Understanding Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Video: Understanding Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)Having a really good understanding of Cascading Style Sheets will really open up a lot of design possibilities for you, because CSS is really powerful. CSS is Cascading Style Sheets. So you'll hear me say CSS instead of Cascading Style Sheets. But it really is a style sheet language used to describe the design of an HTML document. In fact, you can control all the visual aspects of the content using CSS. So it goes beyond what HTML styles can do.
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Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4 shows the basics of doing just that—building a first web site. Adobe Certified Instructor Paul Trani walks through the important steps of creating a web site from concept to publishing, using Dreamweaver CS4. He teaches how to create basic web pages, add text and image content, use Cascading Style Sheets for design and layout, create a photo gallery, and even check the final site for browser compatibility. He also demonstrates how to create a contact form to encourage viewer feedback on the site. Exercise files accompany the course.
- Exploring the Dreamweaver workspace for first-time users
- Linking to external web pages and sites
- Improving the presentation of text and images on the site
- Building a layout using Cascading Style Sheets
- Making navigation reusable across multiple pages
- Displaying content using the Accordion widget
- Creating a contact form and sending data from it
- Making the final site search engine-friendly
Understanding Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Having a really good understanding of Cascading Style Sheets will really open up a lot of design possibilities for you, because CSS is really powerful. CSS is Cascading Style Sheets. So you'll hear me say CSS instead of Cascading Style Sheets. But it really is a style sheet language used to describe the design of an HTML document. In fact, you can control all the visual aspects of the content using CSS. So it goes beyond what HTML styles can do.
Again modifying the fonts, the colors, the layout, position of items, it gives you a lot of control. So that's one huge, powerful aspect of CSS. Another big advantage is the ability to separate the content from the design. So you could have an HTML page that has HTML content on it. So all the copy and then you can have CSS on that same page that will control the design of that content, how that content is being displayed.
That's what known as an internal CSS if the CSS is on the page itself. But you can also have an external CSS file that exists as a separate file outside of the HTML and what the HTML does is it points to that CSS and applies that style to it. But again, it's a separate file. This gets to be really powerful when you get multiple pages involved like a website. It gives you site-wide consistency across the board. Reduces any sort of complexity or repetition.
So all your styles exist in one location. And again, if all your styles exist in one location, it's going to make your file size smaller. And sure enough, if you change this CSS style such as some sort of heading tag or a paragraph font, say for instance, if you have a website you can change the header tag to a different color and it will propagate and change throughout the entire site. So again, if you have a site with 100 pages it gets to be really helpful. So I really encourage you to use CSS for its ability to make and change multiple pages.
All right, one example and really this consists of two parts, the basic syntax is either a selector, so you can have a selector as part of your CSS, and then your declaration and that's what makes up a CSS rule. So your selector identifies the element, such as say a paragraph and then your declaration is going to have your property and value combos. You basically are going to be able to change your paragraphs. Wherever you use that paragraph, it's going to change it across the board.
And the great thing about Dreamweaver is it makes creating CSS styles easy. In fact, it gives you dialog boxes, so you don't have to remember all the code to write, and you can use a dialog box and modify your various visual elements from one location and again have it propagate throughout the site because it is CSS. And it really enables you to leverage all the power involved in CSS.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4 .
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- Q: After creating the website as instructed in the tutorial, and uploading the site to the internet, the website does not seem to work for every browser. How can one make sure that the website will work for all browsers?
- A: An important step when creating a website is to check for browser compatibility. To do so in Dreamweaver, go to Window > Results > Browser Compatibility. Click the Play icon in the left corner then go to Settings and target the browsers you¹re after. Then hit the Play button to run it and check the page that’s open. If there’s an issue, best-case scenario, it should show you what the issue is and link out to a solution. Worst case is that it’s a pretty unique issue, in which case further troubleshooting would be needed.
- Q: The background image is tiling, instead of being one large image. How is this corrected in Dreamweaver?
- A: This can be corrected by using a larger image, something around 1024x768 that will fill up most of the monitor space. The issue is that the background image is just too small. Note that tiling of the background image can be turned off in the CSS Panel, but that would only result in a single small image. So it’s better to just use a larger image for the background.
- Q: When trying to import SWF content, I get a message: “This file is outside the root folder of site ‘xxxxx’ and may not be accessible when you publish the site.” What is causing this?
- A: Make sure your SWF file (and all files you put on a page) are located in your local site. Basically make sure you set up a local site in the site panel. It will ask where to put your local site on your computer. Just make sure you SWF is in that folder and you won’t get that error.
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