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					Blogger Template Design

Introduction
This tutorial is a very quick guide to teach you how to change or design your own
Blogger templates. It's easy to understand and follow, especially to those who has no
knowledge in HTML programming.

The tutorial is split into a number of sub-tutorial modules that explain specific parts of
Blogger template design in detail. The best way to learn is by going through the module
sequence one by one. But if you are familiar with the basics, you can jump into the more
advanced modules. The earlier modules are focused on explaining the basic structure of
the template design and the template code so that you understand more about a Blogger
template in general. The later modules explain each section of a Blogger template in
more detail and help you go through the process of coding and designing a template in a
step-by-step approach.

In the tutorial, some of the names and terms are based on my own template design, but I'll
explain them as general as possible so you get the bigger picture and can adapt to
different template designs.

Tutorial Contents
      Tutorial 1: The Structure of a Blogger Template
      Tutorial 2: The Structure of a Blogger Template Code
      Tutorial 3: The Structure of CSS Styling Section
      Tutorial 4: Setting the Properties of a Container
      Tutorial 5: Common Containers and Elements in a Blogger Template
      Tutorial 6: Using the Generic Blogger Template
      Tutorial 7: Setting the Template Size
      Tutorial 8: The Body Section of the Blogger Template Code
      Tutorial 9: More Explanation about the Body Code
      Tutorial 10: Making a 3-Column Template and More ...
      Tutorial 11: Starting Your Own Blogger Template
      Tutorial 12: How To Embed Images as Background
Tutorial 1: The Structure of a Blogger Template

    Before designing a template, you must have an idea of what the basic structure of a
    template is. Generally, the actual structure of any templates are not exactly the same. But,
    by knowing the basic structure, you can easily get the ideas of how to tweak your existing
    templates, design a template, and how to change it into a different structure.

    Some parts of the template structure are obvious from what you can see on most blogs:
    the headers, footers, and posts sections. But there are some sections (I'll call these
    sections blocks or containers afterward) that are not visible on the computer screen, but
    important HTML-wise to build a practical and proper working template.

    To start off, a template structure basically contains blocks of containers that looks like
    this:




    Going from the biggest to the smallest blocks:

       1. Body: the outer most block is the Body of your template (basically everything
          that the computer screen covers).
       2. Outer-wrapper: this container covers your whole template (the body is more like
          the outside of your template). In general, you build a wrapper to place a multiple
          of smaller blocks inside it. The most common blocks inside this Outer-wrapper is
          the Header, Content, and Footer.
       3. Header: this block is the top most part of your blog (the name is quite obvious).
          But inside the Header you will have other sub-blocks too - the Header Title block,
          the Header Description block, and others such as the Adsense banners, a menu bar,
          etc. So, to wrap all these sub-blocks inside one large container, the largest
        container in the Header section is usually a Header-wrapper that wraps everything
        inside.
   4.   Content: below the Header is the Content-wrapper - basically the most important
        container block of all. Immediately inside this wrapper are the Sidebar containers
        (1,2 or any number of sidebars) and the Main container (which contains your
        posts, comments, or some ads).
   5.   Footer: is the bottom most container of your template. As in the Header section,
        you'll also need a Footer-wrapper to contain other sub-blocks in the Footer section.
   6.   Main: the Main-wrapper is the outer most container in the Main section which
        goes inside the Content-wrapper. Inside this Main-wrapper are the Post block,
        Comment block, Date Header, and other widgets created from the Add Page
        Element option.
   7.   Sidebar: is the block that contains all your side widgets - About Me, Labels,
        Archive, Text, HTML, Adsense, etc. In a standard Blogger template, you will
        usually find only 1 sidebar - hence the 2-column template (Main and Sidebar).
        But it's actually easy to add multiple number of sidebars. The most common ones
        are 2 sidebars - or the 3-column template. You will see from these tutorial series
        that once you understand the template structure, it's actually easy to add and move
        the sidebars to the left or right of your Main container.
   8.   Blog Post: this block contains the important stuff - your Posts Titles, Post, Post
        Author, Labels, etc.

One other way to see this structure is from the hierarchical point of view. Starting from
the largest container to its sub-containers, the structure looks like this:

       Body
           o   Outer-wrapper
                  Header-wrapper
                         Blog Title
                         Blog Description
                         Other widgets
                  Content-wrapper
                         Sidebar-wrapper (1,2,3...)
                         Main-wrapper
                              Date Header
                              Posts
                                      Post Title
                                      Post Content (or called Post Body)
                                      Post Footer (Author, Labels, etc)
                              Comments
                              Feed Link
                              Other widgets (mostly ad units)
                  Footer-wrapper
                         Footer text (disclaimer, copyrights, etc)
                         Other widgets
          Once you understand this basic structure, it'll be easier to start learning about the
          structure of the Blogger template code. Learning the code structure is not about
          learning HTML or CSS, but more about how the template code is organized,
          which is pretty much like how the container structure is organized. It's surprising
          that even with little knowledge on web programming, you can customize your
          template quite a lot just by understanding the basic structure and some CSS
          language.



Tutorial 2: The Structure of a Blogger Template Code

          Here's what the structure of a Blogger template code looks like, in a simple way
          of looking at it. I'm using my Generic Blogger template as a reference, but the
          idea is the same for other templates also. I've separated the code in 3 sections and
          show only the top lines of each section so you can look for the starting lines later
          on.




          To see more of these codes in detail, download my Generic Blogger Template.

          Section 1:
          The 'header' of the code. Basically it contains important information about the
          template code and the title of your blog. Best of all, you don't have to worry about
          anything in this section. It's a standard header for all templates. The only time you
           add some codes here is when you want to put some meta tags (additional
           information about your blog for SEO).

