About to give up

I purchased RW several weeks ago. I’ve watched a few videos to help me get started. I just want to make a simple page for my wife who is a local elected official.
So RW comes with several themes. They seem nice but none seem to be exactly what I’m looking for. Many of the themes won’t let you change their banner images, (I don’t want a picture of feet or of a bridge). I can’t adjust the size of my images. They don’t say the recommended image size.
I feel like I’m missing something. Do people really use this? Why can’t I more or adjust anything?

I’ll try to reply more fully tomorrow. But … you can do tons with RW. However, you really need to consider adding some essential components. Here are the considerations:

  1. Stacks. Get Stacks. Without it you won’t be able to do much. Your frustrations will continue.
  2. Framework. Get a framework. Yep, more money. RW, like WordPress, is theme driven. There are lots of third party themes out there that give you much more flexibility. But frameworks really open things up even more.

So where do you start with frameworks. There’s a few great ones: Foundry, Foundation, and others that don’t start with an “F” letter. But as a beginner I probably would recommend getting started with Source. It requires Stacks. There’s a free version which might be enough for your needs. The “power” version is only $25. Later you might want to get another framework, but this is a low cost way of dipping your toes into the water.

Here’s the link:

You’ll surely get other recommendations as well. But your initial frustration with the themes that come standard with RW is pretty justified. (I don’t remember the details of those themes, but I do remember they are pretty limited: and are NOT a reflection of what can be done with RW)


Hi @binks - I have not been doing this long, but I suspect you are more of a candidate for something like BLOCS (since you are a Mac user…), as from your post, your requirements are a simple site, and you seem much more at ease with a mouse-driven graphical approach to creating pages. RW is a very powerful tool, but it is vastly more productive for the 80% of us who don’t code (and have not invested in an html and css skillset), when those who have on here code up capabilities (stacks) that can be modified by parameter changes. Having said that, if your needs evolve to a diverse set functions on your pages, then you will be back here looking for those stacks! :slight_smile:

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PS - I do agree with the advice above from @Mathew above though as from my limited experience, this must be close to the lowest cost entry point to be productive with RW

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Thanks guys for the help. It is good to know that there are people that can really use this.
So I’ll buy Stacks. I think it is $50. I should have kept that coupon that they gave me when I purchased RW. I didn’t think I’d need a coupon to buy something more.
After I get Stacks I’ll need to get Frameworks? Can I use Frameworks without Stacks? But then I’ll need to get Foundry, Foundation, Source or Blocks?
So I need Frameworks to use Stacks to use RW… I’m worried I’ll end up putting more money into something that is going to be too complicated for me, a casual user. I thought I was pretty computer savvy but this is humbling. I’m not trying to make a career out of this. My wife is a musician and a politician and I’m trying to help.

@Binks My reply was quick and a “starter” as a reply. It’s a pretty nuanced issue and I see others are already in the process of replying also. You don’t NEED a framework: there are some very adaptable themes. But, in my opinion, you do need Stacks. BTW, themes cost money just as frameworks do … but typically less money.

… and yes, it can seem a bit overwhelming at first. It’s getting off to a good decent start that is important. Hang in there … some more good advice seems forthcoming in the next couple of minutes.

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@Binks Before you receive the hard-sell and pressurised into buying lots of additional addons, I would urge you to search out some free or low cost themes and get familiar with the basics of using RapidWeaver first.

Otherwise this could quickly become extremely expensive for you and even more complicated / frustrating. Apply the brakes and take a step back.

Granted, the free themes that ship with RapidWeaver 8 are not much to get excited about and very limited in their capabilities.

However if you use your preferred search engine, there are some very good free RapidWeaver 8 themes out there from other vendors that let you do all the basics (like changing fonts / colours and swapping banner images for your own).

I am not anti-framework. But the trouble is that a large proportion of the websites I see some people building with blank frameworks in RapidWeaver are total junk! It’s depressing to witness and I sometimes have to question their tools of choice, over using a normal theme.

