Anatomy of a Semantic-UI Template: Cover

The official document of Semantic-UI says little about learning how to use Semantic-UI. Examples are given, but they are code only. None of them are described in detail.

I usually learn programming language by examples. Not only read the example code, but also write the example code from scratch. This way I can understand every single line of the code. I would like to use the same way to learn Semantic-UI.

The first example I want to learn is Cover template. You can find the source code here. To examine the effect of every single line of the CSS code, you can use this convenient tool.

First, I remove all the CSS code to get a semantically meaningful HTML file. THe HTML code can be roughly divided into three parts. They are a navigation bar, main content, and a footer, respectively. This plain HTML file is cover-plain.html.

Next, I, one by one, add CSS classes, which are provided by Semantic-UI, to each element. You can see the effect of every class by using this[convenient tool again.

Two important components

Read the cover-plain.html line by line. Two important components are observed. They are and .

A vertical segment

The official definition of is

to create a grouping of related content.

What does this mean? I use Developer Tools to examine the the element decorated with . Important properties of are:

{
position: relative;
margin: 1rem 0;
padding: 1em 1em;
}

Applying (this class often applies to a block element) inflicts padding, , and to an element. It also sets to . Then descendant elements can be positioned relative to that element. Therefore, a segment is suitable to contain other elements.

One other important property is:

.ui.segment:last-child {
margin-bottom: 0;
}

It removes bottom margin of the last child element.

A can be combined with as stated:

A vertical segment formats content to be aligned as part of a vertical group

In fact, it will remove margin, left padding, right padding and bottom border for an element.

An segment

As explained in official document, an segment have its colors inverted for contrast. However, this class does not apply to descendant elements. It should be added to descendent elements to keep visual consistence. For example, the element in the has to be decorated with . Otherwise, the color will not be consistent.

Custom CSS code for layout

There is custom-written CSS code inside tag. Most is for formatting text, color, and space, etc. It is not explained here. However, two points are worthy of mention. The first one (denoted here as Rule 1 for convenience) is:

.ui.inverted.vertical.segment { 
height: 100vh;
background-color: rgb(51, 51, 51);
}

Rule 1 selects the outer-most element that encompass all other elements. This block element, by default, takes up all width of the viewport. The code then sets this outer-most element to take up all the height of the viewport. In addition, when you type these code, you can find that the height of the is the same as the height of the outer-most element. The selector selects both the outer-most element and the element. You can thus find an undesired scroll bar beside the page.

The second one (denoted as Rule 2) is:

.ui.inverted.vertical.segment footer.ui.segment {
height: 80px;
width: 100%;
position: absolute;
bottom: 0;
color: gray;
}

This instruction fixes the element at the bottom of the page. Since this instruction appears after the above instruction, it overwrites the height of the element. That is cascade. :) The layout seems perfect.

A stupid mistake I made

Add Rule 1 only to tag. You can find that a scroll bar appears. This is not the expected behavior. At first, I thought it is caused by margin collapsing. However, it is NOT. It is just because the Rule 1 selects both the outer-most element and the element. Next time I will check the selector more carefully.

A trivial rewriting

Rule 1 selects multiple elements. I think it is better to make Rule 1 apply only to the outer-most element, since only the outer-most element has to take up all height of the viewport. Rewrite Rule 1 as follows:

div.ui.inverted.vertical.segment {
height: 100vh;
background-color: rgb(51, 51, 51);
}

Add to the Rule 1 selector part. You can have various ways to do this, such as using a ID selector. The point is to apply Rule 1 only to the the outer-most element. I think it now more semantically clear.

Rule 2 is rewritten as:

.ui.inverted.vertical.segment footer.ui.segment {
width: 100%;
position: absolute;
bottom: 0;
color: gray;
background-color: rgb(51, 51, 51);
}

Now the height of is determined by browser, not by the user. However, the background color has to be explicitly designated in two places. This not a good approach. I guess a better way to set the is to use Theming. Then you can get a consistent background color.

Features of the Cover template

Now I can list the features of the Cover template

This template is a one page design that can be seen in a glimpse. The page occupies all height of the viewport. Users don’t have to scroll down to read.