           Section 2:
           This is the CSS Styling Section. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, a web
           language used to control the style of a HTML document. This is the section that
           you want to know the most if you want to modify your existing template or design
           a new template. Eventhough it is a web programming code, you can still do a lot
           of things on you template design if you understand the structure of this section
           without knowing much about HTML and CSS. We'll get to this part in more detail
           later.

           Section 3:
           This is the Body or Data of the code - the most important part that fetches all your
           content from Blogger database and puts it in the right place into your blog when
           somebody is looking at your blog. This is also the section that tells your blog
           which part comes first - the Header, Sidebars, Main, Post, Footer, etc. But it
           doesn't set the appearance of the blog and how it would look like on the internet
           (because that part is controlled by the CSS styling section).

           You basically don't have to worry much about this part too, just like the 1st
           Section. But you will have to know a little bit about this section if you want to
           start adding extra widgets that cannot be put using the Add Page Element button,
           like the social bookmarking buttons - Digg, AddThis, RSS buttons; or if you want
           to put Adsense codes in special places like in the Post Page; or putting Google
           Analytics code to track visitors to your blog; and many other things. Most of the
           time, there are easy instructions already available to help you add these things in
           your blog. So, again, nothing much to worry about in this section.



Tutorial 3: The Structure of CSS Styling Section



           In this tutorial, I'll show you the structure of CSS Styling Section, which is the
           2nd Section in the Blogger Template Code Structure. Again, not all templates
           have the same structure. It basically comes down to the personal style of a
           designer. But I've found out the structure that I'll show you is quite logical and
           makes things a lot easier when coding, debugging, and customizing your template.
           Once you've understood this tutorial, you can later change the style and structure
           any way you want. But first you have to understand them and I've put out here a
           very easy structure to understand and use.

           I've cut down the CSS Styling Section into 9 smaller subsections. For now, I'll
           describe the subsections in general. We'll get to the details on the coding inside
   these subsections later in the following tutorials. Always refer to the Structure of a
   Blogger Template to help you understand better the subsections and containers
   that I explain here.




Subsection 1 - Variable:
This subsection contains the declaration (the introduction) of the font and color
variables that appear in the Fonts and Colors tab in the Layout page. For example, the
Text Color or the Text Font variables that you can choose and modify using the Fonts
and Colors tab. In my templates, I've added a lot of variables (close to 40+) compared
to some of the standard Blogger templates to make it easy for you to customize a lot
of things on the template.

Subsection 2 - Global:
This part contains the code to control the general appearance and layout. If you look
at the green bar above, you'll see the code "body {.....}". This means that every code
that goes inside the {.....} will control the general properties (size, layout, &
appearance) of the body of the template (everything that the computer screen covers).
For example, it controls the width of your whole template and the background color
or image. But it doesn't control the detailed properties of the whole template (that is
done by all the other subsections). Or, if you do set the detailed properties inside the
body container, say the Text Font, and then reset the same properties inside a smaller
sub-container, the properties set in the body container will be overridden, or canceled.

Inside this subsection, you will also find other important large containers - the Outer-
wrapper and the Content-wrapper - so this subsection is where you want to look for
if you want to tweak those containers.

Subsection 3 - Header:
This part controls the properties of everything inside your Header-wrapper container.
The most common ones are the Blog Title and the Blog Description. In most of my
templates, I've added an extra object in the Header-wrapper - the Linkbar (or the
horizontal menubar). Typically, you can't add extra object in the Header because you
can't use the Add Page Element tab. To add the Linkbar, I had to change the 3rd
Section of the template code structure (which is the Data section). In my own blog
(dzelque.blogspot.com), I added something else, which is the Google Search Bar.
Ideally, you can add just about anything you want there, if you know how to deal with
the 3rd Section. We'll get to this later.




Subsection 4 - Main:
This part controls the properties (size, layout, and appearance) of everything that the
Main-wrapper block contains - the Date Header, the Post, the Comment, the Feed
Link, and any widgets that you drag into the Main section using the Add Page
Element tab.

Subsection 5 - Sidebar:
This part controls the properties of everything inside your Sidebar-wrapper - for
example the Labels, Blog Archive, Adsense units, Link Lists, etc. But, it doesn't set
how many sidebars you have or their locations on the blog (example Sidebar-Main-
Sidebar or Main-Sidebar-Sidebar). That part is done in the Section 3 of the Blogger
Template Code Structure - the Data Section.

Subsection 6 - Miscellaneous:
This part controls the properties of additional elements in your blog that's not
controlled by all the above subsections. These elements are the Profile (or the About
Me block), the Blogquote, and the Code. It means if you want to, say, change the
color of the quoted text or the font of your nickname in the About Me block, this is
where you want to look for to tweak it.
Subsection 7 - Post-Footer:
In my Generic Template, this part controls the properties of 3 things:

1. The Post-Footer - the texts below your post body. This is the part that contains
   information about your post, or the texts that say "Posted by YourNickname,
   Labels: ....., 5 Comments, etc.
2. The Blog-Pager - the links at the bottom of your blog posts that say "Newer Posts,
   Home, or Older Posts".
3. The Feed-Link - the link that says "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)".

Subsection 8 - Comment:
This part controls all the properties of the Comments section in your blog.

Subsection 9 - Footer:
This part controls all the properties in the Footer section. Generally, the Footer
section contains some text explaining the ownership or copyright of a blog. In some
other blogs, they also put extra stuff in the Footer section, like the Recent Posts or
Popular Posts in 2 or more columns. Basically, you can just put about anything in the
Footer as in the Sidebar. But if you want to add more than 1 column to your Footer,
you have to tweak the 3rd section of your Blogger Template Code Structure.
Tutorial 4: Setting the Properties of a Container

        In this tutorial, you'll know the basics of what code sets the properties of a container.
        To make things simple, we'll look at 2 container blocks only - Main and Post. Once
        you know these, the basic ideas for all the other containers are pretty much the same.

