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Weaver's Space Conference 2017

A few days ago, Joe Workman 'finally' released the videos recorded at the Weaver's Space Conference. The conference took place between September 1st and 3rd and many people, both participants and non participants have been impatiently awaiting the video's release and I've just been able to review them.

This year's conference was as big a success as that from 2016, with many compelling talks on subjects that will interest all RapidWeavers. Don't worry if, like myself, you were unable to visit the conference, you can still get access to the sessions by visiting the conference website.

I just took a look at the 2017 videos and I must say that I'm glad I did. They present a thousand kilos• of valuable information.
So let's take a look at what you'll be getting if you subscribe…

I was a little surprised that the videos aren't presented in chronological order, but that doesn't reduce their value. Here, in the order that they took place, is what I saw.

Day One

Creative Insights With Nick Cates. Nick has some of the cleanest RW themes on the market and during this session he explains how he goes about designing a website and why his sites are so effective. The key to a great site, as we all know, is its presentation and Nick explains how to grab (and hold) a visitors attention.
Of course, Nick couldn't get through the session without plugging Cartloom and used it for many examples, but hey! The Cartloom site is a great, effective site.
Nick also demonstrates three other sites and explains in detail why they are presented the way they are. Watch and learn.

Stacks: Novice To Pro With Isaiah Carew. You work with Isaiah's Stacks regularly, but do you really know how to get the most out of them. On the forums, we often hear how slow RW is. In this session Isaiah demonstrates what is slowing you down, why it happens and – most importantly – how to cure the problem. I assure you that I've already begun to follow his advice and even JW got to learn something new! Watch and learn.

A To Z Of Building Forms With Joe Workman. Joe's session is aimed primarily at Foundation users and he explains in detail how to build effective forms. I've observed myself, that a number of Foundation users don't really lay their forms out, but simply drag the form fields one below the other. Joe not only addresses this shortcoming, but then goes on to explain each of the form stacks in detail. And at the end of the session, there's a 'Geheimtip' a secret tip just for the conference visitors. Watch and learn.

SEO And Meta Data With Brett Carmichael. Brett begins his session by explaining the ins and outs of SSL and just how it will affect all Weavers in the very near future. He then goes on to give you detailed instructions for adding Meta Data to your site. Learn how to leverage the power of not only Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. but also Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you're not an SEO expert, get ready to take notes and take screenshots of this session. Watch and learn.

Day Two

Artful Web Design With Elizabeth Martinez. If you regularly visit the Weaver's Space, or take part in the weekly hangouts, you'll have encountered Elizabeth. If you've ever followed the links to the websites that she builds, you'll have been struck by how beautifully designed they are. Elizabeth's websites really are works of art. But not only do they look great, they are also extremely functional. Follow Elizabeth's session and learn the thought process behind her sites. Watch and learn.

Modern Web Imagery With Greg Barchard. We all know Greg from Chillidog. Chillidog supplies Weavers with Plugins, Stacks and hosting that is aimed especially at RW sites. Greg is also a great source of information for all things regarding servers. Specifically IP Servers. Probably the one thing that slows down the delivery of our websites is image content. Greg takes a look at how to reduce image size and how to deliver your images faster, he also previews a new stack. Watch and learn.

Design Every Element With Marten Claridge. We all know Marten. He provides Weavers with creative stacks and is the man behind StackCentral – a list of all stacks and stack developers – the place to go, if you're looking for something specific. Marten is also a gifted web designer. During his session Marten explains why the attention to detail is so important. The session is slow to take off, because Marten actually builds a complete webpage with you. But hang in there – the resulting page is amazing! Watch and learn.

Forms With MachForms With Dave Hidding. Dave's is a very specialised topic. Forms. Intricate forms. Weavers have a number of options for creating detailed forms, but sometimes those options are just not sufficient. If you need something more complicated, then you'll need an external solution. Dave demonstrates how to use and implement MachForms. Watch and learn.

