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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.
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.
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