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Style Your Website for Multiple Devices Using Dreamweaver CS5.5

  • Article is provided courtesy of Adobe Press.
  • Date: Aug 10, 2011.

Article Description

To get a site to work properly across multiple devices used to be more a challenge than it is today. For instance, Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 has built-in tools that help you design for multiple devices including personal computers, tablets, and phones. In this article, Adobe expert Brian Wood shows you how to use CSS3 media queries, Multiscreen Preview, and various other tools, to easily take your design and get it to work on different devices.
Set Up Media Queries to Style for Different Devices

Set Up Media Queries to Style for Different Devices

To accomplish the different designs for different devices, you typically don’t change the content of the page. Rather, using Dreamweaver CS5 or CS5.5, you can use CSS3 media queries. Media queries “sniff” out the resolution of the device (in other words, detects it) on which the page is being viewed, then applies different styling depending on that resolution. Next, you will take the page that you have open and apply media queries to the page:

  1. In the Multiscreen Preview panel, click the Media Queries button. The Media Queries dialog box appears. As it says at the top of the dialog box: “You (can) target your designs for different devices by specifying a different CSS file for each device.”
  2. There are two ways you can approach media queries:

    • Set up a “site-wide” media query file.
    • Set up a media queries for “this document” only.

    Setting up media queries for “this document” only will create a separate style sheet for each device you choose and attach each of those to the open page only. When the page is displayed, depending on the resolution of the device, a different style sheet will be applied. If you have a series of pages to which you want to apply the media queries, you can select the “site-wide” option. As you will see, this creates a style sheet that is attached to this first page in your site. That style sheet contains links to other style sheets. The site-wide option means that if you open another page and click the Media Queries button, it will automatically attach the site-wide file.

  3. Select Site–Wide Media Queries File in the Write Media Queries To: section and click the Specify button (see Figure 5).
  4. Figure 5 Set up a site-wide media query file.

  5. This opens the Specify Site-Wide Media Query File dialog box that asks you to either choose an existing site-wide media query file or to create a new one. Because you haven’t done this before, choose “Create New File: from the menu. Click the folder icon to browse for a location to put it, because Dreamweaver will create one for you (see Figure 6).
  6. Figure 6 Create a new site-wide media query file.

  7. In the Save File As dialog box, give the file a name and click Save (see Figure 7).
  8. Figure 7 Name the site-wide media query file.

  9. Back in the Specify Site-Wide Media Query File dialog box, click OK. The file you created should now be listed in the Write Media Queries To: section.
  10. Dreamweaver adds the site-wide media queries file to your site definition. If you want to change or delete the file, select Site > Manage Sites and edit the site definition. The site-wide media queries file is in Advanced Settings > Local Info.

  11. Click the Default Presets button. This will include three different style sheets for three devices: phone, tablet, and desktop. You will see a listing of the description and media query for each style sheet about to be created (see Figure 8). Because you already have a desktop style sheet created and attached to the document (that’s the style sheet you created), you can get rid of the desktop media query.
  12. Notice the Force Devices to Report Actual Width selection. This forces the devices to report the actual screen resolution so that the code that Dreamweaver puts into your page will work. Lots of devices report a different width (usually larger) so that any web pages simply scale (shrink) to fit. Leave this option selected.

    Figure 8 Include the default media queries.

  13. Select the Desktop media query in the list and click the minus sign (–) to remove it (see Figure 9). The plus (+) and minus (–) signs allow you to add or subtract style sheets (media queries) for different devices.
  14. Figure 9 Remove the desktop media query.

    Next, you will create style sheets for the remaining two devices: phone and tablet.

  15. Making sure that the Phone description is selected in the list, choose Create New File: from the CSS File: menu and click the Save File As button (the folder icon) to the right (see Figure 10).
  16. Figure 10 Create a new style sheet for phones.

  17. Enter a name in the Save File As dialog box (like phone) and click Save (see Figure 11).
  18. Figure 11 Name the new style sheet for phones.

  19. Back in the Media Queries dialog box, you will now see in the media query list that “phone.css” is listed as the CSS file for the Phone media query. With the phone media query still selected, you can also change the description name and/or the minimum and maximum width. Suppose that you want this styling to apply to a smartphone like an iPhone 4 as well. You would need to change the Max Width to something like 480 (which is what we did) See Figure 12.
  20. Figure 12 Change the Min/Max Width of the media query.

  21. Click to select the Tablet description that is next in the list, and create a new file named tablet using the process from steps 9 and 10 (see Figure 13).
  22. Figure 13 Create and name a tablet CSS file.

    You’ve just told Dreamweaver to create two more style sheets for two different types of devices: phones and tablets.

  23. Click OK in the Media Queries dialog box to close it and return to the Multiscreen Preview panel.

See What Dreamweaver Has Created So Far

Notice that the styling hasn’t changed for any of the device viewports. That’s because the style sheet you used on the site when you first built the page is still linked. In the next steps, after you take a second to see what Dreamweaver has done for you so far, you will create styles for each device that override the main styles.

  1. Close the Multiscreen panel, and in the Document toolbar click the sitewide.css link in the Related Files toolbar (located below the Code, Split, and Design buttons, usually). Notice the code in the sitewide.css file. It has two links to the two style sheets created, using @import directives (see Figure 14). It also has max-width and min-width attributes where necessary.
  2. Figure 14 The sitewide.css file with links to the phone and tablet CSS files.

  3. Now, click the phone.css link in the Related Files toolbar. You should see the phone.css style sheet. Notice how it is blank except for, @charset “utf-8”; (see Figure 15). It seems fair to assume when you hear that Dreamweaver will create a style sheet for different devices that it creates the styles as well. That would be pretty hard to do, given the fact that everyone’s site is different. Click the Design View button.
  4. Figure 15 The blank phone.css file.

3. Preview and Edit the CSS for Your Pages in Different Screen Resolutions | Next Section Previous Section

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