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.
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.
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.
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.
TubeWeaver is now at version 3. If you have version 2, you'll definitely want to update.
Version 2 from 2015 had no customisation options, version 3 changes that.
There's not a lot to explain about embedding a video on your RW stacks page.
Drag in TubeWeaver, insert the YouTube ID and that's it. There are, however, one or two settings that you might want to change.
First off, you'll want to set the YouTube Video ID. This is the code that appears at the end of the URL.
Player Colour – The new API allows you to choose between a Red, or a White progress bar.
Autoplay – is set to No by default.
Loop – is set to No by default.
Controls? – Is set to Display by default, but the controls may be hidden for a cleaner display.
Fullscreen? – When Deny is set, the video will not display any wider than the container that it is within.
Start At (s) – Set the starting point of the video, i.e. skip an intro sequence; get straight to the nitty-gritty.
TubeWeaver is quickly and simply set up. No bells and no whistles, but I personally find the Deny Fullscreen setting to be a useful feature.
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.
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.
Theme - Bootstrap Design, Material Design
Nav Back Colour
Nav Text Colour
Check Authentication - can be deactivated
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.
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.
Type Book - Soft Pages, Book - Stiff Pages, Magazine
Page Width / Page Height
Cover Size+ (%)
Navigation Page Click, Buttons, Page Click & Buttons
Page Shading (enable/disble shadowing)
Enable Page Numbers
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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