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Updating the page structure and the background


Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts

with Joseph Lowery

Video: Updating the page structure and the background

In this chapter we're going to work with the child theme setup in the Chapter 4 lesson-- which was appropriately named setting up a child theme--so that our basic WordPress page fits in with our existing site. We'll take an outside-in approach starting with the page background and the basic page structure. When I'm working on a project like this, I always develop a comp in HTML first. The comp will give us the precise CSS declarations we'll need to replicate a design, as well as clues to the required underlying structure.
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  1. 4m 7s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 54s
    3. A word about updates
      1m 15s
  2. 15m 28s
    1. Overview
      1m 51s
    2. Creating the database and the initial site
      3m 45s
    3. Configuring WordPress
      5m 54s
    4. Establishing a Dreamweaver site
      3m 58s
  3. 20m 18s
    1. Accessing dynamically related files
      4m 12s
    2. Filtering files
      4m 20s
    3. Following links
      4m 15s
    4. Employing Live Code
      2m 54s
    5. Enabling site-specific code hinting
      4m 37s
  4. 21m 8s
    1. Adding blog posts
      4m 55s
    2. Editing blog posts
      3m 20s
    3. Adding new pages
      2m 59s
    4. Including images
      6m 59s
    5. Adding videos to posts
      2m 55s
  5. 18m 12s
    1. Understanding WordPress structure
      3m 52s
    2. Activating a theme
      7m 21s
    3. Setting up a child theme
      6m 59s
  6. 1h 29m
    1. Updating the page structure and the background
      12m 53s
    2. Working with web fonts
      4m 3s
    3. Styling a header
      11m 48s
    4. Adding header functions
      7m 40s
    5. Setting up content columns
      10m 9s
    6. Changing the main content
      5m 17s
    7. Managing the content code
      4m 48s
    8. Customizing the sidebar
      10m 32s
    9. Styling search
      7m 8s
    10. Working with search text
      5m 49s
    11. Integrating the footer
      9m 40s
  7. 27m 18s
    1. Setting up media queries
      6m 12s
    2. Customizing for tablets
      12m 19s
    3. Building smartphone layouts
      8m 47s
  8. 23m 28s
    1. Working with categories and posts
      5m 31s
    2. Developing category-driven pages
      11m 22s
    3. Changing headers by category
      6m 35s
  9. 36m 32s
    1. Adding Spry accordion panels
      17m 44s
    2. Working with Spry form validation
      11m 56s
    3. Integrating jQuery functionality
      6m 52s
  10. 11m 7s
    1. Understanding WordPress plugins
      6m 20s
    2. Styling plugin output
      4m 47s
  11. 25m 44s
    1. Customizing the Dashboard
      6m 52s
    2. Working with WordPress functions
      8m 7s
    3. Including administration interactivity
      10m 45s
  12. 13m 10s
    1. Setting up the data in WordPress
      2m 17s
    2. Adding dynamic data from WordPress to your web pages
      10m 53s
  13. 11m 38s
    1. Modifying general settings
      4m 12s
    2. Setting up users
      3m 11s
    3. Restricting access to specific WordPress pages
      4m 15s
  14. 26m 38s
    1. Exporting and importing WordPress files
      7m 9s
    2. Backing up and restoring the database
      8m 10s
    3. Transferring files
      6m 3s
    4. Testing and fine-tuning
      5m 16s
  15. 18s
    1. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts
5h 44m Intermediate May 27, 2010 Updated Oct 23, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Joseph Lowery shows how to combine the utility of WordPress and the power of Adobe Dreamweaver to transition existing websites to the WordPress platform. The course demonstrates how to create new blog posts and pages, customize WordPress themes, and extend WordPress editable pages from within Dreamweaver. It also covers how to add Spry elements, add and customize plugins, and enhance WordPress-stored content with Dreamweaver's dynamic pages. Plus, a chapter on responsive design shows how you can adapt your layouts for tablets and mobile devices.

Topics include:
  • Using the Dynamically-Related Files feature in Dreamweaver to design WordPress pages
  • Applying WordPress themes
  • Customizing themes
  • Adding Spry widgets
  • Adding WordPress dynamic data
  • Populating the WordPress database
  • Publishing a WordPress site
Dreamweaver WordPress
Joseph Lowery

Updating the page structure and the background

In this chapter we're going to work with the child theme setup in the Chapter 4 lesson-- which was appropriately named setting up a child theme--so that our basic WordPress page fits in with our existing site. We'll take an outside-in approach starting with the page background and the basic page structure. When I'm working on a project like this, I always develop a comp in HTML first. The comp will give us the precise CSS declarations we'll need to replicate a design, as well as clues to the required underlying structure.

