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Fancy Introduction To RapidWeaver

Just a few days ago, I mentioned that the one time Tsooj Media stack, FancyIntro would soon be reclothed as a Stacks4Stacks product. Well, two days ago it flattered into my mailbox.
Of course, I immediately took out my magnifying glass and inspected it! During my inspection FancyIntro was updated, so this review took a little longer than expected.

Now if you were expecting FancyIntro to be a larger, more luxurious version of Curtains (think VW Passat/Phaeton), think again. FancyIntro is an entirely different stack. More of a Mercedes AMG.

Curtains can display a line of text and opens it's curtains horizontally. FancyIntro can display two lines of text, or two images – or one image plus a single line of text (or stacks content), and opens vertically. However, if you're expecting FancyIntro to open two curtains and reveal the underlying content, you'll be disappointed. Instead, a line travels across the page from left to right, dividing the upper and lower section, then expands vertically to create a coloured page overlay. The page overlay then fades out to reveal the underlying webpage.

Having just taken Curtains through its paces and expecting similar results, it took me a couple of minutes to work out exactly how FancyIntro works. However, once you've put away the curtain concept, FancyIntro is very easy to use.

The default setting displays a white to grey gradient and two lines of text. A mauve coloured line then travels across the page, expands to fill the page and then fades to reveal the content.
Both the initial background and the line have colour settings for top and bottom, so that the line can expand to a gradient too. Obviously, the gradients don't need to be so blatant as below.

FancyIntro
I soon tried dragging two 'halved' images into both the upper and lower content wells. In the latest version of FancyIntro this is possible (the 1.0 version duplicated the upper image). Of course, with an image in both sections, no accompanying text is possible. If images are to be present in both upper and lower containers, it is recommended that they are kept as small as possible. In fact an image size of max 150px is recommended by S4S.
SVG images can be loaded as warehoused images, but be warned – if you have stripped out the pixel sizes, they will scale to fill the screen width.

FancyIntro
Stack settings

General Settings
Overlay Fill Top/Bottom. Whilst the colour palette displays transparency settings, they are ignored by FancyIntro.
Line Fill Top/Bottom
Breakpoint. FancyIntro is hidden below the breakpoint.
Line Height. Set the height of the dividing line in %.
Start Delay
Line Slide Speed
Line Grow Speed
Fade Speed. All of the speed settings are in ms and would seem to be unlimited. Hence, with inappropriate settings, you could sit all day, waiting for the dividing line to travel across the page.
Challenge Mode. The same as Asynchronous Mode in Curtains.
Hide period. Sets a hide cookie for Days (default), or Hours.

Upper Content. Styled Content (default), Dropped Image, HTML, Markdown, None, Stacks, Warehoused Image.
Offset. In %
Text Colours. Text / Shadow
Text Sizing / Spacing
Text Alignment
Text Styling

Lower Content analogue to above.

FancyIntro is less gimmicky than Curtains and is ideal for splash screens that make way for an underlying web page. Announcements such as special offers, upcoming events, or just an attractive 'welcome' message.

Comments

Pagelit Is The New Booklit For RapidWeaver

1LD just announced that the popular Booklit stack has been replaced by Pagelit. Pagelit has been rebuilt from the ground up with a focus on performance and realism using the latest web development techniques.

I used Booklit a number of times for online menus and catalogues, When I downloaded Pagelit, I didn't know what improvements to expect, but there are quite a few.
But let's start at the beginning – you may not have seen Booklit.

What is Pagelit?
Pagelit is a stack that will allow you to build an online book(let) with pages that turn when either the page, or the navigation is clicked.
Yes, there is software available that will transform a PDF into a flip book, but Pagelit lets you build your books, or magazines directly within RapidWeaver – using stacks to build the pages.

Booklit was, in my opinion, hampered by the fact that it only allow preset page ratio formats e.g. 16:9, or 4:3 etc. This limitation has now disappeared and you can build your books at any size you please – full page, if you wish – so, with the fact that you are using stack functions, you can just imagine the possibilities…

One important restriction has remained – as with most lightboxes, you can not use stacks within Pagelit that must load in an opened state when the page is parsed. Otherwise, almost anything is possible. The iFrame above displays a very simple example with images, or a single text box on each page. The page size is deliberately small at 400px x 400px. The images have not been optimised and are quite large. I have made no attempt at designing a complicated layout. The settings are otherwise the basic settings.
However, I may just publish my next book as a Pagelit book.

Due to the page ratio restrictions, Booklit's layout options were somewhat restricted and a page could appear disrupted at some screen sizes.
Pagelit has displayed no such problems in my tests – it is fully responsive – but you may wish to hide your book from view on mobile phones if you have a lot of text content.

The new page turning options in Pagelit are Book with hard cover and 'soft' pages as demonstrated above. Book with 'stiff' pages, similar to children's books and the previously available option with 'soft' Title page and content – Magazine.

Whereas Booklit could display an online option to show your books with a fullscreen overlay, with Pagelit, you will need to decide before publishing whether to display your book, or magazine inline, or as an overlay.

