Answering some Questions

Hi, class,

We have a good set of questions from today, which means I’ll be writing a bit of a response here for you.

First, though, two things:

1)      Someone asked how the blog grading is going. I am one entry behind (well… it was due today), but due to that comment snafu, I have to make comments on the ones I graded previously, too. You should start to see those soon. I will get caught up ASAP.

2)      I didn’t write a blog response to the last set of questions because they were great, but they called for actual class topics. I’m going to incorporate those into the next few weeks after break (so don’t think I ignored them—I just didn’t want to try to give you really short answers when the topics needed attention)

And now… your questions and my answers, accurate and dependable from the Weather Channel.

Someone asked what I wanted for module 5. We haven’t gotten there yet, but we will talk about it soon.

Several of you asked about Module 4. By the time we’re done with it, you should be able to apply the new design to your WordPress blog and upload your model page to your webspace. But I would venture to say that no one is there… yet. Unless you’re ahead of the curve. My goal was for you to have enough resources to work over break if you wanted, but if you want to take the week off, you will be fine coming back with just the skills we have right now.

Someone asked how many pages you should have for your final project. That’s an “it depends” situation. You could, if your content isn’t technically “pages,” have just one page and a lot of content that operates in interesting ways. You could have a series of smaller pages that link to a larger one. You could have a few short pages and a few longer ones. It really all depends on your needs and your plan.  I know, crummy answer. Sorry. 😦

Someone asked about uploading stuff. I was going to teach you that the week after break, but we can do that briefly in class Wednesday. There are a few ways. The easiest—I think, because it’s the one that can’t mess up—is to have a full local copy on your computer then to upload either via FTP or via netfiles. Netfiles is easy in that it’s web-based, but it’s a little annoying because it only does like five files at a time. With an FTP client, you can drag folders.

Someone asked if you could look at page source code and then stick it in Dreamweaver. Yes, you can. You just copy/paste the source code from your browser, click on the “code” tab (or in the code window if you’re in split mode) and paste it in. Remember, though, that if there’s CSS or Java stuff happening, you won’t see that in DW, and if there’s a CSS on the site that the page you pulled references, you will have to get that style.css somehow for everything to look right (otherwise you’ll just have their content).

There were lots of questions about links. Linking in Dreamweaver is incredibly easy. You can link anything—anything that can be linked—by highlighting what you want to be the link (text, image, you can make a video a link but I don’t recommend it as sometimes the video player reacts to clicking and you get in a mess) and going into that link box down in the properties bar at the bottom and typing in the location. The linked thing doesn’t have to be an html doc—it can be anything that will display in a browser (so sound files, video, images, PDFs, txt files—you can link to a word .doc and it will open in Word if the person has it, to an Excel spreadsheet, to a PowerPoint, etc.) Just remember that if you want something to come up in a new window or tab you need to also set its property to blank (this is in the box below the link area—the pull-down. Choose _blank).

Someone asked about the color backgrounds of some of the built in sets of columns/tables in Dreamweaver. Those are actually made via CSS and not via tables (which is a better practice for the web in general, but I didn’t want to try to make you create one from scratch, so I started us with tables). Because those are CSS driven, you have to change the colors in the code. I can show you where to do that and how, but it’s tough to explain in text. Remind me to do that in class.

One of you asked how to make additional pages off the first page. That’s easy—you just make another page and link it. If you want to make a unified site with the same look throughout, that’s the joy of CSS that we’ll keep working with, and it’s also something DW can help you to do. We’ll get there after break. But adding pages is as easy as linking them.

Another of you asked about how to fix an object so it doesn’t move when people scroll. That is done via frames, but frames have gone out of fashion. CSS can now achieve the same effect, too.  Check this out.

Which brings me to my first little nugget o’ wisdom for the day that isn’t in response to anyone. CSS Newbie is a great place to go to learn about CSS. Take some time to look around. It will require you to tinker a bit, but if you pay close attention to the suggestions there, you can pull off some awesome looking stuff without having to be a CSS expert (though you will slowly become one through practice).

Someone asked about using different fonts on your website. This is one of those sad answer questions. You can use any font you want, but it needs to be on the user’s machine to display. Dreamweaver will only let you choose “system default” fonts, which means any font it lets you pick should be on any computer anywhere (they install with operating systems). If you want to use a specialized font, you have 2 options: 1) make sure it is free, then use it, but on your front page have a link and ask the user to install it to get the site’s full effect (not recommended but common). 2) make anything in that font an image file (much better for headings and titles, but REALLY annoying for body text).

Someone asked how to move objects on a page (like images). When I learned to code, it was impossible to do that without tables. You can now do it with CSS (using the same trick in the tab above for the no-scrolling nav bar—the position attribute), but it gets a little crazy because you have to then shape your text, too. I will work together a little mini-tutorial on how to do this for the Monday after break, but until then you can check out this link to get some sense of how it works.

Someone asked about moving a design over from GIMP. That would work the same way, basically, as porting a design over from Photoshop. It’s a long process, but it’s not bad. Check back in the readings for that tutorial.

One of you asked about adding text over an image in Photoshop. That’s really easy—you just grab the text tool, click where you want it, and insert your text. The text you type will become a layer, and you can then move it around as you wish (I’ll show you this in class).

And someone asked if you can crop photos in Dreamweaver. Sadly, you can’t. Adobe wants you to use all their software, so you have to do that in Photoshop. 🙂

And someone asked how to animate text. It really depends what kind of animation you want. We’ll look at some ways to get useful animation the week after break.

And that covers all your questions… I think.

See you all in class tomorrow!

-Phill

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