        Here is a sample code for the 2 containers:

        #main {
        margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
        padding: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
        min-width: 400px;
        max-width: 400px;
        background: $mainbgColor;
        color: #111111;
        font: $textFont;
        }

        .post {
        margin: 0px 20px 10px 0px;
        padding: 10px 20px 10px 2px;
        line-height: 1.5em;
        text-align: left;
        background: $postbgColor;
        }




        The #main and .post are the titles of each containers. Each container codes must be
        contained within {...}. For the explanation below, we'll focus on the codes inside the
        post block, especially for the explanation on the margin and padding (the codes
        colored in red).

           Margin - sets the distance between the border of the container to the border of a
            parent (larger) container outside it. There are 4 numbers defining the Margin
    property. The 1st number sets the top margin, the 2nd sets the right margin, the
    3rd number sets the bottom margin, and the 4th number sets the left margin. It
    basically sets the whole margin in a clock-wise fashion starting from the top. In
    the case above, the parent container for the post container is the main container.
    See how the dashed border for the blue (post) container is placed inside the green
    (main) container following the post block's margin command (the codes in red). If
    the post's margins are all set to zero, then the post container would be exactly the
    same size as the main container. Think of the Margin as a command that moves
    its border away from a parent border. Another thing, Margin can have a negative
    value, which means that it moves toward the parent border and may overlap it
    (not away from it).
   Padding - sets the distance between the border of the container to the border of a
    child (smaller) container inside it. In the case of the post container, the child
    container is the post-body. The 4 numbers defining the padding sets the padding
    in a clock-wise fashion also, just like the Margin property. See how the post's
    padding puts the post-body inside the post container, away from the dashed
    border. Unlike the Margin, think of the Padding as a command that moves a child
    border away from its border. Padding values cannot be negative.
   Min-width and Max-width - sets the width of the container. Usually, it's enough
    to write it as width = 400px (for example), but it's becoming more of my habit to
    set the width as strict as possible, because I sometimes saw that if it's not written
    strictly, the container width might shrink and expand freely on some situations
    and in some different browsers. So by setting the width strictly, I made sure that it
    looks exactly like I want at all times in all browsers (basically getting rid of
    alignment bugs). If you look at my newer templates, I even set the width
    redundantly, say in Main-wrapper and then in Main containers eventhough they
    are pretty much the same. Doing it this way solves some alignment bugs that I
    saw (eventhough I don't really understand why it solves it by writing it
    redundantly).
   Background - sets the background color of the container. It uses the hexadecimal
    code for colors. See here for all the color values. You can also set a background
    image that repeats itself to cover the whole container block. The way to do this is
    by pointing to the URL of an image. For details on how to do this, see W3Schools
    tutorials. You can also set the value to be $samplevariable, where the variable is
    the one that you define in Subsection 1 in CSS Styling Structure.
   Color - sets the color of your text using the hexadecimal color code, or the
    variable defined earlier in Subsection 1.
   Font - sets the font of your text. You can use the variables set in Subsection 1 also.
    See W3Schools tutorials for more details on setting the font properties.
   Text-align - sets the alignment of your text. The 3 options are either left, center,
    or right.
   Line-height - sets the distance, or height, between two text lines.

My tutorial just gives the basic idea on some of the codes in the Blogger templates.
I'd say the most important ones for a basic understanding are the margin and padding
       commands. If you want a more detailed explanation on CSS styling language, I
       recommend w3Schools CSS Tutorial as a quick and easy resource center.



Tutorial 5: Common Containers and Elements in a Blogger Template

       Here's a list of all the common containers and elements in a Blogger template and
       their funtions (elements are basically any object that make a blog funtions and
       containers are large elements that contains smaller elements or some other contents).

       These common elements that I'll show are not necessarily the elements that exist or
       must exist in all Blogger templates, but are just some common elements that controls
       a large part of your template style. Knowing these elements will make it a lot easier
       for you to know where to look for in the template code and how to deal with other
       new elements that you may find in other templates.

       I'm not going to list all the elements, but only enough elements so that you get the
       ideas and can understand all the other elements on your own. I will refer to the
       images from the CSS Styling Section below to make things easier to follow.




       The symbols # and . show the attributes of the element (sort of a classification of the
       element type). But you don't have to worry much about this for now. If you want to
       know more about this, I suggest the W3Schools tutorials.

       Global:

          body {.....} - general properties for the whole template.
          #outer-wrapper {.....} - the starting and largest container for all your template
           contents. Inside this is the header-wrapper, content-wrapper, and footer-wrapper.
          #content-wrapper {.....} - the wrapper that contains sidebars and main containers.
   a {.....} - this sets the overall properties of your link text.
   a:visited {.....} - this sets the overall properties of your visited link text.
   a:hover {.....} - this sets the overall properties of your link text when the mouse
    hovers over it.

Because all element codes must be contained within the {.....}, I'll just write the
element titles after this.

Header:

   #header-wrapper - the container that wraps your Blog Title and Blog
    Description.
   #header - the container just inside the header-wrapper.
   #header h1 - the command inside this containers controls the appearance and
    layout of your Blog Title.
   #header h1 a - controls the properties of the Blog Title as a link text.
   #header .description - the properties of your Blog Description.
   #header a img - controls the properties of an image inside your header container.




