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Updating the page structure and the background

From: Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts

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.

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.

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This video is part of

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Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts

55 video lessons · 52330 viewers

Joseph Lowery

Expand all | Collapse all
  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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