Let's open up the blog comp for this site, which you'll find in the website files within the _source folder you see here, and it's called blog_comp.htm. So let's go into Live view so you can just take a quick look at it. And if I open up the index page from the site, you see that it's, basically, kind of the same thing. Let me actually go and choose another page, that's a little bit more basic like about.htm, and I'll go into Live view there.

So here's the basic look and feel of the site, and you can see there's a big footer down at the bottom, a sidebar over on the right-hand side, header graphic, and so on. Now my blog_comp looks very similar. I've got a specialized header graphic, main content area over on the left, and a sidebar over on the right, and this is styled to be uniform rather than having multiple boxes. But that's just a design that we chose here, and we have the same kind of large footer area at the bottom. Now let's open up index.php from the blog site.

So I'll go to blog and double-click on index.php and enter into Live view and then let me dynamically discover all the files. Again, Dreamweaver will put up a script warning for us, we just click Yes. Okay, it's found all of our files. Now let me close about.htm so we can compare our Apples to Apples here. We're in a Live Design view in both of them. So here's our existing blog page and here's what we're aiming for. As you can see, we have quite a bit of ways to go.

Let's scroll down so we can look at what constitutes the footer, and it's very basic down at the bottom whereas I have a much more elaborate footer. The other major difference is, of course, that the sidebar appears to be over on the right in the blog comp, and it's on the left in our current page. We'll eventually get to working out all of those details, but as I said, I want to start from the outside in, and this will be a little bit more noticeable if I close off my panels here.

So the first thing that I notice is a big difference is the background color. Here, on this page, we have a basic light gray and then, here, on this comp is a much darker gray, obviously a very specific color. So let's open up the Styles panel again, because we're going to be using those quite a bit, and I'm going to open up my CSS Styles panel, expand that just a bit, and we see that over here on this side, all right perfect.

So the first thing I want to do is pick up the value of the background color by using the Inspect feature that we see available to us once we are in Live mode. So I'm going to go ahead and just click on Inspect and then roll over the background a little bit and go ahead and click once to lock that in. Now we want to make sure that your CSS Styles panel is in current mode, and that will give you the most current files. I'm going to shrink down the Files panel so we can see a little bit more of our CSS styles panel as we're working with that exclusively now.

So now I'm looking for the background color, and I have to discover where that is. Now because I inspected the body tag, that's the first one you'll see here in the Rules Pane, but if you just scroll up and click one tag after another--climbing the tree if you will--until you come across a background color or background property as we see here in the HTML tag, you can easily find the background color that's applied. So all I need to do now is click into the Properties area there, and I'm going to copy that value add let's go apply it over on our comp.

So we'll do the same thing and then Live view, and I'll choose Inspect and scroll over to the outer area where we see that and here very quickly we see that the background is applied on the body tag. Now we want to find out exactly where that is applied. Now if you go up here and hover over body in the Rules Pane you'll see a little tooltip that tells you that the rule is defined in style.css. So a good thing to do at this point would be to use the Custom Filter up in the Related Files Toolbar that will allow us to hone in on the style.css file.

So let's open that up, choose Custom Filter, and then in the Custom Filter dialog enter in style.css in the field and click OK. Now you'll see that there are actually two style.css style sheets, one that is connected to our Custom Theme folder and one that goes for our Roux child theme folder. We want to put any styles that we create in this style sheet, the one that is stored in the Roux folder.

And we do that so that we keep the style sheet and all the other files that are in the parent theme as they were, so in case they ever get upgraded we don't lose any styles or modifications that we've made. Now you may recall that we had two different selectors in use here, blog_comp had the background color applied to the HTML tag, whereas on the side it was applied to the body tag. So we want to use the selectors that are found in our child theme and not the ones that are in the comp.

So I'm going to put in body open up a curly brace, background, and I copied in that value so it you can just pace that in, put in a Semicolon, let's make in a little bit more room--let's see that all in one line-and then close off the curly brace. All right, first rule is done. Now if we click back into our Design view, and let's give it just a little bit more room here, I'm not going to see a whole lot of it but there's a thin gray right there.

Now, you won't see it until you hit Refresh. I'll tell you what, let's go to Design view there so you can actually see the background and so you can see, now we have that same dark gray color. Great. Well, let's continue working our way from the outside in. Next stop is the width of the page. Let's take a look at the comp. I'm going to click on Inspect and then try to locate the full width of the page. One way to do this is to hover over any element and then you actually use your arrow keys to climb up the DOM tree if you will.

So I'm going to click my Left Arrow key which will go up the tree, as you can see, every time I do, I'm now on article in the mainContent area, if I click it again, it's going to go to the div that surrounds just the content called the content wrapper, my header is still not brought into play and then, it goes to the blog around the body page. Okay, so again, we have the width that's on the body tag, and it's at 960 pixels, and let's head on over, and let's find where that width should be here.

