Introducing Jumpstart Vegas

By: Sheri German

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Having just attended TODcon in Vegas, I can tell you that everything glistens and shines there. No one sleeps in this quintessential party town. Shows and entertainment abound, and the hotels each have a schtick. One might accurately call the place a paragon of excess, and keeping that in mind, we offer you a new JumpStart that is crammed with features. We proudly introduce CMX JumpStart Vegas, designed by Fireworks expert Linda Rathgeber, and coded by CSS guru Stephanie Sullivan. Flash slideshow, FlashObjects, sIFR, a complex form, the glitter of a golden design--it's all there, ready for you to adapt for your own sites.

CMX JumpStart Vegas
Image 1: The Vegas CMX JumpStart home page. Click the image above to see a larger view. You can see the form page later in this article.

Like all of the CMX JumpStarts, the pages are constructed using valid XHTML 1.0 markup and formatted using valid CSS 2.1 styling. Vegas also follows the WAI and Section 508 accessibility guidelines to provide you with a solid foundation for your work and give your users the best experience possible.

What does Vegas include?

Now let's look at what the Vegas package includes:

  1. An extension for Dreamweaver MX 2004 allows you to easily copy all the files you need to a defined site so that you get a quick start. After installing the extension, you'll find a CMX JumpStarts category in the left column of your "New Document" dialog box. Vegas will appear in the right column, and if you acquire other CMX JumpStarts, their names will appear there also.

    Note: While all of the pages and files included will work in any version of Dreamweaver, or any other HTML editor, the extension to install the design into the New Document window will only work in Dreamweaver MX 2004.

  2. Paul Newman's bundled Flash Slideshow article also gives you the CMX Flash Slideshow extension and thorough directions for using it.
  3. Once you select Vegas in your "New Document" dialog box, you'll choose a "save" location and the CSS and XHTML files that will serve as your starting point will appear in your defined site's folder. The default images will also get added to the folder.
  4. Vegas includes both a commented and uncommented version of the main style sheet, as well as a design time style sheet (DTSS) to make it easier to edit the form page in design view.
  5. You get the original Fireworks PNG file so you can customize and brand the pages with your own color scheme, logo, text, and images. All layers in the PNG file are organized and labeled so that it's easy to make any modifications you need.
  6. The source png also includes a hidden layer with a color palette that you can modify to store your own colors for a customized color scheme.
  7. Also included are the source Flash files for the slideshow.
  8. A slides folder includes the sample images you see in the Vegas JumpStart.
  9. Vegas includes slides.xml to provide you with a "dataProvider" you can easily modify with your customized list of slides.
  10. Finally, so that your pages validate for accessibility, we include the FlashObject JavaScript for embedding Flash movies.

Tip: There are no restrictions on the number of sites for which you may use the Vegas layout. Apply it over and over again to create unique pages: you are limited only by the boundaries of your imagination.

This is a lot of features, and thus the bundle comes with 13 tutorials that will help you understand how to modify Vegas for your own sites.

What tutorials and extension come bundled with Vegas?

For those of you who want to understand how Vegas was built, the package comes bundled with all the tutorials you'll need to deconstruct it.

What is included in the Vegas documentation?

In addition to the bundled tutorials, Vegas comes with specific directions on how to modify its starter and form pages. There is documentation for the following:

  • Adding the FlashObject Javascript
  • Using sIFR for custom fonts
  • Customizing your slideshow, or using a static image instead
  • Understanding how the page was built in Dreamweaver
  • Understanding the hacks needed to ensure consistent rendering in multiple browsers
  • Adding your own masks to the Fireworks source png
  • Understanding the skip to content link
  • Working with Linda Rathgeber's Fireworks source png file and slicing/exporting images

Note: Vegas is the eighth in our series of CMX JumpStarts Dreamweaver templates. We will continue to diversify our features and layouts so that you will always be able to find a design to fit your needs. If Vegas does not suit your current site, perhaps you would like to look at these JumpStarts:

CMX JumpStart Paris is a two column fixed-width layout with the popular tab navigation feature, and it includes a starter page and a form page.
CMX JumpStart Seattle has a home page with four floated boxes, and two column, fixed-width inner and form pages that include accessible, list-formatted navigation.
CMX JumpStart Aspen is a three column liquid-width design that includes floats, fixed and absolute positioning, background positioning, styled lists, and a base page and a form page.
CMX JumpStart Northpole was our free 2004 holiday gift to the web community. It is a two column, fixed-width design that uses clever deployment of background images in both the navigational elements and the content areas of the design. The images make use of the CMX black line art series for Fireworks.
CMX JumpStart Liverpool includes a two-column fixed-width layout with navigation on the left and a main content section on the right. There is also a little twist to the content area: its lower section is split into two columns, while the upper section spans across both of these columns. Additionally, Liverpool includes an authentication system based on access levels, and provides files for ColdFusion, PHP, ASP, and .NET versions.
CMX Jumpstart Venice is a three and two equal-height, rounded-corner column design. It uses faux column technique to give the illusion of equal columns.
CMX JumpStart New Orleans is a hybrid CSS Flash layout that includes a Flash MP3 player, the use of wmode, the FlashObject JavaScript to retain accessibility, and a jazzy design.

You can see that the package includes everything you need to get you started, as well as to turn the Vegas CMX JumpStart into a rich CSS (with a little Flash) learning experience.

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