Asking ex-Serif users (or familiar w Web Plus) about RapidWeaver


(Brien Engel) #1

I did a search on the forum and found very little. Also wrote to RapidWeaver, and they need time to respond if they do. I am in a place some might be familiar with. I will turn blue and die before Serif makes “Affinity Web.” When I think of the stuff they design that really goofs up, them not me, I have to give them a lot of credit for their products especially considering price. But I can’t help but notice that EVERYTHING in native Mac is stabler and much more fun to use. The Affinity stuff included, but no web editor…

So here I am. Things are getting messier managing my site, as expected. I’m trying to make it so the emulator is a choice, not necessity, and I am reluctant to upgrade WebPlus, XP is over, Adobe is the mafia. Where to turn?

If anyone has worked extensively with WebPlus, I’d love to hear about your comparisons with RapidWeaver. I need to match functionality in most respects I am familiar with, as one who only occasionally pulls code and inserts, not really understanding what they are doing – but also can host their own movies, can embed youtube as well, installs music buttons, and moves graphics and other elements around and sees a nice directory showing me how my site pages are mapped out. Just the functions that WebPlus gives you. You can visit my link if you like: www.glassharp.org

The other thing I wrote to RapidWeaver about, is to check that I can import my entire site into RapidWeaver and it will construct a whole new local directory for me and I can go from there. I wrote also, I would not be surprised if I needed to do a lot of fixes and cleanup as it is translated into RapidWeaver’s ways and in the native Mac environment. I would not expect it to look perfect at all.

Am I finding a good match in RapidWeaver if I am using WebPlus for years (up to WebPlus 6). As functional, or better, is the question. And if it’s close, but I’ll miss this or that little thing, I’m curious to know. I can accept a few compromises.

Thanks for responses! – Brien


(Greg Schneck) #2

Hello, I’m not familar with “Serif” or Web Plus but I will comment on RapidWeaver (RW). The only thing you can import into RW is older RW projects. You can, of course, paste in snippets of code and you can can save specific types of “snippets” in RW itself. And you can copy/paste of course. Copy is supplied to me in OSX Pages files and I have hundreds of pages successfully using this pasted styled text from “Pages.” There are down sides to that. Ideally you want “styles” to set everything, not the format of the pasted code. But my case is odd in that I receive the completed and formatted copy in Pages.

RapidWeaver itself is a “core” or “frame.” The real beauty to RW is all the 3rd party add-ons. In my opinion that is where all the creativity and help is at.

So basically, you select a site Theme and then you start building pages. Your needs will dictate which 3rd party plugins you ending up getting. Some are quite extensive (Stacks for example) while others may do one simple little thing like putting a badge or Notice in a specific corner, etc.

You can also build your own Theme from scratch. In my estimation the most important thing to happen to RapidWeave is “Stacks.” If I were starting a site from scratch (and with limited knowledge) I’d get a Theme, and then build pages with “Stacks.” If every page is a “Stacks” page you have limitless add-on possibilities.

But if you use something like the built in RW “Blog” type page you are very, very limited as to what you can do with it.

It has “smart publishing” which I hope Realmac disables soon as I like to control my own publishing. It will add the files you change (to your site) but if something goes wrong it’s then really hard to “convince” it to update the same page agian as it thinks it’s already done so. I try to work mostly by outputting my files to local disk and then FTP’ing up to my server so I KNOW what files are uploading. You also need FTP program to delete files as RapidWaver does not show you your server files. You are “flying blind” based on what it THINKS is on your server but RW does not ever delete anything. If you delete a page in RW it stays on the server so you must manually go delete it.

So… it’s pretty easy to use once you get the concept. I personally find the documentation not too helpful. But you’ll have to build all your pages from scratch I believe.

That’s my experience… yours may vary.


(Brien Engel) #3

Thanks very much Greg for all the thoughtful information. I do not use the Serif’s express publishing to my site, preferring, as you, to use an FTP program (I use Filezilla).

In the present, Serif shows me its own architecture of my site which I then publish page by updated page to my local directory. Filezilla shows me that in one window, and the server’s version in another alongside. That part then, is looking manageable. But the non-importing is a bit of a strike against, even though I think my own site is looking very cheesy these days and could use an overhaul. I sorta wish it wasn’t being forced into that job but considering the general difficulty of this problem, I might have to find the most functional software and copy/paste a lot in the re-design.

Appreciate your info concerning 3rd party enthusiasm and increased functionality, esp. Stacks.

Thank you again. – Brien


(Rob Beattie) #4

I think you’ll find it a tremendously different experience.

Rapidweaver is nothing like WebPlus or Xara’s Web Designer which employ a sort of WYSIWYG approach to building a site. With RW you build in Edit mode (there’s still plenty of drag and drop) and then switch to Preview to see what your site looks like. I’ve always rather liked this, since once you’ve got into the swing of things I find it a very easy way to work, but if you’re not used to it, it can seem pretty unintuitive.

