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Extended left sidebar color with Dreamweaver CS5 and css

Posted on 2011-09-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have read several posts about using background images in CSS to get the background color of the left sidebar to extend to the bottom of the main content in the standard Dreamweaver 2 column template:

And for this website, my left sidebar will ALWAYS be shorter than my content, so I was thinking that I could simply do what Adobe suggests:

By nature, the background color on any div will only show for the length of the content. This means if you're using a background color or border to create the look of a side column, it won't extend all the way to the footer but will stop when the content ends. If the .content div will always contain more content, you can place a border on the .content div to divide it from the column.

But my left sidebar color still doesn't seem to go all the way to the footer.  Can someone show me what the style "content" should be so that the sidebar color extends to the footer as explained on the Dreamweaver template text ?

Thanks very much.
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<title>Untitled Document</title>
<style type="text/css">
<!--
body {
	font: 100%/1.4 Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
	background: #42413C;
	margin: 0;
	padding: 0;
	color: #000;
}

/* ~~ Element/tag selectors ~~ */
ul, ol, dl { /* Due to variations between browsers, it's best practices to zero padding and margin on lists. For consistency, you can either specify the amounts you want here, or on the list items (LI, DT, DD) they contain. Remember that what you do here will cascade to the .nav list unless you write a more specific selector. */
	padding: 0;
	margin: 0;
}
h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p {
	margin-top: 0;	 /* removing the top margin gets around an issue where margins can escape from their containing div. The remaining bottom margin will hold it away from any elements that follow. */
	padding-right: 15px;
	padding-left: 15px; /* adding the padding to the sides of the elements within the divs, instead of the divs themselves, gets rid of any box model math. A nested div with side padding can also be used as an alternate method. */
}
a img { /* this selector removes the default blue border displayed in some browsers around an image when it is surrounded by a link */
	border: none;
}

/* ~~ Styling for your site's links must remain in this order - including the group of selectors that create the hover effect. ~~ */
a:link {
	color: #42413C;
	text-decoration: underline; /* unless you style your links to look extremely unique, it's best to provide underlines for quick visual identification */
}
a:visited {
	color: #6E6C64;
	text-decoration: underline;
}
a:hover, a:active, a:focus { /* this group of selectors will give a keyboard navigator the same hover experience as the person using a mouse. */
	text-decoration: none;
}

/* ~~this fixed width container surrounds the other divs~~ */
.container {
	width: 960px;
	background: #FFF;
	margin: 0 auto; /* the auto value on the sides, coupled with the width, centers the layout */
}

/* ~~ the header is not given a width. It will extend the full width of your layout. It contains an image placeholder that should be replaced with your own linked logo ~~ */
.header {
	background: #ADB96E;
}

/* ~~ These are the columns for the layout. ~~ 

1) Padding is only placed on the top and/or bottom of the divs. The elements within these divs have padding on their sides. This saves you from any "box model math". Keep in mind, if you add any side padding or border to the div itself, it will be added to the width you define to create the *total* width. You may also choose to remove the padding on the element in the div and place a second div within it with no width and the padding necessary for your design. You may also choose to remove the padding on the element in the div and place a second div within it with no width and the padding necessary for your design.

2) No margin has been given to the columns since they are all floated. If you must add margin, avoid placing it on the side you're floating toward (for example: a right margin on a div set to float right). Many times, padding can be used instead. For divs where this rule must be broken, you should add a "display:inline" declaration to the div's rule to tame a bug where some versions of Internet Explorer double the margin.

3) Since classes can be used multiple times in a document (and an element can also have multiple classes applied), the columns have been assigned class names instead of IDs. For example, two sidebar divs could be stacked if necessary. These can very easily be changed to IDs if that's your preference, as long as you'll only be using them once per document.

4) If you prefer your nav on the right instead of the left, simply float these columns the opposite direction (all right instead of all left) and they'll render in reverse order. There's no need to move the divs around in the HTML source.

