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Srcerer for RapidWeaver

The buzzword for a few years now has been Mobile First, but how much do you really care about your mobile visitors – those that pay for their internet experience by the kilobyte?
Previously, we've seen stacks that automatically produce an image of reduced size for mobile devices. Even today we have stacks that allow the manual addition of a second image that is loaded for mobile devices, but none of the solutions to date have been truly optimal.

I have two websites online that display a full page mobile optimised image on desktop devices for a couple of seconds until the browser recognises the fact that I'm on a desktop computer and replaces the image with the higher resolution version. Not really optimal.
I previously had a stack that produced two versions of an image and loaded the low-res image on mobile devices, but, more often than not, the low-res would display on a tablet in portrait mode. Not really optimal.

What if there were a solution to load and display an image that has been optimised for each breakpoint? Well, actually there is now a stack that can do that – Srcerer from Shaking The Habitual!

Srcerer queries the browser width when a page is loaded and can deliver up to eight different images at various sizes with each image optimised for each screen width it is being viewed on. Srcerer even takes Retina displays into consideration and will deliver an optimised 2x image.
Using Srcerer means that your site's visitor only downloads (and pays for) the image that has been optimised for her/his device.

This does, of course mean that you are saddled with extra work for your site. You will need to produce, optimise and link the eight separate images manually, but there's workarounds for that too. Srcerer will automatically generate the code for linking to a folder of optimised images and an app called Retrobatch (a super efficient node-based batch image processor from Flying Meat Software) will allow you to program a workflow to automate the process (Stuart will even supply a pre defined workflow), However a Photoshop Droplet can do the same and it's even possible to resize the images via Preview.

Now personally, I'd be happy if this were the limit of Srcerer's abilities. But Stuart wasn't ready to stop programming there and has added properties to the stack that other image stacks simply don't have; Srcerer can produce cards with seven different shadow effects, Srcerer can add image captions, hover effects and blends and it can even add parallax effects. What more would you want from an image stack?

Srcerer – Shaking the habitual

Stack settings
Stuart has given detailed descriptions of each of Srcerer's settings on the homepage, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel, but instead would recommend that you take a look at the Srcerer product page.

Srcerer is not only the most advanced stack to date for delivering optimised images for each viewport, but it is also an otherwise extremely versatile image stack that I can highly recommend!
Until 9th November 2018 you can get a 25% discount with the code: sth-ninja-srcerer

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Limelighting in RapidWeaver

When 'PopView' was launched as a BWD beta a little over 16 months ago, it instantly became one of my favourite stacks. Unfortunately, I personally helped delay its release by asking too many questions and making too many suggestions.

PopView – never an especially cool name – eventually morphed into "Limelight" and was tested by others, who also had questions and suggestions and so the launch was delayed again and again until we had a stack that is almost entirely different to the one that saw the light of day. But that's just the way with BWD. An idea is born, then it is tested and re-tested until finally – and only when Andrew has decided that it is ready – it is sprung upon an unsuspecting public.

Twelve months ago Limelight was already the perfect stack for lightboxing anything – anywhere. It can display text/image combinations; it can display Google maps; it can display iFrames; heck! it can display anything and everything with lazy loading – i.e. instantaneously!

When Limelight finally received its production name, I built two pages in anticipation of its imminent release: Galleries and Tabs, but then other testers joined the fray and numerous other changes took place.

Limelight – Big White Duck

So what happened along the way?

Rob: Hi, Andrew, I have twelve images which can all be viewed within PopView/Limelight. It would be cool, if I could navigate from one image to the next.
Andrew: It's supposed to be a simple lightbox, not a slideshow!
Rob: Well that's a shame. How about the Google Maps – they take an age to load?
Andrew: Let me look into that…

Two days later and "Limelight" can navigate between images in a lightbox and Google maps are lazy-loading. I.E. if either an iFrame, or a Google map is called via a Limelight lightbox, it can be set to preload with the page and can be viewed instantly when a Limelight stack is opened.

Limelight is a lightbox stack. It will change the way you perceive lightboxes – it's the most flexible lightbox available.
Limelight comes with its own launcher and visibility stacks and can easily be launched by adding a Class to a link. It also arrives with Limelight Bar, which can add buttons or tabs to your lightbox.
You can have a Limelight that covers your page, as with regular lightboxes, or have it open within a SectionPro or a Blueprint. Limelight stacks can be nested so that one, or more can open within another*. I could probably go on for hours, but I'll let you make your own discoveries…

Limelight is without a doubt my favourite, the most flexible lightbox available. No matter what I want to display, it's there instantly. Hardly a site goes by without me having to plant a Limelight firmly within its pages. Most of the rjh-store is based on Limelight.

After numerous Limelight beta iterations these two pages have been completely rebuilt: Galleries and Tabs demonstrate some of the capabilities of Limelight and feature nested Limelight stacks.
You can receive a download link to my gallery projects free of charge, you just need to contact me.
The Tabulated content will be available in just a few days…

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Gator – 'New' Navigation for RapidWeaver

Several ThemeFlood themes have a rather special navigation bar which several users have requested be ported-over to Stacks for use in other themes such as Foundry and Foundation. Will Woodgate has complied with this request and released Gator.

Themes all have their own navigation menus built-in, but blank themes typically do not include a flexible menu. There are a number alternative navigation stacks available, but they all have their pros and cons.