Building an Online Course With Mathew Mitchell. Mathew's is also a very specialised session. During the session Mathew explains which applications he uses for his educational web content and how he makes his sites available the specific students taking part in the courses. He also goes into detail about how he structures his courses and – most importantly – why he structures them the way he does. Watch and learn.

Day Three

Common Sense & Pragmatism Andrew Tavernor. Andrew is probably the most pragmatic person that I know. Do you design your website with your user in mind, or do you just open up RW and begin piecing pages together? Andrew's session helps us to understand our visitors, how they approach a web interface (or life in general) and how to cater for said users. If you really want to target your audience, get ready to take notes! Watch and learn.

Managing Project Resources With Paul Russam. Paul's websites will always grab your attention and this is because Paul pays great attention to detail – not only to his websites, but also to his data structure. I have seen a great number of computer users that fill their desktop with files. Some even use the waste basket to store files. Paul gives just as much attention to the structure of his RW projects as he does to their presentation. In this session he demonstrates the tools he uses to manage a project so that each single file may easily be found. Watch and learn.

Professional Client's Areas With Jon Hawkins. Besides its developer, Jon is possibly the person that knows Total CMS better than anyone else on this planet. CMS isn't just about editing a web page's content, it's also about content accessibility. In this session Jon demonstrates how he creates the user interfaces that allow his clients to interact with their sites. Get ready to be amazed. Watch and learn.

Stacks: Pro to Developer With Isaiah Carew. At some point every Weaver has asked her/himself if it's possible to build the stack that does exactly what she/he wants. In this session Isaiah demonstrates just how easy it could be for those that have an even limited understanding of CSS/HTML. Isaiah takes apart an existing stack for us and explains each of its components. He then goes on to change the stack's function and turn it into a completely new stack. Watch and learn.

Email Design With Joe Workman. For years people have wanted to design email newsletters with RapidWeaver. Joe workman's suite of Email stacks now makes the creation of newsletters within RW possible. In this session, Joe takes a look at all of the Email stacks and gives numerous valuable tips for creating the perfect email with your favourite application. A Specialised Topic? Only suitable for Business Mails? Absolutely not! What about those emails that you send out to family and friends at Christmas and Thanksgiving, Dhu'l-Hijjah, or Songkran, etc.? Watch and learn.

Each of the video sessions is around 45 minutes in length and each is guaranteed to give you valuable tips that will either speed up your work process within RapidWeaver, help get your message across to your website visitors more effectively, or give you deeper understanding of what's going on (or what should be going on) behind the scenes.

I guarantee that no matter how long you have been developing websites, or using RapidWeaver, there is a great deal to be learnt from these sessions. And if you want more of this valuable information, the 2016 conference videos are still available too!
And if you missed the link above, here it is in plain text https://sessions.rapidweaverconference.com
*1000Kg = 1 metric ton

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Perfect Warehousing With RapidWeaver

Warehoused content keeps your RapidWeaver projects compact and reduces page loading times. We've all heard that, but uploading sites using the RW publishing controls doesn't allow us to freely access the resources folder and not everyone is comfortable using FTP software.
A perfect solution would be a secure file manager that allows you to upload your files via a browser and then to link to said files in RW.

Using Jannis of InStacks' own words Repository is the perfect solution! Judge for yourself.

Setting up Repository is a breeze. Drag the new stack into a Stacks page (it needs to reside on its own page), set a user name and password and publish.
Open up your repository directory in the browser and drag files into it, or download the files that it contains. There's nothing else to it.
Or is there?

First step – setting the user and password – Repository doesn't save passwords as plaintext, but uses a hash code which you'll first need to generate. That's simple enough – got to the Repository instruction page, scroll down to Generating your own password hash, click the link and enter the password you'd like to use. Click 'Generate Hash' and copy the result into the Password Hash field in the stack settings. Only a single user is allowed.
As a further safety precaution, Repository also has a Blacklist and a Whitelist. Lists of file extension that may, or may not be uploaded. This means that potentially harmful files will never land on your server. I tried to upload an .exe file and received an error message. Something tells me that someone is taking security very seriously here.

