Architecture: CSS Structure
It's important to understand the internal HTML file structure and styles in order to design your own CSS style for Natural Docs. If
you're content with the default styles, there's no need to read this document.
Topic: Diagram Conventions
The diagrams are designed for clarity. In the actual HTML, you'd obviously see "<table class=CDescriptionList></table>"
instead of "<table CDescriptionList></table CDescriptionList>".
- A tag with just a style, for example "CTitle", means an unspecified element with that class. Style with .CTitle.
- A tag that includes a #, for example "#Menu", means an unspecified element with that ID. Style with #Menu.
- A tag that includes a HTML element as well, for example "table CDescriptionList", means it will always be that element. You
can style with either .CDescriptionList or table.CDescriptionList.
- A tag that has multiple classes or has an "and" in it, for example "CType and CTopic", means that both styles will apply to the
same element. You can style it with .CType.CTopic, noting that the space between them must be omitted.
- A tag that has an "or" in it, for example "#Content or #Index", is just shorthand for either of those elements. The diagram
applies to both of them but only one will actually appear at a time in the output.
- A tag or style with a question mark means that tag or style will only be there in certain situations.
Topic: Page Structure
The body tag is used to distinguish between the types of pages.
Unframed Content/Index Page:
<body ContentPage or IndexPage)>
<#Content or #Index>
Content or Index
</#Content or #Index>
</body ContentPage or IndexPage)>
Unframed Search Results Popup Page:
Framed Menu Page:
Framed Content/Index/SearchResults Page:
<body FramedContentPage or FramedIndexPage or FramedSearchResultsPage>
<#Content or #Index>
Content or Index
</#Content or #Index>
</body FramedContentPage or FramedIndexPage or FramedSearchResultsPage>
Styles: Page Styles
ContentPage - An unframed content page.
IndexPage - An unframed index page.
PopupSearchResultsPage - A search results page for use in a popup iframe.
FramedContentPage - A framed content page.
FramedIndexPage - A framed index page.
FramedSearchResultsPage - A framed search results page.
#Footer - The page footer. Will be in a framed menu page or on its own in a non-framed page.
Styles: Browser Styles
around browser quirks right in the CSS file.
The browser type and version styles will be applied immediately after the body tag. However, neither are guaranteed to be
correct minor flaws and should not be heavily relied on.
> <browser type>?
> <browser version>?
> Page Content
> <browser version>?
> <browser type>?
For example, if a <CTopic>'s style is giving you problems in Internet Explorer 6, override it with .IE6 .CTopic. If a <MTitle>'s
style gives you a problem in Opera 7 but only in frames, override it with .Framed.Opera7 .MTitle.
If the browser is not one of the types below, neither this nor the browser version will be present. There's the possibility that
some obscure browser will appear as one of the others by spoofing, but the most prominent of these, Opera, Konqueror, and
Safari, are taken care of.
IE - Internet Explorer
Firefox - Firefox and anything else based on the Gecko rendering engine.
Opera - Opera
Safari - Safari
Konqueror - Konqueror and anything else based on the KHTML rendering engine except Safari.
If the browser is not one of the versions below, this style will not be present. The browser type still may be.
IE6 - Internet Explorer 6.x.
IE7 - Internet Explorer 7.x.
Firefox1 - Firefox 1.0.x and anything else based on Gecko 1.7.x.
Firefox15 - Firefox 1.5.x and anything else based on Gecko 1.8.0.x.
Firefox2 - Firefox 2.0.x and anything else based on Gecko 1.8.1.x.
Opera7 - Opera 7.x.
Opera8 - Opera 8.x.
Opera9 - Opera 9.x.
Safari2 - Safari 2.x.
Safari3 - Safari 3.x.
Because IE 6 doesn't support multiple selectors so I wouldn't be able to combine browser and page styles.
.Opera.ContentPage will apply to all ContentPages in IE because it treats it as if only the last class is there.
Topic: Content Structure
All the topics of a given file is contained in a <#Content>. All other content styles are prefixed with a C.
Surrounding each piece of content is a <CTopic> and its type; for example, CFunction for a function. Inside that are the
<CTitle> and if necessary, <CBody>. Inside <CBody> are analogues to all the top-level <NDMarkup> tags: <h1>, <p>, etc.
In addition to the top-level <NDMarkup> tags, you also have prototypes, class hierarchies, and summaries which are
described in their own sections.
<CType (CFunction, CVariable, etc.)>
<CTopic and #MainTopic?>
Code or text diagram
</CTopic and #MainTopic?>
</CType (CFunction, CVariable, etc.)>
Take advantange of the CSS inheritance model. For example, you can style all titles via .CTitle, and you can style
specific titles with .CType .CTitle.
Styles: Content Styles
#Content - Parent element containing all topics.