Main:

   #main-wrapper - the container that wraps your Date Header, Blog Posts,
    Comments, Feed Link, and any widgets that you drag above or below the Blog
    Posts.
   #main - the container just inside the main-wrapper.
   #main .widget - controls the properties of all widgets inside the main container.
   h2.date-header - sets the properties of your Date Header (just above your Post
    Title).
   .post - sets the properties of your Blog Posts container.
   .post h3 - sets the properties of your Post Title.
   .post-body p - sets the properties of the body or content of your post.
   .post ul - sets the properties of an unordered list (a list that is not numbered).
   .post ol - controls the properties of an ordered list (a numbered list).
   .post li - controls the properties of the individual list inside an unordered list or an
    ordered list.
   a img - controls the general properties of an image (the a refers to a link; and an
    image is by itself a link).

Sidebar:

   .sidebar-wrapper - the container that wraps all elements and contents in a
    sidebar.
   .sidebar - the container just inside the sidebar-wrapper.
   #sidebar1 - sets the properties inside sidebar1.
   #sidebar2 - sets the properties inside sidebar2. If you want the properties inside
    sidebar1 and sidebar2 to be the same, than you can just the properties
    inside .sidebar and don't have to even write down the #sidebar1 and #sidebar2 in
    your CSS code.
   .sidebar .widget - controls the properties of all the widgets (the Added Page
    Element) in your sidebar.
   #sidebar1 .widget - only sets the widgets in sidebar1.
   .sidebar .BlogArchive - sets the Blog Archive properties. Technically, this is a
    sidebar widget too, but I'm not sure why setting the properties for sidebar widgets
    doesn't change any properties for the Blog Archive. That's why I have to write
    down the .BlogArchive command to set its properties.
   .sidebar h2 - sets the title/header properties of a sidebar widget.
   .sidebar #BlogArchive1 h2 -sets the properties of the Blog Archive's title.

Miscellaneous:

Technically, the Profile (About Me) container is placed inside a sidebar, but I'm
putting it in the Miscellaneous section because there are many smaller elements that
belong together with the Profile container and putting it in the Miscellaneous reduces
the mess.

   #Profile1 - sets the properties for the About Me block.
   #Profile1 h2 - sets the title/header for the About Me block.
   .profile-img a img - sets the image in the About Me block.
   .profile-textblock - sets the author description About Me block.
   .profile-data - sets the author's data in the About Me block.
   .profile-datablock - sets the overall blocks of data in the About Me block.
   blockquote - sets the quoted text in your posts.
   code - sets the text contained within the code tags in your posts.
   Post-Footer:

      .post-footer - sets the overall properties of the post-footer container.
      .post-footer-line - sets the properties for each new lines in the post-footer.
      .post-footer a - sets the link text properties inside the post-footer.
      .post-footer .post-comment-link a - sets the "comment" link inside the post-
       footer.
      #blog-pager - controls the properties of the "newer posts", "home", and "older
       posts" links.
      #blog-pager-newer-link - controls the properties of the "newer posts" link.
      #blog-pager-older-link - controls the properties of the "older posts" link.
      .feed-links - controls the "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" link.

Comment:

      #comments - sets the overall comment container's properties.
      #comments a - sets the link text properties inside a comment container.
      #comments h4 - sets the header of the comment container.
      .deleted-comment - sets the properties of the deleted comment.
      .comment-author - sets the properties of the comment author.
      .comment-body p - sets the comment body properties.
      #comments ul - controls the unordered list inside a comment container.
      #comments li - controls the individual list inside a comment container.

Footer:

      #footer-wrapper - the container that wraps all elements and contents inside a
       footer section.
      #footer - the container just inside the footer-wrapper.
      #footer h2 - sets the properties of the footer title/header.
          #footer .widget - controls the footer widget properties.
          .footer a - controls any footer link texts.

       Now that you know these containers and elements, you'll know where to look for in
       the template code whenever you want to change something about your template (fonts,
       text colors, background colors, padding, etc). What you do then is simply modify the
       codes inside the {.....} for that container or element only.

Tutorial 6: Using the Generic Blogger Template

       Here I'll explain how you can use the Generic Blogger Template to practice on
       tweaking the codes and modifying your templates. The ultimate goal is surely for you
       to know how to design your own template, but knowing how to modify the template
       first (and to get a feel how the template 'react' to your code modification) is an
       important step that you need to go through before starting to design your own
       template.

       Changing your template is not as simple as changing or adding some codes, hitting
       the "View Blog" button, and thinking that everything will go as perfect as you plan.
       Lots of the time you'll see things go off differently from what you've expected.
       Especially if you're not a web programmer. I'm not one and I did go through a lot of
       going back and forth between the "Edit HTML" page to the "View Blog" page before
       getting what I really wanted.

       So the best thing to do is really to experiment first with the 'behavior' of the template
       codes, see how they make your template change, and finally understand (more or
       less) why they change the way they change: simply put - be ONE with the code!

       To make it easier for you, I've created a Generic Blogger Template that you can
       download to play around with. To be honest, it's an ugly template, but the different
       container colors will help you see how things actually change. The first thing you
       need to do is create a Test Blog using your Blogger account. Then upload the Generic
       Blogger Template into your Test Blog. Put a few posts with lots of text, images, and
       add some sidebar widgets too so that you can see a more realistic effect.