One useful new feature is the option to automatically add page numbers to your publication. The pagination may then be used as a navigation help, resulting in three methods of navigation – Simply by clicking on the next/previous page; clicking on the forward/back buttons, or by entering the page number.

1LD PagelitStack settings
General Settings
Type Book - Soft Pages, Book - Stiff Pages, Magazine
Page Width / Page Height
Margin Top/Bottom
Cover Size+ (%)
Navigation Page Click, Buttons, Page Click & Buttons

Page Settings
Page Rounding
Page Padding
Page Shading (enable/disble shadowing)
Enable Page Numbers
Font Size
Animation Speed/Quality
Pop Out (enable page overlay)
Loader Size / Loader Colour

The Page Child stacks also display settings when active – they will allow you to add full sized images, or a background colour to each page. Images may be local, or warehoused.

Pagelit is a unique stack for creating booklets within RapidWeaver. I can't imagine writing a 500 page book with it, but for an restaurant's interactive menu, or a product catalogue Pagelit is ideal. I'm sure that it will be even more popular than Booklit.

For further demos and a full list of new and optimised functions, list the Pagelit homepage.

Comments

Press The Right Buttons In RapidWeaver

Already a month old, I've just been able to test Press from 1LD. Press is a button stack that works with any RW theme. 'But there are dozens of button stacks for RW', I hear you say and you are correct. Press, though, is probably the biggest hit since ButtonMaker graced us with its presence a few years ago.

Press is an extremely versatile button stack that will allow you to create just about any button that you can imagine. Flat buttons are currently the mode (don't worry, fashions change and flat will be replaced by something else soon – and we'll find the new 'modern look' just as cool). 1LD acknowledges the current trend, so obviously, when you drag your first Press stack into a project, your new button will be flat and black.

Want flat with a very subtle gradient, or pill formed with a less subtle gradient, perhaps a patterned background? Not to forget Ghost buttons, of course – they're still semi fashionable; Press can do them all and more.

1LD - Press
And Press doesn't stop at simple buttons, it can build button groups too. If you need to build a menu bar of your own, design the basic button that you'd like, drag a Press Group stack to the page, drag your button into it and duplicate it inside the Group as often as you need it.

1LD Press Group
Stack settings
If I go through all of the settings available in the two Press stacks, you'll still be reading next week.
Press has similar settings to previous 1LD stacks recently reviewed here. The settings groups are:

General
Button Text
Button Icon
Button Initial State
Button Hover State
Button Active State
Animations
Advanced (Custom Classes)
Each of the above groups contains extensive settings.

Press Group contains settings for the Shared Button Styles – Group Radius, Button Margin and Button Padding.
Press group and the contained buttons are responsive, adjusting to all screen sizes. The only thing I miss is an option to display a hamburger on mobile devices.
You can read the full instructions for Press here.

1LD Press Group

Comments

It's Curtains For RapidWeaver, eeh by gum!

No, no, don't get me wrong; RapidWeaver isn't finished – not by a long shot. I mean the S4S stack, Curtains. Originally developed as Fancy Image by Tsooj Media, Curtains has now been rewritten by Will Woodgate and released as a free stack.
However, that is not to say that Fancy Intro is going away; it will be appearing on the S4S site soon with many new features.
LorumUtility is also a Tsooj Media stack that has been reworked and is now clothed as an S4S stack. Read more below.

Curtains is an animated splash screen for your more informal site. As you can see below, upon loading the site an overlay appears which will slide out of view to reveal the page below.

Curtains
Curtains is simple to use, but first you'll need a suitable image – so off you trot to Photoshop, or your favourite image editor and divide your image into two halves.
In Photoshop this is simple – drag a vertical guide into your image and you'll find that it will magnetically anchor itself to the centre of the image when it arrives there.
Hit 'C' for crop and crop the either the left, or the right half with the help of the guide. Save the cropped half and undo the last action – repeat the process for the second half.
When saving, set the jpg compression to around 4, or 5, then drag the images onto ImageOptim, JPEGmini etc, to further reduce the size.

You are now ready to drag Curtains into your Stacks page. Drop it at the top of your page so that it can load as the first stack. Now drag the left and right 'drapes' that you just created into the image wells and you're finished. Or not quite…
… In the stack's container, you'll see an intro text. Replace the text with your own greeting.

Stack settings
Start Delay sets the time that the splash screen will be displayed before the Headline fades and the curtains open.|
Fade Speed and Slide Speed can be set independently.
Cookie Expiration. It's often annoying to see the same animation every time you return to a website. Cookie Expiration can be set to n days (default), or changed to hours, preventing Curtains from reappearing during the defined period of time.
Asynchronous Mode. If async is set, the Curtains script is executed asynchronously with the rest of the page, i.e. the script will be executed while the page continues the parsing. If async is not set, the Curtains script will be executed when the page has finished parsing.
Overlay Style. The default setting is CSS Gradient. The Options are Dragged and Dropped, or Warehoused images.
Tile Images to Fill Drape. If your images are smaller than the page, they may be tiled.
Text Colour, Text Shadow Text Size, Bold Curtain Text and Italicised Curtain Text are all self explanatory.
Curtain Shadow is activated by default.

