Last updated 2003-12-09 13:06:54 EST
Doc Title Specifying Individual Collection Characteristics
Author 1 Stoeffler, Matt
CVS Revision $Revision: 1.6 $
Specifying Individual Collection Characteristics
CSS files
Header Characteristics
Background colors and graphics
Title name or graphic
Navigation tabs and fonts
Navigation sub menus

CSS files

Text class templates utilize two CSS files for controlling most font and color characteristics: textclass.css and textclass-specific.css. textclass.css is stored in at the <root>/t/text/ path and contains all the default style declarations. textclass-specific.css is created for each individual collection and stored at the <root>/c/coll/ path. References to both stylesheets are as follows:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/t/text/textclass.css" type="text/css">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="<CSS_PATH filename=textclass-specific.css" type="text/css">

The <?CSS_PATH> processing instruction resolves to the relevant path for the stylesheet file indicated by the filename attribute. Because textclass-specific.css is referenced after textclass.css, any style declarations that appear in textclass-specific.css will effectively overwrite matching declarations in textclass.css. This is how fonts and background colors are varied for each collection. (full text of textclass.css)


Default text class templates employ a variety of relatively generic graphics that can be referenced by all collection instances. A table of shared files shows those files that are stored in the <root>/t/text/graphics/ directory. Any alternative graphics by identical names may be stored in individual collection graphics directories to replace the default class graphics for that particular collection. Any files not stored in collection graphics directories, but referenced in the templates, will be referenced from the class graphics directory as a fallback mechanism. Graphics files that are likely to be unique to each collections are discussed in the section on header background colors and graphics.

Header characteristics

The header of each page template includes that area in the top 75 pixels of the page containing those elements associated with unique collection identity: main collection title, global links, if any, and the main navigation bar. The templates accomodate inclusion of background colors or graphics to provide some flexibility in creating unique appearances for different collections.

Background color and graphics

Main background color for template headers is provided at three different levels: default background colors for table cells specified in the bgcolor attribute, style declarations in the textclass-specific.css stylesheet, and table cell background graphics referenced by the background attribute. Figure 3 illustrates how these characteristics are specified in td opening tags in the Voltaire electronique collection.

Figure 3: Header cell color and graphics.

The two top cells each have CSS class associations and background graphic references to files in the local collection graphics directory. The hdrcolor style is set locally in the textclass-specific.css style sheet as

.hdrcolor { background-color: #FFFFF1 }

The background graphics files, hdr-bg1.gif and hdr-bg2.gif, are, in fact, laying "over" the background color specified by the CSS style--the order of precedence for CSS capable browsers is background, class, bgcolor--but you see the CSS style colors because the gifs are transparent. The lower cell has a bgcolor value and a CSS style, navcolor, set again in the local textclass-specific.css as

.navcolor { background-color: #F3E098 }

Figure 4 illustrates the appearance of another header based on the same template using non-transparent background gifs that integrate with the collection title gif and the CSS style for navcolor.



collection title gif

bgmat.gifhdr-bg1.gif and hdr-bg2.gif provide background.
Figure 4: component files for a header portion of UM Technical Reports templates.

Title name or graphic

Collection title name is provided in the templates via the <?TITLE mode="complex"> processing instruction. The PI will resolve to a text string or a graphic file as specified in the colldb. When rendered as text, titles are wrapped in H3 tags with CSS style topheadlink so that collection title font can be specified.

Navigation fonts and tabs

Color for navitation tabs is controlled by CSS styles, as are the border colors that surround and underline the tabs. Tab color is, in the "backgrounded" state, set by the navcolor style. The tab "foreground" state color is specified with the navhicolor style. Border and underline colors are set with navdivision and navhrcolor styles respectively.

Font settings for tabs are also CSS controlled. Relative style declarations for fonts are as below:

/* nav bar fonts */
.navlinks { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
font-size: 12px;
font-weight: bold;
color: #666666;
text-decoration: none

/* nav link characteristics */
A:hover { text-decoration: underline }
A.nav { color: #FFFFFF;
text-decoration: none

A.nav:hover { color : #FFCC33;
text-decoration: underline

These styles set the default, "closed" tab state for all navigation fonts. In previous releases of the class, each navigation state (e.g., basic search, proximity search, browse, etc) has been represented by a separate template file containing specific HTML markup: in that scheme, styles for the "open" state characteristics were declared in the style sheet and simply applied to different HTML elements as required.

Beginning in release 10, the navigation menu is contained in a single, separate template file, navheader.chnk, that is inserted into all templates. Instead of changing the various CSS class associations for relevant HTML elements to effect state, the HTML elements in navheader have permanent ID associations, and the template file referencing the nav header markup inserts necessary CSS declarations to effect the preferred state. Figure 5 shows a "close-up" of the navigation bar HTML, with table borders showing, and illustrates the placement of ID values on table cells that will serve as CSS selectors.

Figure 5: "Close-up" of the navigation bar with "ID=" values indicated. Additionally, the text of the "Search" and "Browse" tabs also have ID values ("searchlink" and "browselink," respectively).

When navheader.chnk is inserted into search.tpl, requiring that the search tab be shown in an "up" state, the cgi also inserts the contents of searchtabstyles.css into the page (shown below).