       The next step is just to start playing around. It's best to do things one by one. Say,
       choose one of the containers, the header-wrapper maybe (look in Tutorial 5), and
       change some of the command codes for that container. Then view the new templates
       to see if the changes is really what you've expected. As starters, try to play around the
       most with padding and margin (playing with colors, fonts, or any appearance-setting
       commands are not as challenging as playing with layout-setting commands). Don't
       play yet with the template size-setting commands like the width of containers because
       this involves other containers also and can get really messy. We'll do this later. Once
       you're confident with how things behave in one container, move on to other
       containers or do multiple containers in one go.
        Within a short time, you'll be confident enough with this Generic Blogger Template
        that you can start tweaking your own blog template codes. At this point, I won't say
        that you'll know everything there is to know about tweaking codes, but you'll know
        enough to do considerable makeover on your template and enough to start learning
        new things and dealing with new problems on your own. The key point here is your
        coding skills will grow in time - May the CODE be with you!



Tutorial 7: Setting the Template Size

        Setting the template size is probably one of the first things you need to do when
        starting to design a new template. The are two ways to set the size (basically the
        width) of a template:

        1. Setting the size to be fixed with a certain width, say 800 pixels.
        2. Setting the template to have a fluid size, which means the width changes with the
           browser or screen size.

        Setting a fixed template size:

        To set a template width, you actually have to set the width of a few large containers.
        The most common containers to set the widths are:

        1.   Body
        2.   Outer-wrapper
        3.   Header-wrapper
        4.   Content-wrapper
        5.   Footer-wrapper
        6.   Main-wrapper
        7.   Sidebar-wrapper*
        8.   Footer-wrapper

        *Note: You can also just set the widths of sidebar1 and sidebar2 containers without
        setting the sidebar-wrapper width. Setting the sidebar-wrapper width is convenient if
        both sidebars have equal widths.

        In most of my newest templates, I also set the widths in the containers just inside
        some of the wrapper containers (which is redundant) to avoid some minor alignment
        bugs that may appear. The widths of these containers are set equal to the widths of
        their parent wrapper containers. These containers are:

        1. Header
        2. Main
Here is a sample code from the Generic Blogger Template showing you all the
container widths that are set to make sure the template width is properly set (only the
part that concerns the width-setting are shown). In this sample, the template width is
set at 800 pizels.
body {
min-width: 800px; }

#outer-wrapper {
margin: 0 auto; /* to make the template lays in the screen center */
min-width: 800px;
max-width: 800px; }

#content-wrapper {
min-width: 800px;
max-width: 800px; }

#header-wrapper {
min-width: 800px;
max-width: 800px; }

#main-wrapper {
min-width: 400px;
max-width: 400px; }

.sidebar {
padding: 10px 10px 10px 10px;
min-width: 180px;
max-width: 180px; }
#sidebar1 {.....}
#sidebar2 {.....}

#footer-wrapper {
min-width: 800px;
max-width: 800px; }




The body is set with a command min-width = 800px, which means that the smallest
width it should have is 800px. If it's set with a command width = 800px only, then the
template width might shrink in some situation. Setting it with a min-width guarantees
the smallest size it will take.

The next container just inside the body is the outer-wrapper. It's usually common to
set it with a command width = 800px only. But as I've explained about my strictness
in setting the width to avoid any alignment bugs, it's becoming my habit to always set
the container to have a min-width and max-width of the same value so that the
container size is exactly that size - it will not shrink or widen to any different value.
Another thing about the outer-wrapper is that this is where you set the command to
either place your template at the center of screen or float to the left of it. In this case,
setting margin: 0 auto will float the template to the center. Just writing margin: 0 will
float it to the left as a default position.

The next 3 large containers, the header-wrapper, the content-wrapper, and the footer-
wrapper is usually set to be the same size; in this case it's 800px. In any case, they can
be set smaller than the outer-wrapper width but not any bigger than that because the
outer-wrapper 'wraps' these 3 containers inside it. Another thing, if you add left and
right borders, then you'll increase the width, and the outer-wrapper will just cut out
whatever that's bigger than itself on the right side. So, if you do add borders, say 2px
left and 2px right for the header-wrapper, then you have to set the header-wrapper
width to be 796px so that the total would be 796+2+2 = 800px. The same goes for all
       the other containers.

       The last 3 containers are the 2 sidebars and the main-wrapper. Because they sit side
       by side, you have to make sure the total width = 800px or less, but certainly not more.
       In this case, I set the main-wrapper to be 400px and both the 2 sidebars to be 200px.
       But because I added padding of 10px left and right of each sidebars, which pushes the
       sidebar border outward, I'd have to reduce the sidebar width to be 180px so that the
       total sum after adding the pads would be 200px. You have to note that the largest
       sidebar container is the sidebar-wrapper (not just the sidebar). I could have set the
       width of the sidebar-wrapper instead of the sidebar, but I prefer to set the sidebar
       width because sometimes I may set the 2 sidebars to have different widths. But, this is
       all just a matter of personal style; other template designers may have different way of
       setting this sidebar widths. As long as it works, that's all that matters.

       Setting a fluid template size:

       To set a template with width that changes with browser or screen size, please refer to
       W3Schools Tutorials for more details. In my templates, I haven't made any such
       templates and so my experience in setting a fluid sized template is not much. Once I
       have more experience in this, I'll post the tutorials on it.



Tutorial 8: The Body Section of the Blogger Template Code

       In this tutorial, I'll explain the basic structure of the Body of the code so that you get
       the idea on how it works with the rest of your code. The code is located in Section 3
       of the Blogger Template Code Structure. This is the main part of the Blogger
       template code that retrieves the data to be displayed on your blog. It's basically the
       core part that makes your whole blog functions. The code that sets how it appears on
       your blog is the CSS Styling code.