So I'll start in the header and again, pressing my Left Arrow key to step up of the DOM, I'll go, there's the header area, there's the outerWrapper, and that seems to be the width. This is pretty common, in a lot of designs, you'll see a div named wrapper or outerWrapper or something like that, that will hold the page elements together. Okay, so this is where we want to be, but rather than change the width right here on outerWrapper which is stored in the style.css file that is found in the Custom Theme folder, we want to go to our Roux theme style sheet and put it in there.

So it's an id of outerWrapper and a width of 960. Now I notice that there were a couple of other properties associated with that same rule that I may want to pick up. Let's go ahead and take a look at those. Here we have margin 0 auto and position relative. Let's go ahead and bring that in. Margin 0 auto is going to center our page and position relative, it's kind of an odd one to have for body, so it probably has some impact on the way things are laid out.

So to get through those properties, the easiest thing to do is to right-click on body on the Rules Pane and choose Go to Code, and there's our rule starting at 160, and I'm just going to copy those two properties and then, head on over to our style sheet here and paste them in. So I'll save this style sheet here. Now the last aspect of the page I want to check is its basic structure. So I can see if I need to make any fundamental changes to the WordPress page.

One really good technique for viewing the structure of a page is to use Dreamweaver's Live Code view in conjunction with code collapse. Let me show you what I mean. So let's go back to the comp page, and I'm going to enter into Live Code view. Let me open up a Code view all the way, so we can take advantage of the larger screen size. You'll recall that the yellow background indicates that Live Code is not editable. But that's okay, all we're doing is looking. So let's scroll down to the body section, which starts on line 13, I'm going to scroll down a little bit more to bring it up.

Our first major division is the header tag, not a surprise as we saw that the page width was controlled by a CSS rule for the body and not for something like outerWrapper. So let's collapse the header and see what's next. To do that place your cursor right after the header tag and then go up to the third icon which says Collapse Full Tag and click that once, and that will invoke the Code Collapse feature, and I can bring it back if I want by clicking on the arrow here and collapse it again by clicking that same arrow.

Okay, so we have the header, looks like the next major structural element is the contentWrapper. Let's leave that open so we can see what content it wraps around. The first major division within contentWrapper is an article tag with an id of mainContent. So let's collapse that, again put my cursor right after the close of the article tag there, and go to Collapse Full Tag and then the next division is on aside, again, let's collapse that, and there we see that that's all that's within contentWrapper. Okay, we're moving right along, looks like we have a footer here, let's collapse that one, and that finishes up the page.

So there's our page structure, body, header, contentWrapper, which contains article and aside followed by footer. Now let's do the same thing on our index page. I'll go over to index.php, I'm already in Live view, so I just have to go Live Code and then let's go to code view, and I'll scroll up to around where the tag is. So let me clear the selection just by clicking in and my cursor now is right after outerWrapper but again, because this wraps elements we don't want to collapse this one.

Let's go to the next element that it contains which is header, so I'll put my cursor right after the opening of the header tag and collapse that, and now we come to another wrapper, contentWrap and again we'll go to the next division after that. So this one is a div with the id of content, let's collapse that, and then we find another div with the class of widget-area, that's our sidebar, and let's collapse that and then there's the footer, let's collapse that. So now we have this structure which is body, outerWrapper, header, contentWrapper, the div that contains our sidebar, and then the footer.

And if we compare the two, we can see that they're basically the same thing except for an outerWrapper. The important thing is that the content is followed by the sidebar the same way for both. So we won't have to make any major structural changes, and that means we're ready to start working on the page elements themselves starting with the header.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts .

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Q: While trying to set up a Dreamweaver site, an error occurs that says Dreamweaver cannot resolve the dynamic files because the site definition is incorrect. What is causing this? This is using WAMP on a Windows 7 computer.
A: When setting up the site in Dreamweaver and creating a local testing server, make sure to point it to the folder in c:/wamp/www/ that is being used for the site. If using the same naming convention as shown in the videos, the server folder should be pointing to C:\wamp\www\explore_ca\ and the Web URL field should read http://localhost/explore_ca/, like the picture here:

Q: How do I set the password for WAMP Server 2?
A: The WAMP server does not include a password for MySQL when first installed. You’ll need to add a password by modifying a configuration text file and set up a password in the MySQL server.
Setting a password on the MySQL server:

  1. From the Start menu, enter CMD to open the command line interface.
  2. Switch to the bin directory of your MySQL folder, installed by WAMP. For version 5.1.36 of MySQL, for example, enter cd c:\wamp\bin\mysql\mysql5.1.36\bin
    Navigate within the WAMP folder installed on your system to find the proper path.
  3.  Enter the following: mysql -u root
  4. The command line for MySQL will open with a mysql prompt like this: mysql>
  5. Enter the following:
    SET PASSWORD for 'root'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('yourPassword');
    - replace 'yourPassword' with the password you want to use. 
  6. Close the CMD window.
Setting the password in the phpMyAdmin config file:
After you change the MySQL password you will have to edit the file. Here's how:
  1. In Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\wamp\apps\phpmyadmin3.2.0.1 (version number may vary). 
  2. Open the file in Dreamweaver or another text editor.
  3. Locate the following line:
    $cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] = '';
  4. Enter your password between the quotes; make sure the password is the same as the one you set in the MySQL server.
  5. Save the file.
  6. From the system tray icon for WAMP, choose Restart All Services.
  7. To test, choose phpMyAdmin from the WAMP system tray icon.

