Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Working with repeating regions


Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training

with James Williamson

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Video: Working with repeating regions

The most successful templates are the ones that take full advantage of page structure. It's very common to have a several items on a page that are basically the same structure, just repeating over and over again. Product descriptions and thumbnails are good examples of this. Instead of having to continually build the same structure manually, you can just create repeating regions within your templates to speed up that process considerably. So here I have the tour_detail.dwt. Now if I scroll down I can see the complex structure that we are going to need for each of the tour packages that are going to be displayed with the tours.
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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

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Watch the Online Video Course 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
James Williamson

Working with repeating regions

The most successful templates are the ones that take full advantage of page structure. It's very common to have a several items on a page that are basically the same structure, just repeating over and over again. Product descriptions and thumbnails are good examples of this. Instead of having to continually build the same structure manually, you can just create repeating regions within your templates to speed up that process considerably. So here I have the tour_detail.dwt. Now if I scroll down I can see the complex structure that we are going to need for each of the tour packages that are going to be displayed with the tours.

In this case, we have the headline, we have the price and the number of days, we have a tour description, a map showing where the tour is, tour options and ratings and a couple of links for people to click to learn more about the tour or to book the tour again. Now some tour packages may have four tour, some may have five, some may have nine and so because of this we don't really want to have to manually create the structure over and over and over again, so this tour package description is a perfect candidate for a repeating region. So the first step in creating a repeat region is to identify the structure that needs to repeat. And if I click anywhere inside the tour description, I can see that it is surrounded with a parent div tag.

That div tag has the class tour description. So if you click inside any element, say that paragraph right in the middle for example, you can click on that div tag and you'll notice that it selects the entire thing. Now this is a really important tip in terms of structuring these repeating regions. You want to make sure they're encased in either a paragraph or a div tag or some type of a block level element that's going to make it easy to repeat these over and over and over again. If these are just loosely constructed with headlines and paragraphs and images, we can repeat them over and over again, but we'd have to be very careful as to how we select them.

Using something like a div tag to encase them and then giving that div tag a class that helps not only with the styling but with the identification of the content is a really important organizational step in creating repeating regions. So with that div tag selected, we want to go up to Insert > Template Objects > Repeating Region. We're going to be prompted to name our region and we're going to go ahead and name this repeating region tourDetail. I am going to go ahead and click OK and our repeating region is added to the page.

Now a couple of changes have just happened to our template as well. Before we start scrolling around and deselecting anything, I wanted to deal with one of the most important changes right off the bat. You'll notice that I have the contents inside the div tag still selected. This is really important. If you've clicked off of it, simply click back inside the paragraph and click on the div tag again to select all of the contents inside this repeating region. Essentially, repeating regions by default are not editable. So you can repeat this content as often as you want at any page based of this template but you wouldn't be able to change them.

So the first thing we need to do here is to insert another editable region within the repeating region. The easiest way to do that is just leave it selected because now we can go right up to Insert > Template Objects > Editable Region. Now in this case, I want to name this editable region tourSpecific. I am going to go ahead and click OK and you could see that now the tourSpecific editable region is sitting inside, that tour detail region. Okay perfect. Well I mention that, there was another big change to our template page as well and if we scroll up we can see that.

The mainContent region and it has a totally different highlight color. This highlight color indicates a nested region within our template. Nested regions are also locked by default. So if you recreate a repeating region, you can do a lot of damage to existing editable regions on the page. We still need to edit Tour Name and the body copy for the tour, so I am going to go ahead and highlight both of those lines of copy and with both of them highlighted, I am going to go up to Insert > Template Objects > Editable Region and we are going to go ahead and type in tourDescription for this region.

So editable regions can really help your templates become a lot more flexible and help you build complex structures quickly. However, you should be aware of the fact that some content that used to be editable might not be any more. So you want to double check your page, make sure you still have editable regions where you need, and if you don't just go ahead and insert them again. So go ahead and save this and now we're ready to go ahead and build templates off of this page. Now if you are working along with me and you're in the 13_08 folder you're going to get this message, Update Template Files.

Well we have finished files that's part of this chapter and in the finished files we already have the page that we are about to build next. Now we don't want to update that page, so just say Don't Update. We're going to talk later on in our next movie about updating templates. So for right now we're just going to skip that step. We can now close this template and we want to build a brand-new page based off of it. So go to File, choose New. Now when we go into Explore California site, we see our two templates there. We have our main_template and our tour_detail.

Notice how easy it is to choose between the two of those visually. Main_template has a very basic structure. While tour_detail provides us considerable more starting structure to that page. So we want to choose tour_detail, Update page when template changes, and go ahead and Create. Now I am going to go ahead and save this page. It's typically the first thing I do when I create a new page based off of a template. That way any links that I create or any images I place in the page will be able to be resolved pretty simply. I am going to go ahead in the 13_08 directory, find the tours sub-directory and open that up.

We are going to call this page tour_detail_backpack.htm. I am going to go ahead and click Save to save the file. Now I am going to go up o my breadcrumbs and I need to add a breadcrumb here. So I am going to click right after All Tours, hit space, and I need to add another character to this. Now sometimes special characters can be hard to remember exactly what their encoding is and so because of this, Dreamweaver gives us up here in our Insert panel a Text tab.