InStacks Repository

There is, of course, more to the setup than just entering the password hash. If you want your clients to be able to access the folder, there are a few options available in the Repository stack settings that will help improve security.

"But why would you want your clients to be able to access the repository?" I hear you ask.
Because if your images are warehoused and your client has access to them, he/she can replace them at will. And, if you've added text blocks to your project using a stack such as Embed from S4S, he/she could change the text content too!

Repository currently offers two flavours. Bootstrap, or Material Design. Both look quite attractive when loaded in your browser (you don't see a lot in edit, or preview mode), but more importantly, the user interface is functional. The menu at the top of the page includes Refresh; Search; Upload; New Document; New Folder and Logout.
It's not immediately obvious, but you can just drag files into the browser window to upload them to the server.

Text files can be edited directly by clicking the Edit button, but the most distinctive feature is a built in lightbox for images.

Stack Settings

Theme - Bootstrap Design, Material Design
Nav Back Colour
Nav Text Colour
Check Authentication - can be deactivated
Username
Password Hash
Language
Timezone
Open Files In New Window

Then follow a flurry of additional options to allow, or disallow: File Download, Copy To Clipboard, Copy/Move Files/Directories, Create Directories, Create Files, Edit Files, Delete Files/Directories, Extract Archives, Upload, Rename, Create Archives.
Show: Last Modified Date, File Size, Image Dimensions, Owner, Group Htdocs, Hidden Files.

If you need a secure File Manager, Media Browser, and Online Text Editor for RapidWeaver, Repository is most certainly a very good choice.

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File Manager For RapidWeaver

There aren't many stacks that you can simply drag to a page, publish the page and have done with it. FileMan from Stacks4Stacks is, however just such a stack. And it's useful too!

FileMan, as you might guess from the name, is a File Manager for RapidWeaver. It has many uses that aren't immediately apparent.

FileMan creates a PHP database on your [client's] website. The database may optionally configured to allow file uploads, downloads and/or deletion.

Simplest scenario: you have a number of documents that you want to make available online. Drag them to your FileMan folder via FTP and they will immediately be accessible to anyone that can log in to the File Manager page.

The next possibility is a flat CMS solution. Let's say you have a warehoused client gallery, or slideshow online and your client wishes to swap out the images on a regular basis. Once the client has been instructed how to create the images accordingly, he/she could log in to their FileMan warehouse page, delete the old images and upload the new ones.
The same applies to text files (or whole HTML/Markdown pages) that are linked to DropCMS (Free download from Stacks4Stacks) boxes, or PDFs linked to the recently reviewed PDF Viewer.

FileMan couldn't be simpler to set up – as stated above, drag the stack to a Stacks page, upload the page and you're done. As soon as you access your new page, FileMan will create a PHP database and you can begin uploading files. You may, however, wish to do a little configuration first:

Stack Settings
FileMan creates a directory outside of the RapidWeaver project. Directory Path will be the name of said folder on the server (refresh your FTP browser view after accessing the FileMan for the first time).
Login Password. Enter the password that will be used to access the FileMan Directory. Permissions – Read/Write, or Read Only.
Next the stacks panel has a number of options: Add Sample Files these may be deleted via FTP if the option Allow File Deletion remains checked before your initial upload. Allow Creation Of New Folders. Allow Direct Links allows files to be downloaded directly. Allow File Uploads allows the user to upload.

Disallowed Files contains a list of potentially harmful files that may not be uploaded to the server. You may add your own definitions to the list.
The remaining FileMan settings are for the localisation strings that you may wish to alter.

It remains to be said that FileMan – a free download, BTW – can be inserted into an iFrame and lightboxed – as demonstrated below.

FileMan

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