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Joomla! 1.5: Styling with CSS
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Styling the tertiary navigation


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Joomla! 1.5: Styling with CSS

with Jen Kramer

Video: Styling the tertiary navigation

As you saw in our previous video, we had styled our primary navigation and our secondary navigation. Now we just need to tweak up our tertiary navigation and we will be all set. Our secondary navigation has a white flag for where we are on the website, which is Hot Chocolate right now and that's working, but all of the tertiary pages are currently under that same white highlight. So what we would really like to have happen here is Hot Chocolate in white, followed by Caramel Truffle in white, with the Chocolate Chai and the Chipotle Chile links in that teal color.

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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

Styling the tertiary navigation

As you saw in our previous video, we had styled our primary navigation and our secondary navigation. Now we just need to tweak up our tertiary navigation and we will be all set. Our secondary navigation has a white flag for where we are on the website, which is Hot Chocolate right now and that's working, but all of the tertiary pages are currently under that same white highlight. So what we would really like to have happen here is Hot Chocolate in white, followed by Caramel Truffle in white, with the Chocolate Chai and the Chipotle Chile links in that teal color.

So what we are trying to get our final screen to look like is this. So let's take a look at the HTML that's controlling this menu. I am going to go to View Source and I am going to search for a Chocolate Chai, which will only appear once on this webpage. Ctrl+F or Command+F will get us the Find box at the bottom. Let's search for chocolate chai and that puts us correctly in the navigation bar. So let's take a look at all of the boxes that are surrounding our tertiary navigation. We start off with a div with an id of left, that's followed by a div with a class of moduletable_menu, that's followed by ul with a class of menu. Then a bit further on, we have this long call right here, this is an li with a class of parent active and item10 followed by a link, followed by a span. Then we close the span and we close the link but we do not close the li.

The li doesn't close until after the tertiary navigation is complete. That's why all of the links in this case are white. At this point, we have another ul and then we have an li that has an id of current and a class of active and a class of item14. There is several ways to solve this problem, such that only the active secondary navigation item and the active tertiary navigation item are white. I am going to show you one of those ways, given the HTML that we have to work with.

Let's close this window and let's edit our CSS. I am going to switch to the default tab and scroll down to the left module styles. After the initial left module styles, I am going to add some. So for our #left ul ul li, we put in two uls, so that we are talking about the tertiary nested navigation, not the initial navigation. Let's put in some padding. This gives us a little bit more padding on the left hand side and it tightens up our links nicely.

Now we need to adjust that active state. So once again, we have a ul li.active ul a:link. In other words, we have our first ul represented, the li with the class of active, followed by our second ul which is our tertiary navigation, and all links that are located within that tertiary navigation. I will repeat this for the visited. I am going to change the color to that same teal we used before, #2b666a. That makes all of our navigation teal.

Now I need to bring back the white navigation for the one active tertiary item. So, I am going to go #left ul li.active ul and then li.active again because the link that corresponds to the page that we are currently on, also has an active state assigned to it. The same thing again for the visited state. In this case, we want that to be white. Now we have exactly the links white that we wanted to make white.

Last step is to copy everything in to our Joomla! template. So once again, Ctrl or Command+A, Ctrl or Command+C to copy. Back to the backend of the website, Extensions > Template Manager, the inside template, Edit, Edit CSS, default.css, Edit, and now Ctrl or Command+A to select everything and Ctrl or Command+V to paste. Let's save and we will refresh our webpage. Now our links are much more nicely spaced and the color is looking great, exactly what we wanted.

If you are going to use this methodology of using your navigation as a "you are here" type of indicator, the links that indicate where a user currently is in the website, need to be very clear. Leading this website such that the secondary navigation and all tertiary navigation was white, would be very confusing to a user. So we had to clean that up, such that it's very clear where they are on the website. You don't have to use these active states on your Joomla! website but if your site is very large, this may be a helpful navigational aid.

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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