Now you're set to go!
Why the Curtains Icon is a shower head, I can't say, but Curtains is a free stack and you don't look gift horses in the mouth!
You can watch the animation above again by reloading the page.

Now for something entirely different…
You may (or may not) have wondered about the dummy text in the animation above. I'm going to tell you about it anyway!

LorumUtility
When building a new website, whether for yourself, or for a client, it's an advantage to be able to see what the layout will look like when filled with various text formatting and images. LorumUtility will assist you by quickly adding dummy content to your page.
Now, as every standard text, or paragraph stack already contains some form of Ipsum text, I asked myself why on earth I would need a stack that does exactly the same, but is otherwise useless?

Because LorumUtility is extremely versatile.
When you drag LorumUtility onto a Stacks page, you will simply see the word 'Paragraphs' in edit mode and when you switch to preview, you will find five paragraphs of the standard and complete Lorum Ipsum text (seldom beginning with 'Lorum Ipsum').
You can choose between 14 Ipsum Dictionaries, ranging from Bacon Ipsum to Yorkshire Ipsum. Cockney Ipsum is sadly missing, but here's Cupcake Ipsum:

Marzipan halvah caramels carrot cake sugar plum bear claw chocolate bar jujubes croissant pie liquorice macaroon sweet roll brownie dessert tootsie roll icing pastry muffin fruitcake tart donut cheesecake candy canes oat cake gummies soufflé dragée tiramisu gummi bears topping sweet cookie lemon drops caramel corn pudding apple pie powder biscuit danish chocolate cake candy ice cream toffee jelly wafer jelly-o cake chupa chups jelly beans gingerbread sesame snaps cotton candy lollipop cupcake applecake chocolate bonbon marshmallow soufflé apple pie sweet caramels brownie sugar plum biscuit bear claw cupcake danish applecake cake caramel corn tart lollipop marzipan!

But LorumUtility doesn't stop here. It doesn't just allow you to add n number of Paragraphs, but also Blockquotes, Headers, Images (CSS and Photos), Ordered and Unordered Lists, a Paragraph with n words, a Sentence with n words, or n number of words without punctuation.

LorumUtility Formatting will allow you to set the Colour Definition, Font Definition – Inherited, or Custom, Font Size, Paragraphing – Size; Inherited, or Custom and the Text Alignment.

If you are pressed for time and need to demonstrate a new website layout, LorumUtility will allow you to do so speedily and efficiently. You can effortlessly generate a variety of different content elements, with the option to either use the styling inherited from your RapidWeaver theme, or experiment with custom styling applied to the written content. There is no limit to the number of LoremUtility stacks that can be used on the same webpage.
The Javascript that generates the text will load a different wording from your chosen dictionary every time the page is reloaded.

Comments

Did You Ever Wonder What Your RapidWeaver Project Looks Like On A Nexus?

… or a Google Pixel, a Galaxy S7, or just wanted to check the display on your iPhone 7 without actually uploading the project?
Blisk to the rescue!
There have been a couple of dual pane browsers before, but none of them were really reliable. They would display a rendering of your website at a specific width, but wouldn't actually attempt to emulate your device. Blisk Does.

I've been using Blisk for some time now and find it to be quite reliable at showing me what my website will look like on various devices. Not 100%, of course, but my impression is 95% of the time.

I currently use a Galaxy S4. Not by choice, but I slipped and fell on my premium mobile, rendering it all but useless. I've used Blisk numerous times to simulate a site's rendering on a Galaxy S4 and have found it reliable enough to make alterations before uploading. The S4 is a fickle device and if Blisk can render a project reliably for the S4, then I'm pretty certain that the other renderings are also reliable.

You'll find that there are two 'versions' of Blisk: a standard and a premium version. The standard version works for a couple of hours and then asks you to return later for your next session. As I seldom use Blisk more often than twice a day, I find this o.k. The premium version is quite pricy at $9.99/month, or $101.88/year, but, if you use it on a regular basis, possibly worth the money.

So what is Blisk exactly? Blisk is a freemium, Chromium-based web browser that aims to improve productivity and code quality by providing a wide array of tools for Web development and testing for different type of devices: desktop, tablet and mobile. Blisk comes with a seemingly endless pre-installed set of phones and tablets in emulated mode that makes it easy for developers to test how their code renders across multiple devices and browsers. The feature is used to compare how design responds to different screen resolutions and pixel ratios. Emulation functionality enables testing page behavior in various environments without having to rely on actual devices, but emulating them directly on a PC or Mac.
As the current machine that I use for website development is a MacBook Pro, I often wondered what my sites looked like on a large screen. Now I know that they can look quite terrible!

Blisk

Blisk has a number of useful features – it can take screenshots and make videos, which are stored online, it displays errors during page load, has a page inspector and can rotate the device being emulated. Scroll sync is activated by default, so your current position on the page is always mirrored in both portions of the screen.

I suggest that, if you haven't already tried it, you give Blisk shot. If you decide to use it multiple times a day, then the time limit will be annoying, but a quick glance (directly from RW, of course; Blisk appears as one of the browsers for the preview) at how your page looks on the Galaxy Edge, is always useful.

Comments

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