       Refering back to the tutorial Blogger Template Code Structure, the Body code is in
       Section 3 as shown in the image below.
Shown below is the Body code copied exactly from the Blogger Edit HTML page
with the 'Expand Widget Button' unchecked. I do not want to include the complete
code by checking the 'Expand Widget Button' for 2 reasons. First, it's not necessary to
do this. You actually don't even have to know what goes on inside the complete code
to be able to design a properly working Blogger template. That's all been done
'automatically' by Blogger, which is the beauty of using this new Blogger template as
oppose to the old classic ones. Second, by looking at this simpler version of the code,
you'll be able to grasp easier the main idea of how all the containers in the template
are laid out.


<body>
<div id='outer-wrapper'><div id='wrap2'>

<!-- skip links for text browsers -->
<span id='skiplinks' style='display:none;'>
<a href='#main'>skip to main </a> |
<a href='#sidebar'>skip to sidebar</a>
</span>

<div id='header-wrapper'>
<b:section class='header' id='header' maxwidgets='1'
showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Header1' locked='true' title='Testpage Two (Header)'
type='Header'/>
</b:section>
</div>

<div id='content-wrapper'>

<div id='main-wrapper'>
<b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>
</b:section>
</div>

<div id='sidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar' preferred='yes'>
<b:widget id='Profile1' locked='false' title='About Me'
type='Profile'/>
<b:widget id='BlogArchive1' locked='false' title='Blog Archive'
type='BlogArchive'/>
<b:widget id='Label1' locked='false' title='Labels' type='Label'/>
</b:section>
</div>

<!-- spacer for skins that want sidebar and main to be the same
height-->
<div class='clear'>&#160;</div>

</div> <!-- end content-wrapper -->

<div id='footer-wrapper'>
<b:section class='footer' id='footer'>
<b:widget id='Text1' locked='false' title='Blogger Template | Bordr'
type='Text'/>
</b:section>
</div>

</div></div> <!-- end outer-wrapper -->
</body>



For simplicity, ignore the code in light grey. They are either comments or 'default'
codes to make things work properly that doesn't need to be tampered with. The core
part of the codes can be sectioned into 4 parts:

1.   Header (in red)
2.   Main (in green)
3.   Sidebar (in red)
4.   Footer (in brown)

You'll see in the above that all the codes are first wrapped in the body tag, followed
by the outer-wrapper tag, then the wrap2 tag. These wrappers are used to group the
containers together so that they can be easily editted together. Using wrappers also
make placing the containers much easier especially if you want to use additional
sidebars or extra containers (such as a banner or linkbar containers as in most of my
templates). In the explanation below, I'll only refer to the outer-wrapper as the larger
wrapper without referring at all to the wrap2 wrapper. They're just the same (I'm not
even sure why the wrap2 is there in the first place).

Inside this large container, you'll see 3 wrappers - header-wrapper, content-wrapper,
and footer-wrapper. They are positioned vertically with the header-wrapper being at
top and the footer-wrapper being at the bottom. It's simply because in the code, the
header-wrapper is called first, followed by the content-wrapper, and finally the
footer-wrapper. At this point, you don't even have to know what's inside the content-
wrapper - this makes it much cleaner and easier as oppose to not having the content-
wrapper and having to deal with the main-wrapper and sidebar-wrapper together all at
once. It'll be a big mess then.

Because the outer-wrapper is the largest wrapper, you have to make sure that the
widths of all the other wrappers inside it is less or at least equal to the outer-wrapper's
width. But, if you add borders, that'll add extra pixels to whichever wrapper that
you're adding the borders too. So be careful when adding borders!

Adding a new wrapper (container) in between any of these wrappers is easy. Just
paste in a wrapper code (see below for example) and rename it with a new name, say
a banner-wrapper. The preferred='yes' command will make an 'Add Page Element'
button that'll allow you to create new widgets.

<div id='banner-wrapper'>
<b:section class='banner' id='banner' preferred='yes'>
</b:section>
</div>

Adding a wrapper only creates a new container, or block, in your blog. In doesn't set
how it's going to look or where it's going to be located. To customize how it looks
and where it's located in the blog, you NEED to tweak the CSS codes.

Inside the content-wrapper, you have the main-wrapper and sidebar-wrapper. To have
these two wrappers side-by-side as commonly seen in blogs, you have to set the
widths of these 2 wrappers such that it's equal or less than the width of the content-
wrapper. Plus, you have to add certain commands in the CSS Styling code so that
they'll sit next to each other. Otherwise, they'll just fall vertically on top of one
another. Typically, you need to use the 'float:left' command for this. See some
template examples to check more on this. If you want to add more sidebars, say a 3-
column template, you simply need to add more sidebar-wrapper code (in blue). Read
more in Tutorial 10 to know how to add or change sidebars.

Once you've understood the basic idea behind the Body code, it's easy to see now
why the common structure of the Blogger template code looks the way it is (see
below for a 3-column example). If you want to rearrange or add new containers or
wrappers, what you simply need to do is to modify the Body of the code. It's that
easy! But then, you have to tweak the CSS code to set how it's gonna look in the blog.
Tutorial 9: More Explanation about the Body Code

       In this tutorial I'll explain a bit more about some special commands that you'll see in
       the Body section of the code. Here's the sample code again below:


       <body>
       <div id='outer-wrapper'><div id='wrap2'>

       <!-- skip links for text browsers -->
       <span id='skiplinks' style='display:none;'>
       <a href='#main'>skip to main </a> |
       <a href='#sidebar'>skip to sidebar</a>
       </span>

       <div id='header-wrapper'>
       <b:section class='header' id='header' maxwidgets='1'
       showaddelement='no'>
       <b:widget id='Header1' locked='true' title='Blog Title'
       type='Header'/>
       </b:section>
       </div>

