids right here in the document toolbar and you can choose CSS Layout Backgrounds. They are essentially going to color code all of the elements on the page with their own custom colors. Now it's interesting because they're different every time. You never know what you are going to get. They use a random algorithm, so if you turn them off and turn them back on again, you get a different set of colors. Really all they are designed to do is show you where those regions of content are and contrast them with the other regions on the page.

So if you don't feel like putting in those sort of placeholder background colors that we've done, you could use that technique instead. Now, I also would like to point out that although we could have certainly hand-coded our page just as quickly, I really do like this technique because it allows me to precisely position my div tags and create styles as I build the structure. In our next movie, we're going to add floats and a positioning attribute that's going to create our main layout. Along the way, we'll discuss our layout choices and why attributes are used for specific elements.

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 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
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