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Planning for templates


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

Video: Planning for templates

In this chapter, we will be exploring using templates for our site development. Templates can be very helpful in designing your sites, especially in helping you to create pages quickly, keeping your site consistent, and later, it can really help in maintaining your site. Templates allow you to lock certain portions of your design down while allowing editable regions to change from page to page. This means the page elements that are consistent across your site only have to be created once, and when updated will update globally across your entire site.
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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

Planning for templates

In this chapter, we will be exploring using templates for our site development. Templates can be very helpful in designing your sites, especially in helping you to create pages quickly, keeping your site consistent, and later, it can really help in maintaining your site. Templates allow you to lock certain portions of your design down while allowing editable regions to change from page to page. This means the page elements that are consistent across your site only have to be created once, and when updated will update globally across your entire site.

Before we get started building our templates, I want to make a point about this chapter in that it's a little different from the other chapters in the title. It's important that you go through this chapter in order, as we will be building the templates and then incrementally updating them in each successive movie. Doing the movies out of turn will not give you the proper context of how those changes fit into the overall template workflow. Okay, so now that we have had an overview of how templates work, it's time to get in and start thinking about creating our own templates.

The first step in using templates for your sites is to take a close look at your page design and identify the elements that remain consistent or only change slightly from page to page. So here I have the templates_source.htm file open, and this is the file that we are going to use to create our first template. Now if we think about the design of the Explore California web site, we have a few things that are going to remain constant from page to page. We have a few things that will show up on some pages and not others, and then we have a few areas that are going to be unique for every single page.

Identifying those types of regions are going to be really helpful for you when you're planning your templates. For example, the logo is going to show up on every single page and it's always going to link back to the index or home page of the site. A Region ID will always show up at the top of the page and will display exactly which area of the site the user is in. Underneath that, there's an optional region where breadcrumbs will be used in subdirectories but not from main or top-level pages. So that needs to be on some pages, but not all of them.

If we turn our attention to the navigation and the sidebar, we notice that for the navigation, certain navigation items have submenus, Tours, for example, Resources and Explorers. They are not going to show up on every single page. The sub-navigation is only necessary when I'm in one of those specific regions. So there's another part of our design that is going to be needed on some pages but not all of them. As I go down into the sidebar, each page is going to list our monthly specials and each page is going to showcase some trivia, but the trivia is going to change for every single page.

The footer is going to remain fairly consistent for every single page so it's never going to change. And then if we turn our attention to the mainContent region, we can see that we have got some content on the page right now that is specific to the Backpack California page. And although certain pages are going to share some similarities, for example, tour description pages will be very similar in structure, although the content will vary from page to page. But notice that mainContent region here on the right-hand side, that's really going to change in almost every single page. So really if you can take a high-level overview of your page design like this, it's pretty easy to identify elements that are always going to show up, other elements that are going to be on some pages but not others, and in certain regions that you are really going to need to change from page to page.

Once you perform that kind of assessment, planning your template becomes a lot easier. So what we are going to do now is we have just got this template_source page and this is the page that we are going to base our template off of. The thing that I want to do before I create my template is go ahead and make a lot of these regions generic. That way, if a team member is building a page off of this, they have some type of instruction as to what to do and they don't have a lot of content that they need to delete or get rid of. So the first thing I am going to do is go up to the very top of the page and right here where it says Tours, that's really identifying the region of the site that the user is in.

So we're just going to replace that with the placeholder Region ID. So before I create a template, I go into these sections and create some really generic placeholders that simply identify the content that is going to go there. When I go down to breadcrumbs, I don't need two levels of breadcrumbs. I just need one to start off with and then based upon the page that I am creating off the template, I can add as many breadcrumbs as I need. I am going to select the Backpack Cal breadcrumb, go down to my Tag Selector and use it to select the link that's surrounding it and then delete that.

That will get rid of the text and the link as well and we will just have a singular breadcrumb ready to use. I am going to highlight that breadcrumb and I am gong to replace it with just that, the word breadcrumb. There we go. And I am going to take the page specific link that is there now. I am just going to replace that with a dummy link. I am just going to type in the pound symbol. That's a nice way of just putting in a placeholder link. The a tag will remain, but that's not really going to go anywhere. Now going down the page a little bit, I am also going to take the headline Backpack Cal and I am just going to change that to Page Heading, because every single page we work with does have a main heading.

