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Just In Time – Advanced Publishing for RapidWeaver

Back in February, 2015, I compared five sets of stacks that allowed time-based publishing with RapidWeaver. One of the best of those stacks was Advanced Publisher from Tsooj Media. Advanced Publisher is now even better than before. It has been rewritten and improved by Will Woodgate and has been housed within the S4S stables.

You've prepared an article that you don't wish to appear until August 25th, or you have a special promotion that is only available between September and November and only during business hours. Or maybe you have student's examination results, or study material that should only be available to a specific student, or group of students…

Advanced Publisher from Stacks4Stacks is a suite of five PHP based stacks which will allow you to publish time sensitive content at specific times, or when a URL query is fulfilled.
Because AP is PHP based your content will never be loaded unnecessarily. It will never appear within your code until it is requested. This means that advanced users and hackers can not view your unpublished content until the defined time range has been reached, or the specific URL query has been requested.
The inclusion of the AP Secret stack gives you the option of supplying unique content to unique visitors. You can also create your own tabbed content using AP Secret, to ensure that your pages load faster.

Advanced Publisher

Stack settings

A single Advanced Publisher Base stack must be present on the page containing your AP content, preferably above the other AP stacks. The AP Base stack allows you to set the time zone that your scheduled data will appear in. The time zone can be set to 'Webserver', 'Predefined' or 'Custom'. Predefined gives you a choice of locations from each time zone around the world – including the half and quarter hour steps of some locations. If you choose custom, you can enter the zone manually, e.g. Asia/Kathmandu.

The AP Base Stack can refresh the pages content every n minutes and also has options to display or hide the preview in RapidWeaver and to display the publishing details so that there will be no surprises if you'd forgotten that a previous promotion, or article was on your page. It's interesting to note that the publishing details also include the server's PHP version.

The AP Days Stack is for stacks that you wish to be displayed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; Mondays to Fridays, or Fridays to Mondays, for instance. The settings panel contains checkboxes for the days of the week that content is to be published on.

AP Days also has a choice of settings to publish content on Even Days, Odd Days, the First Day of the Month, Last Day of the Month, Month Days (with settings for up to four separate days), Particular Month Days (with settings for the range of days) and, as with all of the Advanced Publisher Content stacks, an option to display alternative content outside of the publishing dates.

The AP Time Stack supplies the options for your publishing timeframe. This can be set to
Full Date. Full Date can be set to Display: Not Until (Start Date), Between and Only Before, With a Date and Time Range for each of those settings.
Repeatable Date has the same settings.
Hours and Minutes also has the above settings, but is restricted to a Time Range
Months also shares the above settings, but is restricted to months.

The AP Weeks Stack will allow you to publish content during different weeks. You may choose Odd Weeks, Even Weeks, Week(s) with options for up to four different weeks, Weeks (Not Until), Weeks (Between) and Weeks (Not Before).

The AP Secret Stack will allow you to publish stacks that are only accessible when a URL query is fulfilled. This means that you may either add a specific link to your page to display your hidden content, or you could give your user a page link to access specific content within your page.
The stack settings allow you to define a Secret Key and a Secret Value. Only when both are contained within the URL e.g. ["?secret_key=secret_value"], will your content be revealed.

Note: AP stacks can be nested to further refine your publishing dates. Hence, if you wish your content to appear during weeks 32 and 33, but only between the hours of 9–5, you can carefully nest your AP stacks to fulfil this wish.

Advanced Publisher 4 has been greatly improved over the previous version. Everything that was missing in version 3 has now been added. As Will himself says: It's like having a personal assistant for your website!

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

Agent – Streamlined Content Delivery

If you've used RapidWeaver for any length of time, you will at some point have added some sort of visibility stack to display/hide information on certain devices. Stack elements, for instance, that are too large to display on a mobile screen, or elements that just won't display well with IE.
Visibility stacks have been around for years and offer options like breakpoints and even browser detection. These visibility stacks, however, all have one thing in common: the hidden content is removed from view, but it is still downloaded to the browser, using up valuable bandwidth and slowing down page load times.

Enter Agent from Joe Workman. Agent is a .php based stack that queries the device being used and only delivers the data that you've determined suitable for that device's browser, drastically improving performance on mobile devices.
Agent is accompanied by Agent URL, a stack that provides either/or options. Agent URL allows you to add optional content to your page that can be viewed when the user requires it. Product information, for instance, or location information, FAQs – or even language versions.

Agent
For example: You deliver an app that can be used under MacOS, IOS and Android. Agent can detect the device being used to view your page and display a download button for the app intended for said device.
Or you have a business that caters to English, German and French speaking clients. You can place buttons on your page with options to change the page language. The neat part is that the URL query is persistent. If your visitor sets German on one page, the German language versions of you pages will be loaded when he/she moves on to the next page and the language [/location/product] preferences will usually be remembered when your client returns to your site.

Not only does Agent query the device being used, but it can also be set to query the browser type, allowing differing elements to be displayed on a multitude of specific browsers, permitting you to display a message for users of IE, for instance, that certain elements on your page will not work as intended and to please install a decent browser.

Agent is straightforward, but you will need to spend a couple of seconds interpreting the logic. The first stack settings will help you test your logic – they are preview settings and allow you to set the Device, Platform and Browser for the RapidWeaver preview. The Agent Rules are simple too; Hide, Show, or Both.
Both? When you choose Both, Agent automatically adds a child stack with IF TRUE and ELSE settings. I.E. IF this page is viewed on mobile device, display stack one, ELSE display stack two.

The Device Rules give you the options Mobile, Tablet, Desktop and Bots. The activated buttons determine which devices your content will be displayed on – not to be confused with the visibility buttons in other stacks.
Agent's Details give you options for the Platform and the Browser being used to view your pages.

Agent URL is the stack that will allow you change your page content based on user preferences. Add the stack to your page and in the settings panel, you'll find Action – show and hide settings, Rule settings, Key, Value, a Set as default value checkbox, Persistence and Preview options.

Let's say you wish to add an option for a second language. Drop your default text into an Agent URL stack and add a Key such as 'lang' or 'sprache', then a Value, e.g. 'en'. Set the checkbox to Set as default value and activate 'Session'.
Now add a second Agent URL stack with your second language. Set the Key to 'lang' and the Value to 'de' (for German). Make sure that Set as default value is deactivated and activate 'Session' once more.
You will need a button with the URL value ?lang=de and one for ?lang=en to swap languages. This value is passed on to the browser when clicked and the language of your choice will be displayed. The Session setting ensures that the preferences are carried over to the next page that your user visits.

Check out Joe's instruction video for a more detailed description.

Agent is a game changer! It will streamline your website by delivering just the information required for each device/browser combination and will serve optional content.
Go forth and make those websites more efficient!

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