This stems from the fact most frameworks (for any platform, not only RapidWeaver) require that you already have a “designer eye” and a knowledge of web designer basics - ranging from colour schemes, to typography, to page layout, and everything else.

Whereas if you start with a conventional theme (which is how RapidWeaver was originally conceived to be used) then all the hard work and much of the design process has been done for you already. Simply fine-tune your website styling in the theme style settings, add your content, add some custom banner images, and then you are pretty-much ready to publish.

Once you have got a basic website live and you are wanting to flex your RapidWeaver skills some more, then of course, you can move onto exploring the excellent Stacks plugin or some of the many blank frameworks available.

But for a total novice / beginner, I would urge you to stick with the basics for now. RapidWeaver 8 is capable of creating a decent enough website, without needing to spend the same amount again (or more) on addons.


I agree with Mathew - you need to purchase STACKS (not Blocks) and a framework. All three that he mentioned are excellent and include the components (also, maddeningly called “stacks”) needed to build a nice website. You can think of stacks (the components) as Lego Blocks for your website (menus, columns, images, accordions, etc.), but they require STACKS (the engine) in order actually work.

So, to start, you can purchase Stacks from YourHead.com and download the free Source theme and 13 stacks from Source. You might (probably) will want to purchase the Add-on stacks down the road, but they aren’t required.

Of the three, I’d suggest that Foundry is the easiest to master. You might want to view a few of Adam’s videos before making a purchase. Getting Started. First Steps, etc. The base edition of Foundry is a good start, but more than likely, you’ll eventually want to purchase the Add-on stacks.

Foundation might be the most difficult to master, but at $100.00, it comes with all of the stacks available (no add-ons, because they are all included). And, Joe is constantly fine tuning (releasing updates for free), has a ton of videos on his site, and I know is currently editing over 20 more on how to use Foundation. The two videos on his site that I’d start with are: Foundation 6 for RapidWeaver Preview #2 and #3. I build most of my sites in Foundation - a couple of nice examples can be seen here and here.

EDIT: After reading Will’s post above, I agree with him, too. He makes some excellent themes that do not require the Stacks plugin. For what you’re doing, one of his themes might be just the ticket you’re looking for. And, his reputation for assisting users is legendary. If a theme on his site strikes your fancy, you won’t go wrong buying it.

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Gerry @Binks,
Follow Wills @willwood Advice.

start slow you can spend a lot of money on stuff you’ll never use.


If you are only going to be building a single, and by the sounds of it, simple page for your wife’s concerns then you really don’t need to be worrying about a framework.

You bought RW. That is the cost of admission to use Stacks. Forget RW per-se… it’s just the container that allows you to install the Stacks plugin - with which you get the kind of design/layout/ control that you were probably expecting.

Next, practice messing around in Stacks. Practice putting text and images on the page (just use any theme right now). Get a feel for the plugin and the control it gives you. Practice with columns and simple layouts.

Next, go take a look at themes sold by Will Woodgate, Elixir, Nick Cates Design… reputable theme vendors… find one that you and your wife like the look of and can visualise your content being displayed in. Buy that theme and make a start to building out your pages in anger.

For one site, thats the approach I’d recommend. A quality theme like Flood (Will) or Ruby (Elixir) or Strata (Nick Cates) gets you a very long way in these circumstances as it will protect, to a degree, the qualities (visual refinement, styling consistency, layout composition) that I think you might struggle to generate on your own at this early stage. Don’t choose a theme though then immediately start fighting with it… go with it… the chances are the theme designer got it more right than you are going to for a while yet. Thats another rookie error … buy a theme for $59 then spend six weeks trying to change everything about it! Don’t do that, pick one you like then trust it. Use the theme settings and only resort to custom fixes when necessary. When you need custom fixes that the dev won’t support or provide… come back here and ask.

Most of the novice generated sites I see using any framework are just junk, don’t go there, at this stage let a quality theme (which bears ZERO relationship to the garbage that ships in RW) do a lot of the work for you.