Now almost every page on our site is going to follow a very similar form. Typically, there is some type of body copy and typically there's an accent image here. Now it would be really tempting to try to keep the accent image, but this is an in-line image, meaning it's literally flowed into this text. So changing the text at all, if you highlight it and start typing it, the image itself will go away. So that makes it very, very difficult to copy and paste text from other source documents without actually getting rid of the image. So moving an image onto the page, even though it does require a little bit of manual labor, isn't that much work.

So it's okay to go ahead and get rid of the image and then make sure that people know that every time you are building a page, this is the accent image that you need to use for that particular page. So I am just going to highlight this copy, knowing that when I start typing, the image is going to go away. And I am just going to type in 'Body content goes here.' So, very short, very descriptive, and there is just not a lot of content for you to replace when you are building pages based off of your new template. Okay, now I am going to save the page and turn my attention over here to the navigation. You may have noticed it seems kind of strange to have all these sub navigation areas visible.

That's certainly not the way that it is going to be within our site. Well, those are going to optional regions. So when we build a page off of our template, we are going to give ourselves the ability to tell the template which if any of those sub-navigation areas we want to be visible. But there is another factor we have to consider here as well. One of the things that we like to do is identify which page we are currently on. For example, if I select the Explorers link and I am just going to do this real quick. You don't need to do this with me. And I add the class current to the link, you will notice that Explorers now displays as the current page.

Well, we need to have that ability from our templates too. When we create a new page off of a template, we need to be able to express that to any new page being created from the template so that the proper link will display as being current. So what we have got here is we have all of our sub-navigation areas and a main navigation area shown as well. That's going to allow us to create what we call optional regions when we build our template and it's also going to allow us to customize these based on the class that's found. Now I will explain that in greater detail in just a moment. But for right now, it leaves us a task at hand that we have to do.

What we are going to do is we are going to assign a baseLink class to each one of these images. That way, we have a class that we can replace with current when we create new pages off of it. I know that may sound a little confusing right now, but trust me. When we get into doing editable attributes in just a little bit, this step will make a whole lot of sense. All right, what I want you to do is click inside the link Tours, use the Tag Selector to select the a tag, it should have the class tours on it, and then hit Command or Ctrl+T based on which platform you are on. This is going to bring up the Quick Tag Editor.

What I would like you to do is go into the class attribute. Right now what it should say class = tours. Place your cursor right after the S, but in front of the quotation mark, hit a Space, and then type in baseLink. This class is not in our CSS and doesn't mean anything. What it does is it gives us a placeholder class that we can use later on to replace with current if in fact it is the current link. So I am going to hit Return and then we are going to do that for every single one of these links.

So that will take us a little bit of time but the hard work we are putting in right now is really going to payoff when we are building pages based off this template. So I am just going to go to every link, click on the a tag, and hit Ctrl or Command+T. Right after that, I am going to go into the class and right after the initial class, I am going to type in a space and then just type in baseLink. Now, we are going to do that for every single link. So just go right on down the page, do that to all of them. Now, you may have at least one. I am going to have two, because I have got this Explorers here. But this Tours Photos one, when you select that one, and bring your link up, you will see that current is already there.

Just in that case, highlight current and type in baseLink. So there is your homework. I know that is going to take a little bit of time. But just go down and select each one of these guys, hit Command+T, go into class, hit Space and type in baseLink. You will be surprised at how quickly you sort of get into the rhythm of that. Now if you are not familiar with applying classes, one of the things I would like to point out here is that indeed tags and elements can have multiple classes applied to them, and the way that we define that is in the value, we just put spaces between them.

So you can have as many classes applied to an element as you would like. That is not a problem. Okay, after you are done doing the links, in the interest of time, I'm just going to skip down into the trivia section, but it's really important for you to finish out those links. So just go through them in order and add baseLink as a class to each one of those. Okay, I am going to go all the way down to the bottom and I am going to find this trivia section. Did you know is going to remain the headline for our trivia, but each page is going to have its own unique trivia fact. So what I am going to do here is replace that text with trivia body.

So again that's how we will know exactly where that trivia content goes. All right. Now I am going to do a Save As, and I want to save this in the 13_01 folder, just in the root directory there, and I am going to call this main_template.htm. Now, that does not make it a template, but what that does give us is a page structure that's clean, neutral, and this is the page that's going to serve as a blueprint for the template that we are about to build. Now, my advice is to take some extra time when you are preparing your templates.

Make sure you are thinking through how each page will be structured. It's easier to make adjustments to which areas will be editable as you are creating your templates than it is later in the process. Well, now that we have a page ready to be converted into a template, we are going to explore the process of creating template pages in our next movie.

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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