*/
.sidebar1 {
	float: left;
	width: 180px;
	background: #EADCAE;
	padding-bottom: 10px;
}
.content {

	padding: 10px 0;
	width: 780px;
	float: left;
}

/* ~~ This grouped selector gives the lists in the .content area space ~~ */
.content ul, .content ol { 
	padding: 0 15px 15px 40px; /* this padding mirrors the right padding in the headings and paragraph rule above. Padding was placed on the bottom for space between other elements on the lists and on the left to create the indention. These may be adjusted as you wish. */
}

/* ~~ The navigation list styles (can be removed if you choose to use a premade flyout menu like Spry) ~~ */
ul.nav {
	list-style: none; /* this removes the list marker */
	border-top: 1px solid #666; /* this creates the top border for the links - all others are placed using a bottom border on the LI */
	margin-bottom: 15px; /* this creates the space between the navigation on the content below */
}
ul.nav li {
	border-bottom: 1px solid #666; /* this creates the button separation */
}
ul.nav a, ul.nav a:visited { /* grouping these selectors makes sure that your links retain their button look even after being visited */
	padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px;
	display: block; /* this gives the link block properties causing it to fill the whole LI containing it. This causes the entire area to react to a mouse click. */
	width: 160px;  /*this width makes the entire button clickable for IE6. If you don't need to support IE6, it can be removed. Calculate the proper width by subtracting the padding on this link from the width of your sidebar container. */
	text-decoration: none;
	background: #C6D580;
}
ul.nav a:hover, ul.nav a:active, ul.nav a:focus { /* this changes the background and text color for both mouse and keyboard navigators */
	background: #ADB96E;
	color: #FFF;
}

/* ~~ The footer ~~ */
.footer {
	padding: 10px 0;
	background: #CCC49F;
	position: relative;/* this gives IE6 hasLayout to properly clear */
	clear: both; /* this clear property forces the .container to understand where the columns end and contain them */
}

/* ~~ miscellaneous float/clear classes ~~ */
.fltrt {  /* this class can be used to float an element right in your page. The floated element must precede the element it should be next to on the page. */
	float: right;
	margin-left: 8px;
}
.fltlft { /* this class can be used to float an element left in your page. The floated element must precede the element it should be next to on the page. */
	float: left;
	margin-right: 8px;
}
.clearfloat { /* this class can be placed on a <br /> or empty div as the final element following the last floated div (within the #container) if the #footer is removed or taken out of the #container */
	clear:both;
	height:0;
	font-size: 1px;
	line-height: 0px;
}
-->
</style></head>

<body>

<div class="container">
  <div class="header"><a href="#"><img src="" alt="Insert Logo Here" name="Insert_logo" width="180" height="90" id="Insert_logo" style="background: #C6D580; display:block;" /></a> 
    <!-- end .header --></div>
  <div class="sidebar1">
    <ul class="nav">
      <li><a href="#">Link one</a></li>
      <li><a href="#">Link two</a></li>
      <li><a href="#">Link three</a></li>
      <li><a href="#">Link four</a></li>
    </ul>
    <p> The above links demonstrate a basic navigational structure using an unordered list styled with CSS. Use this as a starting point and modify the properties to produce your own unique look. If you require flyout menus, create your own using a Spry menu, a menu widget from Adobe's Exchange or a variety of other javascript or CSS solutions.</p>
    <p>If you would like the navigation along the top, simply move the ul.nav to the top of the page and recreate the styling.</p>
    <!-- end .sidebar1 --></div>
  <div class="content">
    <h1>Instructions</h1>
    <p>Be aware that the CSS for these layouts is heavily commented. If you do most of your work in Design view, have a peek at the code to get tips on working with the CSS for the fixed layouts. You can remove these comments before you launch your site. To learn more about the techniques used in these CSS Layouts, read this article at Adobe's Developer Center - <a href="http://www.adobe.com/go/adc_css_layouts">http://www.adobe.com/go/adc_css_layouts</a>.</p>
    <h2>Clearing Method</h2>
    <p>Because all the columns are floated, this layout uses a clear:both declaration in the .footer rule.  This clearing technique forces the .container to understand where the columns end in order to show any borders or background colors you place on the .container. If your design requires you to remove the .footer from the .container, you'll need to use a different clearing method. The most reliable will be to add a &lt;br class=&quot;clearfloat&quot; /&gt; or &lt;div  class=&quot;clearfloat&quot;&gt;&lt;/div&gt; after your final floated column (but before the .container closes). This will have the same clearing effect.</p>
    <h3>Logo Replacement</h3>
    <p>An image placeholder was used in this layout in the .header where you'll likely want to place  a logo. It is recommended that you remove the placeholder and replace it with your own linked logo. </p>
    <p> Be aware that if you use the Property inspector to navigate to your logo image using the SRC field (instead of removing and replacing the placeholder), you should remove the inline background and display properties. These inline styles are only used to make the logo placeholder show up in browsers for demonstration purposes. </p>
    <p>To remove the inline styles, make sure your CSS Styles panel is set to Current. Select the image, and in the Properties pane of the CSS Styles panel, right click and delete the display and background properties. (Of course, you can always go directly into the code and delete the inline styles from the image or placeholder there.)</p>
    <h4>Backgrounds</h4>
    <p>By nature, the background color on any div will only show for the length of the content. This means if you're using a background color or border to create the look of a side column, it won't extend all the way to the footer but will stop when the content ends. If the .content div will always contain more content, you can place a border on the .content div to divide it from the column.</p>
    <!-- end .content --></div>
  <div class="footer">
    <p>This .footer contains the declaration position:relative; to give Internet Explorer 6 hasLayout for the .footer and cause it to clear correctly. If you're not required to support IE6, you may remove it.</p>
    <!-- end .footer --></div>
  <!-- end .container --></div>
</body>
</html>