A website's navigation system is possibly the most important aspect of any site design. If end users are faced with a navigation menu that's difficult to use, they will often navigate away to another website. A menu should look and feel as if it were an integral part of a completed web design; rather than giving an impression of something that was added as an afterthought!

Gator is derived from the same menu code that ThemeFlood themes have been using in for over 10 years, so you can be sure that it is tried and tested. This stack is expertly developed and includes a number of features never seen in other navigation stacks before. Particular emphasis has been placed on ease of setup, durability, user accessibility, responsive behaviour and flexible styling.

Gator – Stacks4Stacks
Gator can take the navigation links most RapidWeaver themes generate. Alternatively you can use our HTML markup as a template for custom-building your own menu structure. Menu types like tabs, nav bars, vertical blocks and even a simple multi-column mega menu are all achievable using Gator.

Common navigation problems Gator can provide a solution for include:

  • Support for multiple levels of subpages.
  • Configure the mobile / desktop breakpoint to avoid display issues.
  • Essential accessibility features for website users with disabilities.
  • Ability to hide the menu in print and PDF output.
  • Subtle mouseover animation effects for a more professional feel.
  • Quickly add additional content before or after the parent links.
  • Toggle between a horizontal or vertical navigation menu on desktop.
  • Restyle the menu to match existing theme styling or branding.
  • No irritation of having to click parent pages to reveal subpages.
  • Change link alignment within a few clicks.
  • Safe incorporation of optional Font Awesome icons, next to link text.
  • The hamburger mobile menu button is clearly marked 'Menu'.
  • Modern markup and intelligent layout with CSS Flexbox.
  • Easily handles long subpage links that span multiple lines.

Settings for Gator are split into 6 groups, ordered conveniently for experts working from a mobile-first principle:
1. General settings
2. Accessibility settings
3. Mobile menu settings
4. Desktop nav bar settings
5. Drop-down menu settings
6. Additional content

If you've tried other stacks but are looking for something different then take a look at Gator. This is a navigator stack that won't disappoint. A fully functioning free demo version is available for download. This free demo will help you experiment with all that Gator can do.

Beyond the standard set of style options provided in Gator, much can be accomplished by placing Gator inside other stacks such as 'sticky' bars and help is available for simple CSS modifications you want to make.

Gator is also available as a free variant for use in premium ThemeFlood themes, such as RWSkinz.

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Fix for RapidWeaver

Just yesterday, I reviewed a stack from the ever-growing selection of menu stacks. Today yet another of these navigation helpers flattered into my mailbox. 1LD's Fix is yet another interesting addition to this genre.

Fix allows you to add menus to your page sections. Fix menus are sticky, animated menus. This means that if you configure your menu to be 600px wide, when it reaches the top of the page, Fix will scroll over the menu that may already be there and expand to full page width.
Fix displays a row of buttons. Each button contains an icon and a text. On mobile devices a menu bar with Hamburger is displayed; when clicked it expands to display the Fix content in columns. The stack currently doesn't support javascript, so lightboxes are out of the question (at the moment). I'm sure that this is an oversight.

Fix – One Little Designer
Stack settings
General

Z Index – default 100
Radius
Max Width
Breakpoint – Tablet, Mobile
Columns – Tablet, Mobile
Gutters

Fix Items
Radius
Padding – Vertical, Horizontal
Text Size – Desktop, Tablet, Mobile
Text Font – Standard !LD options
Icon Size
Icon Spacing

Mobile Header
Text Size
Icon Size
Padding – Vertical, Horizontal

Stack Colours
As always, every element is configurable

Fix – One Little Designer
And, as always, the item child stack settings allow you to override the default settings for each item.

Fix is another of those navigation stacks that will prove to be very helpful.

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Sidebar for RapidWeaver

Weavium is churning out quality stacks at an amazing rate. Their latest stack, Sidebar, is an interesting take on the ever-growing selection of menu stacks.

Sidebar – WeaviumSidebar can be set to 'fixed'; it will then add a sliding menu to the side of your page. It can also be set to 'inline' and will then add the menu to a stack. In either case, the menu can be anchored on the left or the right side.

The interesting thing about 'fixed' mode is that Sidebar displays its own stack container into which you can drop your content. The container is responsive so that when the menu slides open, it shrinks in size to allow the menu to display.

When closed, Sidebar displays a vertical stack of icons. When opened, text descriptions slide into view. Interestingly both the icons and the linked text are contained within a button so that your visitor doesn't necessarily need to open the menu to trigger a link.
Sidebar can be configured to open on hover or, when set to open on mouseclick, a hamburger icon is displayed.

Stack settings
Open On – Toggle, Hover
Type – Inline, Fixed
Fix To – Left, Right
Radius – px
Padding – Vertical, Horizontal
Content Padding – Vertical, Horizontal
Min Height – px
Expand Width – px
Toggle Icon Size
Logo Dimensions

Sidebar Items
Icon Position – Left, Right
Icon Size, Padding, Radius, Spacing – px
Text Size – px
Icon Size, BG Size, Spacing, Padding – px

Sidebar Dividers
Spacing
Text Size
Text Weight

Colours & Fonts
We've been through all this 20 times already, I'm not going to repeat myself again!

The fact that Sidebar can be fixed to the side of the screen, or assigned to its own stack container makes it more flexible than other, similar menu stacks. A very useful stack indeed.


Sidebar – Weavium

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