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Joomla! 1.5: Styling with CSS
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Introducing the Firefox Web Developer toolbar


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Joomla! 1.5: Styling with CSS

with Jen Kramer

Video: Introducing the Firefox Web Developer toolbar

The Firefox Web Developer toolbar is a useful addition to your Firefox browser. You can see it here across the top of my screen. If you do a Google Search for a Firefox Web Developer toolbar, you will turn up a link to this application, which is free to download and install. We are going to use this Web Developer toolbar extensively throughout the course of this movie. It has got some great features that you will find very handy. For example, there is a View Source option up here in the right which will show you the HTML source for the web page.

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Joomla! 1.5: Styling with CSS
2h 29m Intermediate Jan 09, 2009

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Joomla! 1.5: Styling with CSS shows how those familiar with Joomla! and with hand-coded HTML and CSS can take the next step in creating a dynamic website with a unique look and feel. Jen Kramer McKibben goes deep into the functionality of this open-source content management system, exploring topics like putting more style into modules, editing CSS on the fly using the Firefox Web Developer toolbar, creating horizontal and vertical menu layouts, and including images in those menus. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Using the Firefox Web Developer toolbar
  • Styling Joomla! modules
  • Styling a multi-page article
  • Creating horizontal and vertical menus
  • Incorporating images in menus
  • Styling banner ads
Subjects:
Developer Web CMS Web Development
Software:
Joomla!
Author:
Jen Kramer

Introducing the Firefox Web Developer toolbar

The Firefox Web Developer toolbar is a useful addition to your Firefox browser. You can see it here across the top of my screen. If you do a Google Search for a Firefox Web Developer toolbar, you will turn up a link to this application, which is free to download and install. We are going to use this Web Developer toolbar extensively throughout the course of this movie. It has got some great features that you will find very handy. For example, there is a View Source option up here in the right which will show you the HTML source for the web page.

Notice that it is color coded, which makes it a little bit easier to read. There is an Outline tool that we use all the time when developing Joomla! websites. It does useful things such as outline all the block level elements, which would items such as divs, paragraphs, bulleted lists, etcetera. It also outlines positioned elements. We use a lot of floats in this particular site. Knowing where those floats are occurring is also pretty handy.

Finally, you can also outline your own elements by going to Outline Custom Elements. So for example, we could outline our own uls, lis and a's and this will be handy when we go to styling menu bars. Under Miscellaneous, there is a great ruler that can be very handy when measuring certain items on your web page. It measures both the width and the height of those items and you can move the box around on the page.

But the part that we are going to use the most is the CSS portion of the Firefox Web Developer toolbar, specifically the Edit CSS option. This will show you all of the CSS associated with this web page on the left side of the screen. This includes all external style sheets and any embedded styles that may occur. Although, it is rare to find embedded styles within Joomla!. The nice part here is that we can make changes and see their effects immediately. So, for example, these paragraphs have a nice line-height of about 1.5 ems. If I change that say to 0.75 ems, I can see that effect immediately right here in the web browser. As you are only editing your local copy of the style sheet, when you close this window with the red X any changes that you made will be bossed which can either be good or bad depending on your perspective.

The Firefox Web Developer toolbar is a great environment for developing your Joomla! site. You can use other applications such as Dreamweaver or any other program that will edit style sheets, but the advantage of the Firefox Web Developer toolbar is that you can see the effect of any of your changes immediately upon the site.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Joomla! 1.5: Styling with CSS.


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Q: I’m having trouble understanding the role of the Start Level/End Level function in developing a menu, as described in the  “Styling Menus Vertically” video.  What is the key to understanding this function?
A: The Start Level and End Level are the way a menu is segmented, to show all or part of that menu.

By default, the Start Level and End Level are set to 0. This means that the entire menu will show.

If you would like to have just the top level navigation show (perhaps for a top menu bar), but none of the secondary, tertiary, or deeper navigation, set Start Level to 0 and End Level to 1.

If you would like to have just the secondary navigation show (i.e. you're in the "about" portion of the site and you'd like to have the about secondary navigation show on the left side of the page), set the Start Level to 1 and the End Level to 2. If you'd like to show all of the navigation (secondary, tertiary, and any deeper navigation), set the Start Level to 1 and the End Level to 0 (i.e. infinite).

The only tricky part about setting the Start and End Levels is that zero means different things in different locations.

For the Start Level, zero means the very beginning of the navigation. Engineers start counting with zero, while we are normally taught to start counting with 1, so this may be the cause of some confusion.  This means that 1 actually corresponds to the second level, 2 to the third level, and so forth.

For the End Level, zero indicates "infinity", or however far out the navigation goes.
 
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