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Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
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Using absolute positioning


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Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

Video: Using absolute positioning

Absolute positioning, unlike relative positioning, removes the element from normal document flow. Other elements in the document that come after it move up as if the element doesn't exist. The positioned element is then placed precisely where you want it using a combination of left, top, right or bottom offset values. The trick is to know which point you're positioning it from. Absolutely positioned elements are moved in relation to the closest parent element that has a position attribute. If no such element exists, then the top parent element, which is usually the body tag, is used instead.
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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
      34s

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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
Subject:
Web
Software:
Dreamweaver
Author:
James Williamson

Using absolute positioning

Absolute positioning, unlike relative positioning, removes the element from normal document flow. Other elements in the document that come after it move up as if the element doesn't exist. The positioned element is then placed precisely where you want it using a combination of left, top, right or bottom offset values. The trick is to know which point you're positioning it from. Absolutely positioned elements are moved in relation to the closest parent element that has a position attribute. If no such element exists, then the top parent element, which is usually the body tag, is used instead.

This is why it's so common to have parent elements that merely have a positioned attribute of relative with no other offset values. Now that sounds pretty abstract until you actually see it in action. So we're going to go ahead and do an exercise here where we do absolute positioning and we understand the relationship that their parent elements have to the positioned element itself. So I have the index.htm file opened here and this is found in the 10_06 folder. Now we're getting a little bit closer to our Explore California layout.

This is for the most part all of the structural elements of our Explore California page. We have our header here in the top left-hand corner. It's encased within a div with an id of wrapper and then below that we have our mainContent, our mainNav, our sidebar and our footer and right now those elements are floated to achieve their layout look but for the header element we need everybody else to move up to occupy the space where the header is now, and then we're going to use the header and overlap our layout with it.

So, absolute positioning is a really good choice for doing that. So what we're going to do is go over to our CSS Styles panel and I might extend this a little bit so we can see a few more of these. I'm looking for this selector right here, the header and if you'd like you could go ahead and double-click that to open up the CSS Rule Definition dialog box. You could certainly add the properties manually in the panel as well. So I'm going to go over to my categories here and click on the Positioning category, and we're going to choose a position of absolute for this.

Now the offset that we're going to give it here are a little different than in some cases. We're going to go ahead and give it a left offset of 35 pixels. Now remember that should move it 35 pixels to the right because you're going to offset the left edge from the left -most edge of its parent element. But for the top value, here's where we're going to do something a little different. That's going to get a value of -25 pixels. Now a negative top value instead of pushing an element down the page will pull an element up the page.

So if you want to overlap something and move something up from another element, using negative offsets is a good way to do that. Now if I go ahead and click OK and do a Save All, we don't really see any change occurring except for the header just seems to disappear. Well Design View is not going to do a great job of showcasing to us what's going on here. So I'm going to switchover to Live View. Now in Live View, we can see that our header has moved over and up a little bit and then all the rest of the content on the page has moved up as well.

Now in order to really illustrate what's happening here, I need to be able to resize this. So what I'm going to do is preview this in my browser. So any browser should work here. I'm going to use Firefox and now we see maybe not quite the desired result that we were thinking. If I grab my browser and resize it, I can see that the remainder of the layout is kind of moving around with that. It's centered within the window so as I resize that layout all the mainContent, the sidebar, all those elements are moving along with it. But the header is staying fixed in that location.

Now the reason for that is exactly what we were talking about earlier. The header is going to go up to its parent element and it's going to ask, do you have a positioning attribute? If that value is no, it's just going to keep going up the document tree until somebody finally says yes. If nobody ever says yes, then it ends at the body tag and it says, "okay, you are my parent element." And so now what we're seeing is this header element offsetting itself 35 pixels from the left edge of the parent containing element and then it's actually going up a little bit. If we can see kind of behind this toolbar right here, the top of our header would be right here because it's going -25 pixels up.

Okay, that's not where we want it. We want it to occupy this space right here. The way to do that is to make sure that it's positioning itself relative to the wrapper div tag and not the body div tag. So how do we do that? Well pretty easy. We go right back to our CSS Styles, we find our #wrapper div tag, and then with our #wrapper div tag we give it a positioning attribute as well. But this time we give it a relative positioning attribute. Now if you remember from the Relative Positioning movie, this is going to keep the wrapper as part of the normal document flow.

Relatively positioned elements are not removed from normal document flow, so it shouldn't have any adverse effect on our layout at all. We're also not going to give it any type of an offset. So we're not going to give it any top values or left values or right values. We're just going to leave it alone. So what that in effect is going to do is everybody else will ignore that relative positioning but the header is going to say okay so you have a positioning attribute and it will now position itself relative to the #wrapper div tag. So I'm going to go ahead and click OK. Save the file and preview that in my browser again.

Now we can see the header is positioning itself just 25 pixels above the #wrapper div tag, which is butting up right up against the top of our browser window, and 35 pixels from the left of the #wrapper div tag itself. Resizing the browser window now means that that object goes right along with it. Now as we mentioned before absolute positioning removes it from normal document flow and everybody else moves up to occupy that space. You can see this with mainContent. mainContent is now moving up to the very top of the #wrapper div tag and butting up against the top right edge.

However, our mainNav and our sidebar aren't moving up underneath the header div tag like we would expect. Why not? Well it's a little bit of trickery there. What we've done is we're placed enough of a top margin on mainNav to push it this far down. So normally it would move up and under the header div tag, but in this case we have given ourselves enough top margin to give us the illusion of the fact that the header is pushing it down but in reality it's not. So absolute positioning is fairly straightforward. The upside to using it is that you can position elements with pixel level precision.

The downside is that the element is removed from normal flow so it no longer interacts with other elements. In fact, it will overlap other elements on the page, making it impossible to have a layout that relies heavily on absolute positioning unless every element will be a fixed width and height and never change. For most layouts absolute positioning is used as it is here, to position elements within their parent containers. It's also worth noting that you can change the stacking order of absolutely positioned elements by using the Z-index property.

The higher the index value, the higher the stacking order. So if you need to make sure an element is on top of other elements, you can simply give it a high Z-index value.

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 W3.org 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 http://html5doctor.com/the-figure-figcaption-elements/.
 
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