Styling Suggestotron


  • Make our application look visually appealing


Step 1

The first thing we need to do is to go back to our original pages (index.php, add.php and edit.php) and add more HTML to turn them into complete pages:

Rather than using echo to output our HTML, we will instead put it outside our PHP, by using the closing and opening tags.

For example, index.php now becomes:

require 'TopicData.php';

$data = new TopicData();

$topics = $data->getAllTopics();
<!doctype html>
        foreach ($topics as $topic) {
            echo "<h3>" .$topic['title']. " (ID: " .$topic['id']. ")</h3>";
            echo "<p>";
            echo nl2br($topic['description']);
            echo "</p>";
            echo "<p>";
            echo "<a href='/edit.php?id=" .$topic['id']. "'>Edit</a>";
            echo " | ";
            echo "<a href='/delete.php?id=" .$topic['id']. "'>Delete</a>";
            echo "</p>";

Step 2

We're going to use the Bootstrap framework to quickly and easily make our application look great!

You can download the framework from

After unzipping it, copy the css, js and fonts directories in to your public directory

If you have any problems, please ask for help immediately.

Step 3

Now we can start by adding it to our document. In the <head> of index.php add the link to the stylesheet:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/bootstrap.min.css">

Refresh your browser and you will now see something like this:

Step 4

With the addition of Bootstrap, we can very quickly make our app look much more professional

For example, by adding a simple class to our Edit and Delete links, we can make them look like buttons:

echo "<a href='/edit.php?id=" .$topic['id']. "' class='btn btn-primary'>Edit</a>";
echo " ";
echo "<a href='/delete.php?id=" .$topic['id']. "' class='btn btn-danger'>Delete</a>";

Step 5

We can add a header bar:

    <nav class="navbar navbar-default" role="navigation">
        <div class="container-fluid">
            <div class="navbar-header">
                <a class="navbar-brand" href="#">Suggestotron</a>

Step 6

We can add other things to our header, such as an "Add Topic" button:

<form class="navbar-form navbar-right" role="search">
    <a href="/add.php" class="btn btn-default">
        <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-plus-sign"></span>
        Add Topic

There are many other Glyphicons, for example for Edit and Delete buttons, go ahead and play around with them!

Step 7

Now we can make the rest of our page look nicer!

Bootstrap's grid system allows us to use rows and columns to layout our page

We are going to change our foreach to format each topic into a <section> with rows and columns:

<div class="container">
    foreach ($topics as $topic) {
            <div class="row">
                <div class="col-xs-12">
            <div class="row">
                <div class="col-xs-8">
                    <p class="text-muted">
                <div class="col-xs-4">
                    <p class="pull-right">
                        <a href="/edit.php?id=<?=$topic['id']; ?>" class="btn btn-primary">Edit</a>
                        <a href="/delete.php?id=<?=$topic['id']; ?>" class="btn btn-danger">Delete</a>

Notice how we break out of the PHP tags for larger sections of HTML, and use short echo tags to display our data.

Step 8

The last thing we're going to do, is to add a warning for when people go to delete topics

To use the Bootstrap javascript, we need to also include jQuery, which you can get from

Place the jquery Javascript file in the public/js directory.

We then include both Javascript files in our <head> section:

<script type="text/javascript" src="/js/jquery-2.1.0.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="/js/bootstrap.min.js"></script>

Step 9

Now add the popover attributes to our Delete button:

<a href="/delete.php?id=<?=$topic['id']; ?>" class="btn btn-danger" data-container="body" data-toggle="popover" data-trigger="hover" data-placement="top" data-title="Are you sure?" data-content=" This cannot be undone!">Delete</a>

Step 10

Finally, initialize the popovers by adding this at the bottom of our file (right above the </body> tag):

<script type="text/javascript">


By using off-the-shelf frameworks, Bootstrap 3 and jquery, we are able to quickly add a professional user interface to our application, drastically improving our user experience.

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