Join James Williamson for an in-depth discussion in this video Using code hints , part of Dreamweaver CS6 Essential Training.
There's just no way to sugarcoat it. Writing code by hand can be tedious. Also, if you're just starting out in terms of learning a language, it can be really easy to forget the exact tag you're looking for or remember all the options that you have within a specific tag. That is why I love Dreamweaver's code hinting features. Code hinting helps you speed up writing your code and also gives you an idea of the tags and options available to you. So I want to demonstrate that by working in our Index file which you can find in the 05_03 folder. All right, I'm going to scroll down into my code and as if by magic, we have a little hole right there in our unordered list within the navigation.
I have to 'fess up. I did that so that we can show off some of the code hinting features. So the structure of these links, we have the text of the actual link itself which is surrounded by an a tag; a stands for anchor and what that has do with links, I don't know. But then we also have an href attribute that points to the page that we're linking to and a title that lets people know a little bit more about that link. That is in turn, surrounded by a list item tag, and remember, the list items are grouping all of these links in one unordered list to let user agents know that hey, these links all relate to each other.
Okay, so we want to finish the last link in the page which is going to go to the About Us page. And for me to do that I'm just going to start hand-coding and I'm going to start off by coding the list item. And I'm going to start off by opening up one of my angle brackets here and I notice that I get a full list of all of the HTML tags available to me and it's pulling that from the Tag library that we talked about in our last movie. Now if I scroll through this list, I don't even have to type again. I can select exactly the tag I'm looking for, hit Return, and it'll finish it for me. Now if you do want to type though, notice that if I type-in an l, it jumps down into the ls and if type-in an i, it jumps right down to list item.
Now at this point I could hit Return and you really wouldn't see much happening because this is a list item and it only has two letters. But if it was something really long like block quote, it would finish typing it out for me, which is nice. So I'm just going to hit Return or Enter and you can see my cursor is just sitting right there after the tag is finished. Now if I hit a Space, Dreamweaver assumes that I want an attribute for this tag and it gives me a list of all of the available attributes for the list item tag. Now in this case I don't need an attribute, so I'm just going to hit Backspace and then use my closing angle brackets there to close out my initial opening list item tag. Now I like building the structure of things out as I go, so instead of opening up my link here, I'm going to go ahead and close my list item out and I can do that very simply and easily by opening up another angle bracket and hitting the Forward Slash (/), and notice that it'll go ahead and complete the rest of the closing tag for me.
So that speeds up that process as well. Now in terms of how these closing tags are created, that's entirely up to you. If I go back to my Preferences really quickly, I can see that in the code hinting Preferences, I have some options about closing tags being completed. I like the default option, which is after typing in the start of the closing tag. But some people prefer this that the moment they finish typing their opening tag, go ahead and create the closing tag. Now I don't like that because it sort of leaves you here outside of the tag and now you've got to click back in it to keep writing. So I'm not a huge fan of that method, but it's all based on personal preference.
So you could try out both of them and see which method you like better. Now code hinting can do a lot more for us than just help us complete our tags. Notice for example that when we start doing our link, I'm going to click inside the list items and then I'm going to go ahead and start an anchor tag. As soon as we start our anchor tag, if I hit Space to start doing the attributes that I need here, again, I get a nice list of all the attributes of the link tag, and if I hit H, it's going to jump down to the list of hs and what I'm looking for is href. href points out to an external resource, which in this case is going to be the page.
Now you'll also notice something pretty interesting about the href attribute as compared to some of the other attributes. It has a nice little icon beside it that looks like a link and it's because it is. It's linking out to an external resource. Now that's more than just a visual cue as to what this does. That actually has some functionality to it. Let me show you what I mean. When I hit Return, what it's going to do for me is it's not only going to finish out the attribute, but it's also going to type-in the Equals sign (=) and it's going to place my cursor directly inside the Quotation Marks, meaning I could start typing the path to the page that I wanted to link to.
But what if I don't remember the path to the page? What if I know the page that I want, but I don't have the directory structure memorized or maybe it's a really long directory structure that I don't feel like typing out? Well, you'll notice that the code hinting tooltip hasn't entirely gone away. I've got this little Browse icon up there, and if I hit Return before I start typing, watch what it does. It says, oh, you want to link out to a page. Well, who do you want to link out to? So I'm going to browse into the about folder, find the about.htm, highlight that, click OK, and it's going to finish that out and resolve that path for me.
That's a huge timesaver. Now the next thing you need to do is do another space and then I'm going to title. So in this case, I'll just type-in ti, it'll get down to title. Once again, hitting Return finishes that attribute for me, places me within the Quotation Marks, and now I can just type -in About Us and there's my attribute. Now I'm going to finish my opening link tag, then I'm going to type-in the word About, and then again, using our code hinting I'll close the link tag. Now because I was explaining it there, it took a little bit of time to complete that.
But if you were just going through and using the code hinting features that I just showed you, you will very quickly and easily write the rest of this code without having to type out the whole line. It's all about saving time. Now there is a lot more that's involved in terms of what code hinting can do for you as well. Before we move on, I want to show off a little feature for you in CSS in terms of code hinting. So I'm going to save this page and switch over to the main.css. Now what I want to do is I want to scroll down to about Line 141. At Line 141, you'll find the class selector for the orange class.
so this is going to style any element that has the class of orange applied to it or the class attribute that equals orange. Currently right now, all it's doing is doing a text-transform, it's transforming all the text to uppercase and it's making the text bold. What I want to do is I want to set a color on it and I also want to give it a background graphic. Code hinting is going to help me do both of those things. So if I go to right here where there is a Semicolon (;) right after the property of font-weight equals bold, I'm going to hit Return, again, code hinting pops up automatically. So if you don't know CSS, now you have a list of all the properties that you can set for this, and if you have an idea in terms of what you're wanting to do, you can choose it from this list of properties.
Well, I want to set the color, so I'm just going to type-in co, it's going to jump down to color, and I'm going to hit Enter. Now at this point, you'll notice that again, one of the values here is color and it has this little Color Palette beside it. As soon as I begin typing something, for example, let's say I want to use RGB, as soon as I type-in rgb, I get this nice little Color Picker that comes up, which is really cool. So now visually, I can pick a color, I can even go into this option here to change the color formatting, whether I want to use rgba which is going to give me alpha transparency or just the rgb value itself.
I can change those preferences on the fly as I code which is really, really cool. So I could go ahead and choose an orange color here for this particular selector, then hit Semicolon (;) to close that out. And then if I want to do a background graphic, watch what happens here. I can go in and type backg, for background, hit Return or Enter, it's going to take me to my attributes. And if I just type-in a u, again, URL is going to come up. And just like we had in the HTML code hinting, URL has a little link icon beside it that tells me that this is clickable, and if I just hit Return, it's going to allow me to browse out for the image that I'm looking for.
So I can just go out, browse out to images, I'm going to go down until I find this sort of diagonal pattern right here, click OK, and then type-in the Semicolon (;) to save that. So if I save my file and preview this in the Browser, you can see the work that we've done, our about link is now up there, and notice this text that has the orange class applied to it not only is orange which is what we're going for, but has that diagonal background pattern to it as well. And writing the code for that was made a lot easier through the use of code hinting. So it doesn't matter whether you're writing HTML or CSS, there's simply not a good reason not to take advantage of code hints.
They just make you more productive.
- Choosing and customizing a workspace
- Defining a new site
- Uploading files to your site
- Creating new documents and web pages
- Formatting source code
- Working with CSS
- Placing images and background graphics
- Creating links
- Styling a basic table
- Creating a web form with buttons, check boxes, and list menus
- Adding Spry effects