Q: After creating a template following the instructions in the Chapter 5 video “Creating a page template in Dreamweaver,” I am unable to select the template. In the video, the instructor’s page shows a heading of Template, with a dropdown menu, but my version shows only a dropdown labeled “Attributes,” and the newly created template does not appear. What is causing this issue?
A: This seems to be a bug in WordPress that occurs occasionally. Although a cause has yet to be determined, a possible workaround to get the Template option to appear is switch themes. Switching to the default theme and then back again to Explore_California should reveal the Template option.
Q: While following along with the instructions in the "Setting up a MySQL password for Windows," I encountered this error: MySQL said: "#1045 – Access denied for user ‘root’@’localhost’ (using password: NO)" What is causing this error?
A: This error occurs when trying to enter the MySQL monitor with a password for a user who has not set a password yet. In that case, removing the “-u root” part should resolve the problem.
Q: While following along to the chapter 2 movie "Using dynamically related files," I get an error message that reads: "Dynamically-related files could not be resolved because the site definition is not correct for this server." What is causing this error?
A: This is a known issue with Dreamweaver, and relates to the permalink settings in the WordPress installation. If the permalink setting is set to something other than the default, like “Month & Name,” for example, Dreamweaver is unable to resolve the dynamic files, and the described error will occur. Changing the permalink setting back to Default will clear the error.
Q: I am bit confused as to my need to use MAMP with a WordPress site in Dreamweaver. If I am going to use a separate commercial hosting site as my server, do I still need to use MAMP in my WordPress site?
A: MAMP is installed to provide an easy-to-use development server capable of handling MySQL and PHP on your local computer. It's also possible to set up MySQL and PHP servers separately, but it requires many more steps and is not as "user-friendly" as the described process. Your hosting server will have MySQL/PHP enabled on their servers for the remote live setup, but that doesn't have anything to do with developing and testing pages on your own computer.
Q: I can't find the file named commevents.php in the exercise files. I need it to set up an online database in the last chapter.
A: This is a file you create yourself when you first connect to a database. Refer to the "Adding WordPress dynamic data to pages" video in Chapter 7. commevents.php should appear in the Connections folder once you establish a connection.
Q:  In "Setting up a MySQL password for Windows", I'm getting the error "#1045 - Access denied for user 'root'@'localhost'" when testing the phpMyAdmin.

If I try and re-do the steps, I get the following error "ERROR 1044 (42000): Access denied for user ''@'localhost' to database mysql'" when I try to change the password.
A: This seems to be happening because of the combination of Windows 7 and a
new version of WampServer 2.1. Here's another approach that should work
for the new combination.

Follow these steps instead of the ones using the CMD prompt. (As a bonus, they're much easier!)
  1. Left-click on the WampServer icon tray.
  2. Choose phpMyAdmin.
  3. When the phpMyAdmin page opens in your browser, click the Privileges tab found after the Engines tab.
  4. Locate the line in the User table with "root - localhost - No..." (probably the last one).
  5. Click the Edit icon (the final item in the row).
  6. Scroll down to the Change Password section.
  7. Select Password and enter your password twice. (If you're following the exercises, enter root).
  8. Click Go in the lower-right corner.
Now follow the rest of the steps in "Setting up a MySQL password for Windows" video, starting at the 4:13 mark. This is where you use a text editor to make a change in the PHP file and restart all WampServer services when you're done.
Q:  I want to setup the practice files and site on my localhost, as described; however, I already have my current WordPress site (under development) running on my localhost. How do I run two WordPress sites on my localhost?
A:  You can easily do it by setting up another site in Dreamweaver. Just copy the WordPress files to that folder as described and establish a new database via phpMyAdmin. You can set up as many WordPress sites as you need to. The author has upwards of 80 on his system, all for different clients.
Q: This course was updated on 10/23/2012. What changed?
A: The course was thoroughly revised and uses the most current versions of both programs. We added chapters on responsive design and creating a custom administration panel in WordPress, new movies about concepts and taxonomies, and extended the Spry chapter to include jQuery, among other changes. New movies are indicated by the NEW tag next to the movie name.
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