CTopic - An individual topic.
CTitle - The title of a topic.
CBody - The body of a topic. May not exist.
CHeading - Surrounds a heading.
CImageCaption - Surrounds an image caption.
CImageLink - Surrounds a link to an image.
CDescriptionList - A description list, which is the type of list you're reading right now. Is implemented with a table.
CDLEntry - A description list entry, which is the left side.
CDLDescription - A description list description, which is the right side.
#MainTopic - The ID given to the main topic, which is the first in the file. It is applied to the <CTopic>.
CType - A placeholder for all type-specific styles. The actual styles will be C followed by the alphanumeric-only topic type name.
So the CType of a "PL/SQL Function" topic will actually be CPLSQLFunction.
Topic: Menu Structure
Everything is enclosed in a <#Menu>. All other menu styles are prefixed with an M.
The title is an <MTitle> and will always be at the beginning of the menu if it exists. If a subtitle exists as well, it will appear
as an <MSubTitle> inside <MTitle>. Subtitles aren't allowed without titles. Most other entries in the menu are contained in
<MEntries>. Here's the diagram:
Menu sub title
<MFile (and #MSelected?)>
<a href>File</a href>
<MIndex (and #MSelected?)>
<a href>File</a href>
<a href>Link</a href>
<a href>Group</a href>
<#MSearchPanel and MSearchPanelActive/Inactive>
</#MSearchPanel and MSearchPanelActive/Inactive>
(if in unframed HTML)
The <MFile> or <MIndex> entry that's currently selected will have the <#MSelected> ID, so you can reference it in CSS via
The search panel is has its own ID, <#MSearchPanel>, but also has one of the classes <MSearchPanelActive> or
<MSearchPanelInactive> depending on whether any of the controls are selected or the results window is open.
<#MSearchResultsWindow> is separate because it may be floating.
Styles: Menu Styles
#Menu - Parent element containing the entire menu.
MTitle - The title of the menu.
MSubTitle - The subtitle of the menu. Will appear within <MTitle>.
MFile - A file entry.
MGroup - A group entry.
MGroupContent - A container for a <MGroup's> content.
MText - A plain text entry.
MLink - An external link entry.
MIndex - An index entry.
#MSelected - The ID of the currently selected <MFile> or <MIndex>.
MType - <MFile>, <MGroup>, <MText>, <MLink>, or <MIndex>.
#MSearchPanel - Contains all the search controls.
MSearchPanelActive - Applied to <#MSearchPanel> when any of the controls are selected or the results window is open.
MSearchPanelInactive - Applied to <#MSearchPanel> when not in use.
#MSearchField - The text input field of the search panel.
#MSearchType - The drop down type selector of the search panel.
#MSearchEverything - The <#MSearchType> option for the Everything index.
#MSearchResultsWindow - Contains all the search results elements.
#MSearchResults - Contains the iframe that will hold the results.
#MSearchRseultsWindowClose - The link to manually close the search results window.
Topic: Class Hierarchy Structure
Everything is contained in a single <ClassHierarchy>. Each entry is surrounded by its type, such as <CHParent>, and the
generic <CHEntry>. Depending on the context, entries may be surrounded by one or more <CHIndents>.
Styles: Class Hierarchy Styles
ClassHierarchy - The topmost style containing everything.
CHEntry - A generic class entry.
CHParent - The style for a parent class.
CHCurrent - The style for the current class, which is the one the hierarchy is generated for.
CHChild - The style for a child class.
CHChildNote - The style for when a child is added that just shows how many other children were omitted.
CHIndent - A style used to indent a level.
CHType - <CHParent>, <CHCurrent>, <CHChild>, or <CHChildNote>.
Topic: Summary Structure
Everything is enclosed in a single <Summary>. All the other summary styles are prefixed with an S.
<STitle> holds the actual word "Summary" and <SBorder> and <STable> hold the content. <SBorder> exists because different
browsers apply table padding attributes in different ways. <STable> exists as a class to separate the main table from any other
tables that may be necessary. Here's a diagram:
> <table STable>
> </table STable>
On to the table content.
> <tr SType and SEntry (and SIndent#?) (and SMarked?)>
> <td SEntry>
> <a href>Entry</a href>
> </td SEntry>
> <td SDescription>
> </td SDescription>
> </tr SType and SEntry (and SIndent#?) (and SMarked?)>
<SIndent#> exist to allow indenting. They're necessary because implementing it as nested tables, while structurally cleaner,
won't allow the desciptions to line up on the right throughout the entire summary. <SMarked> will be applied on almost every
other row to allow for tinting to improve readability.
Use the power of CSS's inheritance rules to specify styles. For example, to set the style of a group entry, apply it to
.SGroup .SEntry. However, you could also apply a style to both the group's entry and description by applying the
style to .SGroup td. Or, you could apply a style to all the entries by applying it to .SEntry. And so on.