In the Text tab we have a lot of special characters that we can add simply by grabbing a pulldown menu or if you don't see the one you are looking for here, you can go to Other Characters. So here we need this double right angle bracket character, the one looks like two arrows are going to the right. I am going to click that and I see that I get these special character encoding for that there. I click OK and it adds it for me. Lovely and then right after that I am going to go ahead and type in Backpack cal. Now just to save us a little bit of time, I am going to go over to the tours folder and I am going to open up this tour_detail_backpack_reference file. I can open that up and then here I am just going to copy this body copy, 'want to chance to get away from at all,' and I am just going to scroll down and get all that body copy, copy that and paste it right there.

So copying and pasting, nothing wrong with that. And of course we are going to change Tour Name to Backpack Cal. Now we need to go ahead and add our repeating regions. So I am going to scroll down towards the bottom of the page and I can see where we have our repeating regions down here. Now the Backpack Cal tour has five packages. We have one on the page already, so I am just going to hit this plus symbol once, yup. and you have to scroll back down, twice, three times and finally four times. It's unfortunate it just doesn't stay right there but you do move backup the page, so you do have to scroll back down.

It's a little bit of a pain but it's certainly better than making those by hand. Now what about the content for these guys, because right now they are all exactly the same? Well we have got another file that can help us with that. I am going to go over to my Files panel open the Assets folder and I am going to open Big_sur.txt and here we have all of our tours. Now a lot of times your CSS, as helpful as it can be, kind of get in the way. Notice for example that if I try to highlight this 3 days 750, it's really hard to highlight, and that's because of what we are doing with the CSS there.

So what I am going to do is go up to my document toolbar, right-click and choose Style Rendering. It's going to bring out my Style Rendering toolbar. Now on the Mac it's going to dock here with the document toolbar. On the PC it's going to be wherever you had it last. I am going to go ahead and turn off all style rendering, which is this little icon right here that look like some stairs, and we are just going to get a default rendering, which means it's going to be really easy to select all of these different pieces. Okay, while it's really crucial to go ahead and keep these organized, Big Sur Retreat is not going to change. So I am going to scroll down to the second one and then flip back over to my text file.

On my text file, I am going to scroll down, find my retreats, and the second one is Channel Island Excursion, so I am just going to start copying and pasting. So I am going to copy the title, and then paste that, go back to the text, copy the days and the price, paste that, copy the body copy, paste that, and I'll be sure not to replace the image and be sure not to replace the options down here until its time. And then the Rating, I am going to copy that and paste it right there, replacing the option on everything else.

That tour detail I don't need that open anymore, so I am going to close that so that I can switch back and forth between these guys. Okay, so again a little bit more manual labor but certainly better than having to built the structure ourselves every single time. I am going to copy and paste each headline. Now you want to be very careful when you are selecting these. Occasionally, you are going to paste it and you are going to lose your heading. Just the way that this is formatted, so you want to be very careful about that. If it happens just undo it, carefully select the text and do it again. So you always want to go a little slow at first and then make sure you are getting this just right and you don't have too much selected.

So I am going to copy that and paste it, and there is our third one done. I've got two more to do. At least I didn't pick a tour that had 9 trips, right? Select that, copy it, paste it, copy that and paste it. I am also fond of saying that this type of work is why it's always good to have interns. So if you're in a situation where you can have interns in your office, this is fantastic experience for interns and it's good for you to have them as well.

So there is our last one. We'll paste that. Oops, see that happened to me. So you have to be really careful if that happens. No big deal. Just undo it, paste it again and you will be good. You just want to make sure you are not replacing the tag as well and with the headline it's sometimes easy to do that. There is my last body copy. We'll paste that in and finally we'll replace the difficulty. Now as soon as I have got all of this text placed in here, there is no reason for my styles to still be turned off.

So I am going to back to my Style Rendering toolbar, toggle my styles back on, and I am going to close this. Now we are almost done, but you'll notice that all of the maps are still pointing to Big Sur. So what I am going to do now is go down to each one of these maps, go to my Files panel, and open my images. If I scroll down through my images, I can see that I have a whole section of maps here. So I am going to select the Channel map for example and using the Point to File icon down here in the Properties Inspector, I can just grab that and point to say the map of the Channel Islands.

That's a very quick and easy way to change your images when you need to swap them out. I'll do the same thing here. I'll highlight my image and for The Death Valley one, I'll just point to map_valley. For the John Muir one, I'll go ahead and point to the map of Yosemite and finally for Mt Whitney I'll go ahead and point to map of Whitney. Now we also need to go ahead and change the book now link and the learn more links so they'll to be contextually sensitive to the tour we are doing, but I think you guys have the idea of going and using the repeating region and then adjusting the structure within each one of those elements to be what you need it to be.

Go ahead and save the file, and then we go. We've used our nested template to build a page and then the structure it provided us really saved us a lot of time compared to trying to build that all manually. We were also able to take advantage of our repeating regions to quickly display the tour packages for this specific tour. Taking full advantage of Dreamweaver templates by using such features as nested templates, repeating regions, and optional regions will always require a lot of planning before you start constructing your templates.

But as you can see it's really worth the effort.

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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