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Question by:Kevin
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LVL 30

Accepted Solution

by:
LZ1 earned 350 total points
ID: 36498153
I believe this is how they're doing it:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<title>Untitled Document</title>
<style type="text/css">
<!--
body {
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #42413C;
    color: #000000;
    font: 100%/1.4 Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
}
ul, ol, dl {
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
}
h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p {
    margin-top: 0;
    padding-left: 15px;
    padding-right: 15px;
}
a img {
    border: medium none;
}
a:link {
    color: #42413C;
    text-decoration: underline;
}
a:visited {
    color: #6E6C64;
    text-decoration: underline;
}
a:hover, a:active, a:focus {
    text-decoration: none;
}
.container {
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #EADCAE;
    margin: 0 auto;
    width: 960px;
}
.header {
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #ADB96E;
}
.sidebar1 {
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #EADCAE;
    float: left;
    padding-bottom: 10px;
    width: 180px;
}
.content {
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #FFFFFF;
    float: left;
    padding: 10px 0;
    width: 780px;
}
.content ul, .content ol {
    padding: 0 15px 15px 40px;
}
ul.nav {
    border-top: 1px solid #666666;
    list-style: none outside none;
    margin-bottom: 15px;
}
ul.nav li {
    border-bottom: 1px solid #666666;
}
ul.nav a, ul.nav a:visited {
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #C6D580;
    display: block;
    padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px;
    text-decoration: none;
    width: 160px;
}
ul.nav a:hover, ul.nav a:active, ul.nav a:focus {
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #ADB96E;
    color: #FFFFFF;
}
.footer {
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #CCC49F;
    clear: both;
    padding: 10px 0;
    position: relative;
}
.fltrt {
    float: right;
    margin-left: 8px;
}
.fltlft {
    float: left;
    margin-right: 8px;
}
.clearfloat {
    clear: both;
    font-size: 1px;
    height: 0;
    line-height: 0;
}