Styles: Summary Styles
Summary - The topmost style containing the entire summary.
STitle - Contains the summary title, which is the part that actually says "Summary".
SBorder - Surrounds <STable>, since some browsers can't do table padding right. A hack, I know.
STable - The actual summary table. This class separates it from other layout tables that may appear.
SMarked - A class applied to rows that should have a slightly different color than the rest of the rows to make them easier to
SEntry - The entry (left) side of the table.
SDescription - The description (right) side of the table.
SIndent# - Surrounding entries and descriptions that are part of a group and need to be indented. Actual styles will be
SIndent1, SIndent2, etc.
SType - A placeholder for all topic-specific styles. The actual styles will be S followed by the alphanumeric-only topic type name.
So the SType of a "PL/SQL Function" topic will actually be SPLSQLFunction.
Topic: Prototype Structure
Everything is enclosed in a <Prototype>. All other styles are prefixed with a P.
Parameter Type First Style:
For prototypes such as
> void Function (unsigned int* a, int b = 0)
where the types come first.
"void Function ("
(repeated as necessary)
Parameter Name First Style:
For prototypes such as
> function Function (a, b: int; c: int := 0)
where the parameters come first.
"function Function ("
"a,", "b:", "c:"
(repeated as necessary)
Note that any section may not exist. For example, there will be no <PTypePrefix> cells generated if none of the parameters
Styles: Prototype Styles
Prototype - The style encompassing the entire prototype.
PBeforeParameters - The part of the prototype that comes before the parameters.
PAfterParameters - The part of the prototype that comes after the parameters.
PType - The parameter type.
PTypePrefix - The prefix of a parameter type.
PParameter - The parameter name.
PParameterPrefix - The prefix of a parameter name.
PDefaultValue - The default value expression for a parameter.
PDefaultValuePrefix - The prefix of the default value expression.
Topic: Link Structure
All links to symbols have a type style prefixed with L. The only exceptions are summary entries; summary descriptions use
them as well.
> <a LType>
> </a LType>
You can use this to make links to different symbols appear in different styles. For example, making .LClass bold will make all
links to classes bold, except when appearing in summary entries. You can combine this with other styles to be even more
specific. For example, you can apply a style to function links appearing in summary descriptions with .SDescription .LFunction.
Styles: Link Styles
LType - A placeholder for all topic-specific styles. The actual styles will be L followed by the alphanumeric-only topic type name.
So the LType of a "PL/SQL Function" topic will actually be LPLSQLFunction.
Topic: Index Structure
Everything is enclosed in an <#Index>. Combine with <Framed> and <Unframed> to distinguish between output formats. All
other index styles are prefixed with an I.
A - <a href>B</a href> - C ...
Heading (A, B, etc.)
Prefix, if any
Every index entry, including headings, are rows in a table. The first column of a non-heading are <ISymbolPrefixes> so that
the non-prefix portions align correctly. The other column are <IEntries>, of which there are multiple formats, described below.
<a href ISymbol>
</a href ISymbol>,
<a href IParent>
</a href IParent>
<a href IFile>
</a href IFile>
Each part of the entry is surrounded by its type, which may or may not be a link. If an entry has more than one defining class
or file, they're broken out into <ISubIndexes>.
It's called <IParent> instead of <IClass> because class entries are <ISymbols>. <IParents> are only used when the symbol
has a class. If the symbol _is_ a class, the symbol is global.
Styles: Index Styles
#Index - Parent element for the entire index.
IPageTitle - The page title.
INavigationBar - The navigation bar.
IHeading - An index heading, such as the letter for the group.
IEntry - An entry in the index.
ISymbolPrefix - The stripped prefix of the entry.
ISymbol - The entry symbol.
IParent - The entry parent class. If the entry _is_ a class, this isn't defined because classes are global and don't have parent
classes. This is why it's called IParent instead of IClass; hopefully it's less confusing.
IFile - The file the entry is defined in.
ISubIndex - The surrounding block if an entry needs to be broken out into a sub-index.
#IFirstHeading - The ID of the first <IHeading> to appear in the file.
#IFirstSymbolPrefix - The ID for the first <ISymbolPrefix> to appear under an <IHeading>.
#ILastSymbolPrefix - The ID for the last <ISymbolPrefix> to appear under an <IHeading>.
#IOnlySymbolPrefix - The ID if there is only one <ISymbolPrefix> for an <IHeading>.
Topic: Search Results Structure
The search results use virtually the same structure and styles as the indexes, except that <#SearchResults> replaces
<#Index>, there's a new <SRResult> style, and there are a few additional <SRStatus> blocks.
abide by these rules.
