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In Preparing CMS Web Graphics and Layouts Using Open-Source Tools, Jen Kramer shows how developers and graphic designers can collaborate to create a great site design that integrates with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla!, all using open-source software. This workflow is based on two existing open-source design tools, KompoZer and GIMP. Jen shows how to modify web graphics and create slices with GIMP, and then place these in an HTML page integrated with CSS in KompoZer. Along the way, she discusses web design best practices and special challenges that might arise when designing for CMS software. Exercise files are included with this course.
Here is the homepage that our client has approved for the Hansel & Petal events website. It might look familiar to you, because you might have seen it in the CMS Website Strategy and Planning videos, another title that's available to you here on lynda.com. As you see, we've included a number of design elements here. There's a navigation bar going across the top. We can subscribe to a newsletter on the left-hand side, and there is a little callout image under that. That callout image, depending on your content management system and what options you have available to you, that might be one of those fade in/fade out slideshow things, rotating a bunch of different callouts.
Or it could be random image, where every time you go to different page perhaps a different graphic loads in that position, but just one every time you go to each page. There is a space at the bottom of the page for the most recent blog post. And a photo from the photo gallery. Again, the exact technologies that will drive these things will depend on which content management system you ultimately use to build your website. So that's the way the homepage is going to look for this website. Let's take a look at the inside pages. Here is the inside page of the website, and this looks rather different.
Remember that this is a content management system page, and our clients are going to be plugging in all kinds of different content on this page. So we don't want to get too specific about how the content looks for any particular page. So this comp is really more for my benefit. In that you can see the way the Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3s are styled. Remember those were the H1, H2 and H3 tags from HTML. We can also see the various states of the links. There is a blue underlined link and a green underlined link, and a blue link with no underline.
The graphic designers have already explained these to me, and they told me that the blue underlined link is the unvisited state of the link. If you are going to use blue as a link color, it's really preferred to use that as the unvisited link state. Since by default in your web browser links are blue and underlined. If you try to use that as your visited link state, you might wind up confusing some visitors. The green underlined link is going to be a visited link there in the content, and finally the blue not underlined link is going to be what happens on hover.
So as you hover your mouse over a link the underline will go away. When putting links in your content like this, it's best to underline them, so that there is more than one visual cue identifying your link within the content. However, on hover it's fine to turn off that underline. Again, it gives a little sense of interactivity. So let's think about how we are going to slice up this particular comp. First of all obviously the logo here at the top is going to be a big graphic.
We can either slice that graphic small, so that we just have a tiny little area confined to the logo itself, or we could slice it going all the way across the page. And I am going to go slice it a little bit bigger, because all of the solid blue color is not going to add that much to the file size, and it'll also help to establish the width of the site overall. Notice that on the left and right hand sides we have gradient. This is going from a light brown down to a very dark brown.
So what we are going to do is we'll wind up making a slice down the side of the page here, and then tiling that horizontally across the page, and we'll make the body background have a very dark brown color. I am going to go through all of that in great detail in a coming video. We'll also wind up making a graphic down here in the footer. We'll probably cut a slice across the bottom here, which will have the flowers at the bottom, and we can put the text on top of that background image.
As for the text for the copyright statement, the text for these links at the bottom, the text in the center of the page, all of that is going to come from the database of the website and it's all going to be HTML driven. Finally, the newsletter box over here on the left-hand side demonstrates how to style some of the little boxes that come with your content management system. In Joomla! those boxes are usually called modules, in WordPress those boxes are called widgets, and I believe they're called nodes in Drupal.
Knowing how those boxes are supposed to be styled will help inform any additional boxes that might come up on other pages of the design. So for example, if we have a poll on another page, it should probably be in that same type of box, or the secondary navigation should be in that same type of box there on the left-hand side. So now that we have sense of how we're going to create the individual graphics for our webpage, let's go ahead and start slicing. We are going to use a tool called GIMP, which is an open source image processing tool that you can download.
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