</style></head>

<body>

<div class="container">
  <div class="header"><a href="#"><img src="" alt="Insert Logo Here" name="Insert_logo" width="180" height="90" id="Insert_logo" style="background: #C6D580; display:block;" /></a> 
    <!-- end .header --></div>
  <div class="sidebar1">
    <ul class="nav">
      <li><a href="#">Link one</a></li>
      <li><a href="#">Link two</a></li>
      <li><a href="#">Link three</a></li>
      <li><a href="#">Link four</a></li>
    </ul>
    <p> The above links demonstrate a basic navigational structure using an unordered list styled with CSS. Use this as a starting point and modify the properties to produce your own unique look. If you require flyout menus, create your own using a Spry menu, a menu widget from Adobe's Exchange or a variety of other javascript or CSS solutions.</p>
    <p>If you would like the navigation along the top, simply move the ul.nav to the top of the page and recreate the styling.</p>
    <!-- end .sidebar1 --></div>
  <div class="content">
    <h1>Instructions</h1>
    <p>Be aware that the CSS for these layouts is heavily commented. If you do most of your work in Design view, have a peek at the code to get tips on working with the CSS for the fixed layouts. You can remove these comments before you launch your site. To learn more about the techniques used in these CSS Layouts, read this article at Adobe's Developer Center - <a href="http://www.adobe.com/go/adc_css_layouts">http://www.adobe.com/go/adc_css_layouts</a>.</p>
    <h2>Clearing Method</h2>
    <p>Because all the columns are floated, this layout uses a clear:both declaration in the .footer rule.  This clearing technique forces the .container to understand where the columns end in order to show any borders or background colors you place on the .container. If your design requires you to remove the .footer from the .container, you'll need to use a different clearing method. The most reliable will be to add a &lt;br class=&quot;clearfloat&quot; /&gt; or &lt;div  class=&quot;clearfloat&quot;&gt;&lt;/div&gt; after your final floated column (but before the .container closes). This will have the same clearing effect.</p>
    <h3>Logo Replacement</h3>
    <p>An image placeholder was used in this layout in the .header where you'll likely want to place  a logo. It is recommended that you remove the placeholder and replace it with your own linked logo. </p>
    <p> Be aware that if you use the Property inspector to navigate to your logo image using the SRC field (instead of removing and replacing the placeholder), you should remove the inline background and display properties. These inline styles are only used to make the logo placeholder show up in browsers for demonstration purposes. </p>
    <p>To remove the inline styles, make sure your CSS Styles panel is set to Current. Select the image, and in the Properties pane of the CSS Styles panel, right click and delete the display and background properties. (Of course, you can always go directly into the code and delete the inline styles from the image or placeholder there.)</p>
    <h4>Backgrounds</h4>
    <p>By nature, the background color on any div will only show for the length of the content. This means if you're using a background color or border to create the look of a side column, it won't extend all the way to the footer but will stop when the content ends. If the .content div will always contain more content, you can place a border on the .content div to divide it from the column.</p>
    <!-- end .content --></div>
  <div class="footer">
    <p>This .footer contains the declaration position:relative; to give Internet Explorer 6 hasLayout for the .footer and cause it to clear correctly. If you're not required to support IE6, you may remove it.</p>
    <!-- end .footer --></div>
  <!-- end .container --></div>
</body>
</html>

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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 150 total points
ID: 36498239
To expand on LZ1's answer...there's a simple way and a more complicated way.  LZ1 uses the simple method: change the background color of .container so it matches the background of .sidebar1 and then also change .content to have a different background color.  This gives the illusion that sidebar1 continues to stretch to footer.  In reality, it is .container that stretches.

The more complicated way is to force equal height columns.  There is a CSS way to do it:

http://matthewjamestaylor.com/blog/equal-height-columns-cross-browser-css-no-hacks
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Author Closing Comment

by:Kevin
ID: 36498661
Thanks to you both.  I weighted LZ1's response higher as it was closer to what I was looking for, a simple way to get the job done.  jason's link was on the money (I had just finished reading that web page and thought that it was very well explained), but more than what I wanted to get into at this point for a novice like myself.

Thanks again !
0
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:LZ1
ID: 36498672
We're always glad to help. I agree with Jason as in that's probably the more semantic and correct way to go about it. Glad you got it working though.
0
 
LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 36499181
Yeah, I didn't post it to try and upstage LZ1 :)

I'm a big proponent of KISS and his answer is about as KISS as it gets.  The CSS solution is provided merely to show the universe of options for when you run into a problem that the simple solution can't handle for whatever reason.
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