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Covering diverse topics such as improving workflow and managing CSS styles, Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics is a hands-on course that teaches users how to move beyond standard, static websites. Instructor James Williamson explores how to increase productivity, interactivity, and accessibility with Dreamweaver. He also discusses how to extend the application's capabilities with XML and XSL. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.
Managing complex CSS layouts in Dreamweaver can sometimes be a bit of challenge. Although Dreamweaver's styling rendering engine does a pretty good job in most instances, it's not always going to give you an accurate preview of what your page is going to look like and in some cases it will actually display elements improperly, making them very difficult if not impossible to select and edit. So it's not uncommon to have specific elements on a page hidden through your CSS as well. And that forces you to either switch to Code View, or turn your rendering off altogether when editing them. So in this movie we are going to explore using Dreamweaver's design-time style sheets.
Design-time style sheets let you display one style sheet in design view and usually it's a simplified version, while using another sheet or sheets for the actual rendering. So of course we're in Dreamweaver. I am going to go over to my Files panel and from the site that we defined, if you're following along with me, you will go want to open up index.htm from the Chapter_02 folder and I am looking at the index file and there are few things going on here. The navigation you can see isn't rendering quite properly, although in the browser it renders just fine. But relatively and mostly I can see and select anything that I need to edit on my page. So there is nothing here really going crazy.
However I am going to bring up another toolbar, one that you might not be familiar with. So if you go up to your document toolbar, and that's the one just above the page itself that contains the Code and the Split Screen view buttons. If you go up to that one, just go in and right click, and of course on a Mac you will want to Ctrl+Click and from the menu that comes up, you want to choose your Style Rendering toolbar. Now there are other ways to get that. You could go up to View, and go down to Toolbars, and you will see it there as well. Now that brings up the Style Rendering toolbar and the Style Rendering toolbar can take up of lot of screen real estate. So you might not always want to have it up when you are dealing with a lower screen resolution. The thing I love about it, however, is this little sort of Ying and Yang symbol right here.
When I click that, it's actually turns off all Style Rendering. And we get to the page and it's just unstyled XHTML. Notice that at the top of the page we have a Heading1 and it says "Welcome to Cheek Chastain Gallery." Well, if I turn Style Rendering back on again, there is not such heading on my page. That heading is placed there for screen readers or accessibility or other devices that might be consuming our content that might not be able to see the background graphic that says Cheek Chastain Gallery. So it's just kind of an indicator as to where we are. Now the Style Rendering toolbar is actually a lot more powerful than just being able to turn your styles on and off.
You can actually, if you have multiple media style sheets, you'll notice right over here at the left hand side of the Style Rendering toolbar we have the Render Print Media Type, Render Handheld, and Projection, Tele Type, Television. So if you have got multiple media style sheets, you can click on that icon and it will show you in Design view how that would render out. So it's a really, really cool tool. Okay, well, another icon right over here on the right hand side is the design-time style sheets. Now you can get this in other places in Dreamweaver as well. So if you don't have this up, you can go over to your CSS Styles panel, go to the CSS Styles menu and turn on design-time style sheets there.
So I am going to go and click on that and that brings up a dialog box, it says, OK, here are your design-time style sheets. Now what do you want use? And we have got two dialog boxes here, which say which style sheets do you want show only at design-time and which style sheets do you want to hide at design-time? So if you have got multiple style sheets, you could actually just turn off a few of them. You don't necessarily even have to say show only at design-time you could sort of hide a few of them in design-time. So I am going to click the plus button for Show At Design-Time, and in our Chapter 2 CSS exercise files in the starting file, there is a CSS directory and inside that there is the main_designTime.css style sheet. So you select that one and click Choose. Now I also want to choose something to hide at design-time, because what it would do right now is just sort of show all of them. It will sort of bring all these rules together and it can create sort of a mishmash. So I want to choose Hide At Design-Time, and I know that it's the base.css that's being applied to our page, so I am going to choose that one to hide at design-time.
Now this doesn't mean that I am turning one style sheet off for my document and turning another one on. This is only for design view and only at design-time. When I preview this, when I upload it, when I render it in a browser, the proper style sheet will render. So when I click OK, you can see my page changes entirely and what I have done with this style sheet is we have just taken this different areas of content and given them different background colors and then changed the color of our various headings, so that they are easy to find in terms of what type of heading it is. You can see here we have a Heading1 and that one has red color to it and up here we have Heading2 and it has sort of that orangish color to it. So what this is for is more for just sort of debugging and editing more then anything else. Where is specific content, what container is it in, was this a Heading1, was this is Heading2, and it's displaying all the elements in our file. Notice the "Welcome to Cheek Chastain Gallery" is showing up. I have also turned all the background graphics off, so we are not seeing any of the background graphics. So now that we have defined the design-time style sheet, we will go ahead and render this in my browser. So I am just going to render and preview this in Firefox, and you can preview it in whatever browser you'd like. And you can see that it's rendering using our actual base.css rather than the design-time style sheet, so we are seeing what the final rendering is looking like rather than what we are actually doing in design-time. So if I close that Firefox and go back in Dreamweaver, notice that your CSS Styles panel actually has all of your main design-time styles right there, and it has the base.css as hidden. So if you want to make any edits or changes or updates to that, you would either have to revert back off the design-time style sheets or open up that as a separate document.
So although it's not something you are going to want to use all the time, having the ability to use design-time style sheets can make editing complex documents easier and more efficient when used properly.
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