Data View formatting: the basics
I'm very happy to say that formatting a Data View works exactly the way you'd expect/want - you simply select the field you want to format, use the HTML formatting toolbar and voila: 'it just works'.
a quick example:
let's say you wanted to highlight the Title field in yellow. First you would select that field in the Data View. You can see in the image below that the design surface gives you some visual feedback (the orangish selection of "Test2", 3 and 4) that any formatting you do will affect every record of your data source.
Next, you would use the highlighter button in the toolbar:
That's it, that's all. You're title field is now highlighted yellow. And of course it's all data-driven, any new records added to this data source would get their Title field highlighted as well.
On first blush, this seems kinda obivous - I mean, how else would it work?? :) That's what makes the Data View so cool (imho), it allows one to create data-driven web pages exactly the way you'd expect to. Most other tools I've seen for creating 'views' of data, be it for client or server apps, have one work with a less intuitive, less wysiwyg experience. Typically, one doesn't get 'live' data in the design surface, nor is the formatting so direct.
Next up I'll show you some more interesting formatting you can do to the way the data itself is presented.