       <div id='content-wrapper'>

       <div id='main-wrapper'>
       <b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
       <b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>
       </b:section>
       </div>
<div class='sidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar2' preferred='yes'>
</b:section>
</div>

<!-- spacer for skins that want sidebar and main to be the same
height-->
<div class='clear'> </div>

</div> <!-- end content-wrapper -->

<div id='footer-wrapper'>
<b:section class='footer' id='footer'>
<b:widget id='Text1' locked='false' title='Blogger Template |
JournalBlue' type='Text'/>
</b:section>
</div>

</div></div> <!-- end outer-wrapper -->

</body>



By default, each container has to be wrapped with the div tag and a b:section tag.
Each div and b:section is 'named' with an identifier using the id command. The can be
further classified into a 'class' using the class command. This identification and
classification are useful as a reference when you want to style it later using CSS. In
the CSS code, the id command is referred to using the # symbol and the class
command is referred to using the . symbol. For example, in the CSS code, you might
see #main-wrapper {...} or .sidebar {...} which are the codes to style the main-
wrapper and sidebar. You can read further about these identification and classification
in w3schools.com

Everything wrapped inside the b:section are the widgets (also called the Page
Element). For example, inside the Header is a widget named Header1. Note that this
widget contains the code maxwidgets='1' showaddelement='no'. The
maxwidgets='1' means that the maximum widget the header-wrapper can have is 1
only. That means you can't drag a Page Element and place it below or above the
Header. The showaddelement='no' means that the Add a Page Element button will
not appear in the Header section.

In the main-wrapper, you only have the showaddelement='no' code which means
that you won't have the Add a Page Element button there, but you can still drag other
widgets and place it above or below the Blog Posts inside the main-wrapper.

In the sidebar-wrapper, you have the preferred='yes' code. This command will
create the Add a Page Element button for you to add widgets. Plus, you won't have
any limitations on how many widgets you want to add. As you already know, you can
always drag the widget to any other wrapper as long as they don't limit the amount of
       widgets to be displayed in that wrapper.

       In the footer-wrapper, there's no code following the id command. This means that you
       won't have the Add a Page Element button but you can drag any widgets into the
       Footer section.




Tutorial 10: Making a 3-Column Template and More ...

       One of the most basic desires after becoming a Blogger's blogger and using the
       standard template for a while is having the urge to find a 3-column template. So,
       here's a simple and straight-forward tutorial on how to do this yourself without going
       through too much of code tweaking.

       This tutorial is prepared assuming you understand the stuff covered in Tutorial 8 and
       Tutorial 9, which explain the basics of the Body section of the code.

       What we'll be doing to change or add sidebars is simply tweaking the XML code
       directly from the Blogger Edit HTML page WITHOUT turning the Expand Widget
       Templates on. This means that the Body section at the end of the code won't be
       shown cluttered with detailed algorithms for widgets and post data. It'll be as simple
       as it can be, which is definitely a good thing :).


       Adding a Sidebar to Make a 3-column Template:
       When you scroll down to the Body section, the code might have something that looks
       close to this example below (note that you can have slightly different variations of
       this code for different templates):

       Example of a 2-column template:
       <div id='content-wrapper'>

       <div id='main-wrapper'>
       <b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
       <b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>
       </b:section>
       </div>

       <div class='sidebar-wrapper'>
       <b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar1' preferred='yes'>
       </b:section>
       </div>
<!-- spacer for skins that want sidebar and main to be the same
height-->
<div class='clear'> </div>

</div> <!-- end content-wrapper -->

The above shows a 2-column-template code within a wrapper called the content-
wrapper which contains the main-wrapper (which contains the Blog Posts) and the
sidebar-wrapper.

To make another sidebar, what you need to do is simply go to the Edit HTML page
and without turning on the Expand Widget Templates box, paste another block of
sidebar-wrapper code (shown above in red) before or after the main-wrapper block.
For example, to make the Sidebar-Main-Sidebar column, place it before the main-
wrapper. Notice in the example below that the id of the 1st sidebar-wrapper is
sidebar1 and the id of the 2nd one is sidebar2.

Note: You also have to make sure that the width of both Sidebars and the Main
blocks will fit inside the content-wrapper and that the CSS code is properly written
for the Sidebars to lay next to each other. Some common mistakes are that one or
both Sidebars will fall below the Main block.

Example of a 3-column S-M-S template:
<div id='content-wrapper'>

<div class='sidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar1' preferred='yes'>
</b:section>
</div>

<div id='main-wrapper'>
<b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>
</b:section>
</div>

<div class='sidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar2' preferred='yes'>
</b:section>
</div>

<!-- spacer for skins that want sidebar and main to be the same
height-->
<div class='clear'> </div>

</div> <!-- end content-wrapper -->



Changing the Sidebar Location:
If you want to change a sidebar location to make a 3-column template with a
configuration of Main-Sidebar-Sidebar for example, what you need to do is place the
sidebar-wrapper block where you want it to appear.

To do this, simply go to the Edit HTML page and without turning on the Expand
Widget Templates box, cut the 1st sidebar-wrapper code and paste it in between the
main-wrapper and sidebar2 blocks. See the sample code below:

Example of a 3-column M-S-S template:
<div id='content-wrapper'>

<div id='main-wrapper'>
<b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>
</b:section>
</div>

<div class='sidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar1' preferred='yes'>
</b:section>
</div>

<div class='sidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar2' preferred='yes'>
</b:section>
</div>

<!-- spacer for skins that want sidebar and main to be the same
height-->
<div class='clear'> </div>

</div> <!-- end content-wrapper -->

Now you basically know how to add or change sidebar locations. They're that simple!
Tutorial 11: Starting Your Own Blogger Template

       Now that you've gone through all the tutorials, you're pretty much ready to start
       designing your own template. In this guide, I'll show you the big steps that you have
       to go through to make a template the fast and easy way.

