In this chapter, I will show you part of how Bootstrap handles layout. This will let you better imagine the look of your project and help you consider if it’s the best way of presenting your information.
Web designers typically undergo a step called wireframing, which involves drawing what the layout or structure of a web page should be. This helps determine how the information is presented and how the various bits of information interact. Because this entanglement of information is the center of wireframing, there is no focus on fonts or colors or graphics.
Wireframing, in short, is a way of forcing the web author to answer the questions regarding what they want their website to do. What do they want their users to do. What kind of information do they want to expose.
For the “Could Be” Project, there are three clear containers of information that I want to present to the user. The first is the poem itself, in an interactive format. The second is the map, showing the five locations mentioned in the poem. And the third is a container showing the information I have researched on each location, perhaps with a picture.
The ideal user in my imagination reads the poem and clicks on a place. The map then zooms to that place, and the container fills with information about that location. But I also want the user to be able to click through the places without having to click on the poem.
In my head, the best way to achieve this is by having the poem on one side of the page, and having the map atop the location information container, which has a navigation bar atop it listing all five locations. Bootstrap, luckily, has tools to help us visualize a simple structure like what is in my head.
The Bootstrap grid
Grids help organize visual content. When items on the page (including a
webpage) do not line up, the page can be confusing and tiring to read. In
Bootstrap, when a
<div> has the
.row class, it triggers Bootstrap’s grid
system, which generates a
grid that is twelve columns wide, leaving us to distribute those columns as we
The great part about Bootstrap’s grid is that it resizes itself depending on the width of the browser. For example, what might be two columns on a laptop or tablet may appear as just one column (with both columns stacked atop each other) on a smartphone.
Each column in Bootstrap is typically also a
<div> with a class that uses a
col-sz-n syntax. Here,
sz refers to the breakpoint, meaning at what
size do the columns start spreading out. The breakpoints can be
that are in landscape mode),
lg (desktops), and
n, on the other hand, is an integer between 1 and 12 that
describes how many grid columns wide the
<div> should be.
I rewrite part of
could-be.html to make use of the grid system:
<div class="container"> <h1>“Could Be,” by Langston Hughes</h1> <div class="row"> <div class="col-md-4" id="poem"> <p>Poem will go here</p> </div> <div class="col-md-8" id="places-sidebar"> <div id="could-be-map" class="map"></div> <div id="content"> <p>Info on places, that is, the content, will go here.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div>
Save and reload, and now the page is clearly split up into three parts. What’s more, at small widths, the poem will appear above the map, instead of squeezing the map.
Populating the sections with Markdown content
<section>s hold all of the content for this project are currently empty,
so I will write one markdown file for each. I’ll then use a variation on the
$.ajax() method we used in the previous chapter to feed the
content into the tabs. Importantly, however, every Markdown document has the
same name as the id of its corresponding
<section>. As a result, instead
of having to write the same call to
$.ajax() five times, we can write it
once and loop over it by creating an array on the fly made up of the tab
names. Remember that the
.url property must refer to a
document on the internet (begins with
https://, so have a quick
peek at chapter 15 to see how to setup your GitHub
repository as its own mini webserver.
The tabs now show the text for each place, as you can see here.
- Draw (by hand) a wireframe for your web project. It can have multiple pages to show how the site reacts to different user interactions.
- Populate some
<section>s in your project with Markdown.