- <SRStatus> sections are visible by default.
- <SRResult> sections are *not* visible by default. They must use display: none.
- <ISubIndex> should be display: none when under <#SearchResults>.
Styles: Search Results Styles
#SearchResults - Parent element for the entire page.
SRStatus - Status message. Must be visible by default.
SRResult - A result. All you need to do for this class is set it to display: none. Nothing else should be set on it.
Topic: Tool Tip Structure
Tool tips may appear anywhere in the page, mainly because it's assumed that they will use position: absolute and
The entire tool tip is found in a <CToolTip> style, with a CType style inside it. CTypes are normally outside their elements, but
that would cause it to be partially visible in this case. We need <CToolTip> to be the outermost style so its visibility and
Inside there's a <CPrototype> and/or the description text. The description text has no special surrounding tags.
> Summary text
Styles: Tool Tip Styles
CToolTip - Surrounds the entire tool tip. This *must* have position: absolute and visibility: hidden for the tool tip mechanism
See also <CPrototype>.
Styles: Miscellaneous Styles
blockquote - This HTML element should surround anything that needs to be scrolled if it's too wide, like prototypes and text
How the page structure has changed throughout the various releases.
- Replaced UnframedPage with <ContentPage> and <IndexPage>.
- Added <#Menu>, <#Content>, <#Footer>, and <#Index>. They were previously shown in the diagrams as classes but did
not actually appear in the generated output.
- Removed MenuSection, ContentSection, and IndexSection. Use things like ".ContentPage #Menu" instead.
- Removed tables from the unframed <Page Structure>. Use CSS to position the elements instead.
- <#MainTopic> is applied to <CTopic> instead of <CType>.
- IE4, IE5, Opera5, Opera6, Netscape, and Netscape4 browser styles have been removed. <IE7>, <Opera8>,
and <Opera9> have been added. Gecko has been replaced by <Firefox>, <Firefox1>, <Firefox15>, and <Firefox2>.
KHTML has been replaced by <Safari>, <Safari2>, <Safari3>, and <Konqueror>.
- Removed redundant CParagraph, CCode, and CBulletList classes. Use <CBody> with p, pre, and ul instead.
- Added <CImageCaption> and <CImageLink>.
- Added <#MSearchPanel>, <#MSearchResultsWindow>, and all related styles.
- Added <Search Results Structure>, <Search Results Styles>, and <FramedSearchResultsPage>.
- Removed SEntrySize. Apply the width to <SEntry> and <SDescription> instead.
- <SType>, <SEntry>, and <SIndent#> were moved from the td and divs into the tr.
- Removed HB style. Now using wbr tag.
- Added <PDefaultValuePrefix>.
- <blockquotes> now surround elements that should scroll if they're too wide for the page.
- Removed CPrototype. See the replacement <Prototype Structure> and <Prototype Styles>.
- Removed SInGroup, SInClass, and SInSection in favor of more general <SIndent#>.
- <CTypes>, <STypes>, and <LTypes> are now completely determined by <Topics.txt> configuration files.
- <CTypes>, <STypes>, and <LTypes> no longer have separate list types. A CFunctionList is now just a CFunction.
- Indexes are now done with tables.
- ISection was removed.
- <IEntries> are only used for the entry cell, not for each entry in an <ISubIndex>.
- Added <ISymbolPrefix>, related IDs, and <#IFirstHeading>.
- Merged <CType> and <CTopic> into the same element. Must now be styled with .CType.CTopic (no space) while all
sub-elements will still be .CType .CElement (with space.)
- Added <TOPIC_PROPERTY> and TOPIC_PROPERTY_LIST styles, so they get corresponding <CTypes>, <STypes>, and
- Added <Class Hierarchy Styles> since 1.2 added class hierarchies.
- Changed the first topic from having a CMain type to having a normal type with a <#MainTopic> ID.
- Added <Tool Tip Styles>.
- Renamed HiddenBreak to <HB>.
- Added <TOPIC_CONSTANT>, TOPIC_CONSTANT_LIST, <TOPIC_TYPE>, and TOPIC_TYPE_LIST types, so they get
corresponding <CTypes>, <STypes>, and <LTypes>.
- The <CType> tags now appear arround the <CTopic> tags instead of vice versa.
- Added a <CBody> tag to surround non-<CTitle> elements.
- <SMarked> now appears in tr's instead of td's, where it belonged in the first place.
- Added <Browser Styles>.
- Redid <Page Structure>, replacing generic styles like Menu with page type styles like UnframedPage/MenuSection and
- Added <LURL> and <LEMail> link styles, since 0.91 added URL and e-mail links.
- Added <ISection> style, which is better than <IHeading> floating on its own.
- Added <Index Styles>, since 0.9 added indexes.