When you feel ready to buy and learn a framework, you’ll know about it.


hi Dave just a heads up on this link - https://suwaneefest.com - which spins and spins?
I never got to the site…

@anugyan That link is working fine for me and I have a modest connection speed. I’m using Safari. Maybe a browser issue? Or temporary glitch?

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Thanks, @anugyan & @Mathew - it popped right up for me too. I checked it using IE11, Edge, Chrome and Safari. Well, “popped up” might be a misnomer - it actually takes about 1.5 seconds to first paint and 3 to fully load, thanks to the background image and JS that makes the boat rock and air bubbles. I wish I could get it to load faster, but the header is important to the client.

Thanks so much for all of the great advice. I’m really impressed with everyone’s responses. Of course there are many opinions to consider. I’m not afraid to spend more money as long as it helps. I’ll keep working with it and see how it goes.

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Hi Gerry, I have been using Source which is fun to use and free to start with. Stuart is very fast with support and generous with his help. He has some excellent tutorials which guide you through the process of building a site. You can make simple to complex sites with it. Give it a whirl! - and its fun too…


Don’t give up @Binks! You will definitely be able to build the site that you want with RapidWeaver. From everything that has been said I do think investing in one of the great themes available is a good choice for your particular needs/situation.

That said though I have put together a blog post about some of the things you do need to consider if/when you do want to make the jump to Stacks.

(I tried hard to be as neutral as I could with this as want it to be as genuinely useful as possible. Happy to add / amend anything if anyone has feedback)


Hi Stuart,
thanks for the extrawork with the blog post. Very good for beginners. You might perhaps consider adding Platform to the list of frameworks. I have built several sites with it and it comes with a very complete set of stacks including tiles (a cool grid system) PDF embed, Parallax etc, tables and csv tables which work nicely. Also some prebuilt pages for free which are a great starting point to see how the framework works and these can be easily tweaked to own needs. Your Source is also great - didn’t have the time to build a page with it, just played around. Just a suggestion…
Thank you.


I would advise you to do one thing… Listen to Will Woodgate. Trust me.


It might be worth watching Realmacs v7 beginner’s course
Joes Workman’s Back to the RapidWeaver Basics

Rapidweaver is not intuitive coming from a coding environment. RW is based on Themes, all Frameworks also work off a theme because that is what RW was built as orginally. You bought a theme (or used a free one supplied with RW) and changed it to build your site. What you could change was dependent on the theme. All the editing you get to do is essentially editing a theme, be it tweaking a fully developed theme or buidling every aspect off a blank theme using a framework. The frameworks tend to come with a blank them and use stacks to add far more funtionality to the theme. Stacks is a plugin that allows stacks developed by a large variety of developers to increase the functionality of what you’re building. When you buy Stacks you get a new stacks page type that you can use all your stacks in.

This means that without theme’s or stacks you are only going to be able to build really basic websites. If you watch Joe Workman’s video linked above he highlights the reality that nearly everyone uses stacks to build websites. Stacks plugin allows you to buy stacks to increase the functionality of your site. For example, you may want to add a video banner, well there’s a stack you can buy for that, or perhaps you want to add social media to your site, well there’s a stack for that. These stacks don’t come with Stacks, but can be purchased from third party developers to work with Stacks. To give you some idea, when my system loads I have some 1500 stacks. The good news is that most developers do sales during the year especially black Friday where you can pick up more stacks. There are also some on during this COVID-10 period.

It might be worth your time to work out what functionality your website needs and see if a theme will suffice or what stacks you might need. The benefit of frameworks is that the developer of the framework includes their own stacks for you to be able to build pretty fully featured websites. CMS take that one step further by allowing you to have a fully functioning CMS. Each of these is going to cost you increasingly more.

Will Woodgate makes a most important point. A professionally created theme will serve you better than a hacked together framework. Frameworks require far more skill especially in design.

Hope that helps.

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I also I did a part 2 to that video that many new users love. It’s in the Live stream playlist on my YT channel