       The first thing you need to understand about designing a template is that the
       technique of designing is unique and different between individuals. In the end, it's
       entirely up to you how you want to do it - if and only if you're familiar and have made
       a few templates yourself. But if you're just beginning, it's best to follow a step-by-step
       guide to expedite the process and so that you won't get lost.


       Step 1 - Choose an already-made template as a starting point:

       For beginners, the easiest and fastest way to start designing is by starting from an
       existing template. But don't do it with the intention of plagiarizing it! Read more in
       the sub-post Start Designing from an Existing Template.

       Step 2 - Setting the number and location of your sidebar columns:

       If you're a beginner, make sure you start with a template that closely resembles the
       template that you have in mind. For example, if you want to do a 3-column template,
       don't start with an existing 2-column template. Or, if you want to change or add more
       sidebars yourself, read more about how to do it in Tutorial 10: Making a 3-Column
       Template and More ...

       Step 3 - Setting the width of your template:

       The first thing you need to do after getting a starting template is to set the width of
       your template. To do this, you need to set the width in the CSS Style code. It's all
       explained in detail in Tutorial 7: Setting the Template Size. The common containers
       to set the widths are:

          body
          outer-wrapper
          content-wrapper
          header-wrapper
          main-wrapper
          sidebar-wrapper (or sidebar1, sidebar2, and so on)
          footer-wrapper

       You can either set the width to be fluid (changes its width accordingly with the
       browser or screen size) or set the width to be fixed. Note that setting the width inside
       the container-wrapper can be a bit tricky because you have the Main and Sidebar
       containers in it. If the width is not set well, the Sidebars can fall below the Main
container.

Step 4 - Build test objects:

If you're designing a new template, how do you know that what you're tweaking is
right if you can't see the changes? So, what you need to do here is build some test
objects - for example post 3 or more test posts that have a quote, a numbered list, un-
numbered list, make lots of widgets to see how the sidebars look like, make sure you
have some Labels to show up in your Labels widget, make some test comments to see
how they look, and so on.

Step 5 - Tweaking the CSS code to customize your blog's appearance:

Here is where you start tweaking the CSS code to customize the basic layout of your
blog and slowly refining it until you have the template that you want. It's a process
that keeps you going back and forth re-tweaking codes because you won't usually get
things perfect the first time. Read more detail in the sub-post Tweaking the CSS Code.

Step 6 - Testing in other browsers:

This step can get really annoying, but like they say, you've got to do what you've got
to do. Read more in the sub-post Testing and Viewing in Other Browsers.

Step 7 - Using images as background:

If you're bored of using plain color, you can use nicer images as the background of
the whole blog or the background of some of the containers (e.g. the Post, Sidebar,
Footer, Header, etc). To learn how to do this, click on Tutorial 12: How to Embed
Images as Background.

Step 8 (The Final Step) - Finalizing your template:

This step is like the proof-reading stage of your writing. You just need to go through
one last step to double check that everything works fine and okay. Look at your blog
carefully and see if some minor tweaking will make it look better.
Tutorial 12: How To Embed Images as Background

       If you look at these templates - Lasik, JournallRed, and Minimalizt - you'd notice that
       the background is not of a plain color, but made from a repeating pattern of an image.
       This image is called a background image. It can be a single large image that fills up
       the screen or a small image (say 50 x 50 pixels) that repeats horizontally and/or
       vertically. The neat thing about using, or embedding, a background image is that you
       can create any image you like and use it in your blog to make it unique and different
       from other blogs.

       A background image can be placed in any container - either inside the Body container
       (which fills up the entire screen), inside the Post, Sidebar, Comment, or even on a
       header container (say, a Comment Header). For example, if you look at the
       Minimalizt template, you'll see that the Comment Header below the post is a rounded
       green button - which is an image embedded inside the Comment Header.

       You can also use an image to create a shadowy-looking side frame (now quite
       common in blogs). See the Hazy template to see how it looks. To do this, you create a
       short background image with a long span that fills the whole width of the template. At
       the right and left edge of the background image, you create the shadowy pattern (or
       any other pattern that you want to be the frame), and embed this inside the outer-
       wrapper container, repeating it vertically.

       But, how to embed and how to repeat the image vertically, horizontally, or both in
       directions?


       To Embed Background Image:

       Say that you want to use a 100 x 100 pixels image as the background image inside the
       Sidebar1 container. What you need to do is find the sidebar1 {...} container in CSS
       Styling and add the following code in red (the other codes are just sample codes):
       #sidebar1 {
       margin: 0px 10px 15px 10px;
       padding: 0 0 0 0;
       width: 150px;
       background: URL(http://the-url-of-your-image) repeat left top;
       text-align: left;
       }

       The "background:..." code will embed whatever image at whatever URL you put and
       repeat the pattern both vertically and horizontally. The location of the starting image
       will be on the left-most side, and at the top-most position. The general command for
       embedding a background image is:
       background: URL(http://...) repeat-command x-position y-position;
All Repeat Command:

   no-repeat (the image won't be repeated at all)
   repeat (repeat horizontally and vertically)
   repeat-x (only repeats horizontally)
   repeat-y (only repeats vertically)

All Horizontal (x) Position Command:

   left (puts the starting image on the left-most side)
   center (puts the starting image at the center)
   right (puts the starting image on the right-most side)

All Vertical (y) Position Command:

   top (puts the starting image on the top-most position)
   center (puts the starting image at the center)
   bottom (puts the starting image on the bottom-most position)

				
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