That said, the quality of the third party themes on offer from RW developers is very, very good and I’ve no doubt that if you’ve bent Serif to your will you’ll be able to do the same with RW. The addon community is fantastic and one of the main reasons RW has such a rich a thriving ecosystem; this forum is one of the most friendly, helpful places you’ll come across when building a new site.

Sadly, you won’t be able to import your existing site into RW - not in any meaningful way - but as you say, it’s due for a good wash and brush up, so why not cut and paste the content and imagery you need + any codey bits for embedding videos or whatever, and then build the rest from scratch? You may find it’s a good excuse to trim and re-organise your site and you’ll certainly come out the other end with something to be proud of.

I’d go for it. RW’s a bit quirky but it’s capable of producing professional level, responsive websites that support everything a modern website should; it’s good for SEO and there are 700+ addons available which will cover almost everything you can think of.

Rob


(Brien Engel) #5

Thank you Rob! It seems down to RW or Flux which I looked into a little today. What I like over Flux is exactly this world of participation and third party enhancement. I see that RW is not as WYSIWYG and there is more emphasis on templates, which you then can change up a bit. But a page in Web Plus is nothing like it looks online either, you also have to toggle to appreciate what you are doing. I’m guessing that a RW page in edit mode might be a little more strange but the way you described the back and forth to preview, yeah I could do that. I also saw on a review site that some of the third party apps can give you more manipulation of objects like I get with Serif (“stretching, re-sizing”). Once I have various objects in an arrangement I assume I can group and copy the lot and paste to other pages. Don’t like the start-from-scratch, although yes it’s not like I don’t have content I can just re-paste. Lotta work… could be a new look though and worth it. Great info again! Thank you. – Brien


(Greg Schneck) #6

There are a lot of great things about RW that allow for duplication. The great thing about Stacks is that you can use a stack as “stand alone” item or you can define it as “global” and drop it on every page. Change the stack content on any one page and the content updates on all pages. Of course you still have to upload each page, the html isn’t built “on the flyh” as they are with php includes. And you can put stacks in stacks and then define the whole lot as a user stack. This user stack then shows up with all other stack tools so you can then just select it and drop it onto you page.

Generally, however, I just make a “common” “type” page (like a “report” page, or “store” page) and I just duplicate that page. You can also drag complete pages from one project into another.

If you have lot’s of common “types” of pages, once you have one designed all the rest are pretty easy to dup and tweak with new content only.


(Fred Dalzell) #7

@brienengel, While I haven’t used WebPlus, my ham radio club had and was suffering because some bugs they had were fixed in a later version but they didn’t have the funds to keep upgrading. These bugs (I don’t have details) apparently caused some data corruption and they decided to streamline the site until they could figure out what to do.

Well, I opened my big mouth and offered to help update it, but I wanted to find a cross-platform software package (even though I’ve been using RW since V1), so I could pass it back to someone else.

Long story short, there are no CP packages that can do a responsive site (some can if manually set to do so).

So, change of direction, I used RW7 to rebuild the site from scratch. It took about 2 weeks in my spare time (I had to get the user and pw info plus figure out the site host’s process).

Site was built in Joe Workman’s Foundation with various stacks and is fully responsive (except for 1 page that is due to a limitation in the stack that JW is going to update later this year) and can be modified by me (and anyone else that decides to come from the dark side) if they so desire and I hand it over.

I’m still contemplating several additional capabilities including a members only area, but they are for after I get other things done on my property.

Site URL is http://w7saa.net if you want to see.

Hope this helps.

Fred


(Robert Ziebol 🖖🏼) #8

This is not entirely true. User stacks are no longer around. They are now called Partials and you can learn more about them here:
http://yourhead.com/partials


(Greg Schneck) #9

Yes… that’s true. I was thinking back a release… Thanks for keeping me current Zeebe… What I do to have a “library” of my own stacks is to have a “stacks library” page. That’s a web page defined in RW that doesn’t get published and it is home to the most common stacks I have made up with content in a lot of cases. That way when I need a certain kind of layout and stack rather than re-invent the wheel and all it’s settings (and some responsive stacks can have LOT"S of settings) it’s on my “stacks library” page waiting to be copied.


(Peter Danckwerts) #10

I bought a number of Serif programs for my wife. It’s a good company and is responsible for the wonderful Affinity Designer, Photo and forthcoming Publisher. There is very little similarity between Web Plus and Rapidweaver, so I think you’ll have quite a steep learning curve – but it will be worth it. As you say, the level of user participation is fantastic.


(Brien Engel) #11

Thanks, all of you. I am getting up to speed on differences from the Serif, but also new opportunities. I appreciate all your input.

Brien