#searchtab { background-color: #ffffff } /* background color of the search tab proper */
#sttopborder { background-color: #333333 } /* search tab top border background color */
#sep1 { background-color: #333333 } /* separator 1 background color */
#sep2 { background-color: #333333 } /* separator 2 background color */
#stbotborder { background-color: #ffffff } /* search tab bottom border background color */
#searchlink { color: #000000 } /* search link color - attaches to the immediate anchor element */

The result is as is shown in Figure 6 below.

Figure 6 : Basic search page for American Verse.

Navigation sub menus

In a previous release of the DLXS Text Class design, multiple search options were grouped under a single "Search" tab as a static sub-menu. Figure 7 illustrates this design as implemented by the ACLS History E-book collection.

Figure 7: The ACLS navigation bar showing static search sub-menu.

Beginning with release 10 a new DHTML "pull-down" menu triggered by Javascript onmouseover events became the default behavior. This menu, as delivered in HTML, is shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8: The American Verse navigation bar showing the "pull-down" menu.

The pull-down menu technique is a modified implementation of the Project Seven positioned dropped down menus design, utilizing Project Seven extensions to Macromedia Dreamweaver. The elements of the pull-down menu, as they appear in the navhaeder.chnk template file, are shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9 :"close-up" of the navigation bar, showing main DHTML menu components.

HTML from navheader.chnk file is shown below; included here are the two layers that constitute the hidden pull-down search menu, and the portion of the navigation bar that triggers the menu (in highlighted colors). Since the only portion of the menu that comes from the CGI are the search type link hrefs, changing the look or shape of the menu is simply a matter of editing the menu HTML. (Well, almost: the "closer" layer, which lays under the drop down menu layer, should always be top-alligned with the menu layer, but sufficiently wide and deep enough to provide a margin outside the left, bottom, and right edges of the menu layer.) The javascript invoked by the search link (in green below) opens the pull menu "snapped" to the image with ID="menuanchor" (shown in red). This means that so long as menuanchor is present in relation to the search tab, the pull-down menu will always appear in relation to the navigation bar. The javascript functions that execute the menu behavior are contained in the jsheader.chnk template, and are imported into the page at load time.

<td id="sep1" width="1">
< img src="/t/text/graphics/plug.gif" width="1" height="23" border="0" vspace="0" hspace="0" name="menuanchor" id="menuanchor" alt="design graphic " > </td>
<!-- search -->
<!-- this nav bar tab is conditionally included by the cgi -->
<td id="searchtab" width="90" height="23" align="center" nowrap>
<span class="navlinks">
< a id="searchlink" href="<?SIMPLE_SEARCH_LINK>" class="nav" onMouseOver="P7_Snap('menuanchor','closer',-70,25,'menuanchor','ddsearchmenu',-50,25);P7_autoLayers(0,'ddsearchmenu','closer')"> Search<img name="navmenuarrow" src="/t/text/graphics/navdwnarrow.gif" alt="design graphic" width="16" height="8" border="0"></a></span>
<td id="sep2" width="1"><img src="/t/text/graphics/plug.gif" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="design graphic"> </td>

<div style="position:absolute; left:15px; top:70px; width:420px; height:22px; z-index:3; visibility: hidden;" id="ddsearchmenu"> <table width="420" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td bgcolor="#666666">
<table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="0">
<td class="mencellup" height="22" bgcolor="#E5E5E5" nowrap>
<span class="smallformfont"><a class="menunav" href="<?SIMPLE_SEARCH_LINK>">Basic</a></span>
<span class="smallformfont"><a class="menunav" href="<?BOOLEAN_SEARCH_LINK>">Boolean</a></span>
<span class="smallformfont"><a class="menunav" href="<?PROXIMITY_SEARCH_LINK>">Proximity</a></span>
<span class="smallformfont"><a class="menunav" href="<?SEARCH_HISTORY_LINK>">Search History</a></span>
</table></td> </tr> </table> </div>
<div id="closer" style="position:absolute; left:3px; top:70px; width:460px; height:50px; z-index:2; visibility: hidden;"><a href="javascript:;" onMouseOver="P7_autoLayers(0)"><img src="/t/text/graphics/plug.gif" name="Image1" width="460" height="50" hspace="0" vspace="0" border="0" id="Image1" alt="design graphic"></a></div>
<!-- end menu divs -->

The Project Seven implementation is very reliable, working effectively for Netscape 4.7 and up, and for Internet Explorer 5 and up (and most other browsers) for the PC and Mac platforms. Even so, the search page design offers static link alternatives for all menu options.

(Note: The implementation of the pull-down menu, however, is not tied to the cgi since the cgi only provides the HREF values for the various links in the menu. Alternative markup for the earlier design is available, and will be supplied in the distribution.)

Modifying the appearance of the pull-down menu background colors and font characteristics is accessible through CSS class declarations, shown below.

A.menunav { color: #000000; text-decoration: none }
A.menunav:hover { color : #FF6633; text-decoration: underline }

/* the color of popup menu cells in the up state - #BABCEA */
.mencellup { background-color: #E5E5E5; }

/* the color of the bground table cell for the menu nav i.e., the border color for nav cells */
.menucellground { background-color: #666666; }

The font style of the menu labels themselves is controlled by the smallformfont class.