Aspen Theme launched for RapidWeaver 8

@pmjd understand where you’re coming from, and yes, I’m aware of some of the perceived shortcomings, but the RapidWeaver community is still thriving, and RapidWeaver is awesome.

I don’t know of anything that can WYSIWYG build the RapidWeaver Community website, it’s a hugely complex web app and it’s better that hand code it.

The Realmac site is built with RapidWeaver, and sure we use third-party add-ons because why not? They are great!

RapidWeaver + Stacks is under $200 and you can build as many professional websites as you like, I’d say that’s still amazing value.

Imho, sure it may be slightly more costly to get involved with RapidWeaver, but the way RapidWeaver works is still one of the best and most flexible web building experiences on the Mac. I personally love it.

Not true.

Thanks for the feedback. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to working on the future of RapidWeaver :rocket:

Sorry if I’ve hit a nerve but a couple of things I don’t think you’ve understood.

I agree the community and add ons are thriving, it’s the main product I’m more concerned about.

Yes a great way to show off what Stacks and Foundry can do, but why can’t you build the site that you are using to promote RW (leaving the community site aside) with only RW and it’s built in themes?

To be fair you do show the built in themes in the example images for Rapidweaver. However, at worst it seems a bit disingenuous to be advertising a product for sale using a website that was only part built with RW and needed the purchase of Stacks for $59 and Foundry for $89 to complete the site. Kind of like car adverts showing the top spec model but shows the starting price for the base model.

Yes you get access to a wide and rich 3rd party ecosystem of add ons to greatly extend RW’s functionality but the cost of entry is high.

Out of curiosity I launched RW5 and RW6 . I was struck by how little the actual core product of making webpages has changed and how unchanged the core page types are. Yes there has been additions such as the simulator, Unsplash etc. but RW at it’s core continues to be template driven. Again you need to buy Stacks and other add ons to get anywhere close to being free form/drag and drop website creation software.

I understand that you are building RW9 and it must be at an early stage, so you don’t want to make any promises you can’t commit to.
However, looking at the versions I have (RW5, 6, 7, and 8) and how little change there was in actual page creation is the reason why I really hope you have something amazing coming in RW9.

@pmjd You’ve not hit a nerve, I’ve been in this game too long for that.

I’ve understood what you’re saying from the start, but I’m really not sure what you want from me, or what you want me to say :man_shrugging:

I’m not going to reveal what’s in RW9 yet, we’ve always tried not to announce unreleased features, as that never goes to plan (any developer will testify to that).

RapidWeaver isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine. But if you do like what it does, then great, you’re more than welcome to stick around build awesome websites, and see where things go.

Happy Weaving!

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Is it? I’m not trying to be argumentative or support either view in this, but is the cost really that high?

I know a lot of people bring WP into these sorts of discussions, even though it’s an entirely different beast, but then in the same breath mention Elementor etc. But that’s what… €200 a year to build a few sites? Then, don’t you also need to buy plugins on top of that?

I have used Blocs before and made a few sites from it, and it is very good, but it’s got a long way to go to match the RW ecosystem (third-party devs, addons etc.).

IMO the RW ecosystem has its failings, what doesn’t? But cost isn’t one of them. I’m constantly amazed the whole show stays on the road when everything is so cheap.

But maybe that’s just my take.

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Cost probably depends on who you are.
A professional such as yourself who can pass the costs on to clients, not really.

For occasional/hobby users (like myself) then more of an issue.

Fair point. What are you comparing with though, in terms of, what gives you the same functionality and at what cost?

One possible comparison might look like this:

Divi for WP is currently priced at about £65 per year (or £180 for lifetime). What does that get you?

A really cohesive, smooth and consistent experience for visually laying out and building your site on top of WP. No issues with incompatibilities, inconsistent styling, publishing challenges or anything like that.

You get 100+ site templates; most of them are actually really good and are already categorised by use-case. Being built on WP and with special building blocks for blogs, you are surely covered for blogs. There is a really good form plugin which comes with Divi too - so in most cases you can set up and get your form working easily and completely consistently with the rest of the design experience.

You get the Extra theme, the Bloom email optin plugin and the Monarch social media plugin. There is a proper marketplace, a facebook group and virtual meetups.

If you want to sell, there are lots of options: Divi comes with WooCommerce helper modules ready to go. If you want a login system, then that’s easy - Divi comes with a login module too.

Its easy to backup your pages and re-using layouts is super easy. You can also leverage hundreds of other WP plugins - many of which are free.

The possible weakness is security - but I think this is improving. Free plugins like loginizer, cerber and login lockdown are effective. Making sure you follow best practices do help mitigate risk.

What might an equivalent set up look like using RW?

RW Core: £90
Stacks 4: £43
Foundry: £65
Alloy: £65
Total: £263 (approx).

If you want to offer logins, sell or get a template to get you kick started - you will need other add-ons too which take you off into more cost and into separate experiences where the cohesiveness and consistency breaks apart.

Is this an unjust comparison? Would seriously like to know (before this thread gets closed).


Unjust? I don’t think so. But it’s apples with pears, IMO. Wordpress is database driven and web-based, RW isn’t. I think that sways a lot of people. RW to Blocs is I feel an entirely fair comparison, but I don’t think it’s fair to compare either to a database / web-based solution.

As TemplateRepo said, it is more a question of database driven or not. For WP sites we had a lot of questions regarding GDPR in Germany and every week or so you get a new security warning for these sites. That swayed my decision for RW. To keep up-to-date with these security issued takes time or you have to buy a special plugin or service, which adds up to the costs.

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Interesting discussion, and It certainly highlights the fact that it’s great to have (and use) different products for different things.

RapidWeaver won’t be great for every website, just like Wordpress isn’t the best choice for everyone.

A few things as to why you might want to use RapidWeaver as opposed to an online website builder:

  • RapidWeaver can build websites offline, no need to have a constant internet connection (or worry about hitting the back button and loosing your work).
  • RapidWeaver is not subscription based.
  • When you purchase a copy of RapidWeaver it’s your to keep, forever.
  • You’re in control of your data (we don’t store it on our servers).
  • RapidWeaver runs locally so you never have to deal with server downtime or maintenance.
  • Never worry about your server being hacked and your data being deleted (you have it stored locally and can re-publish it anywhere).
  • You can easily choose and switch between hosts to get the best deal.
  • RapidWeaver produces statics websites by default, search engines love this!
  • RapidWeaver is a native Mac app, and works better alongside your other Mac apps ( etc).

These are just a few things off the top of my head, and you could certainly make a different list of benefits for Wordpress.

But that’s the joy in all this, different apps for different needs. Choice is good :relaxed:


I’ll take Blocs as a good example.

Cost of RW 8 and Blocs 4 is more or less the same (£90 v ~£87, as Blocs was displayed in dollars). Both Mac apps that are a one off cost.

At this point I think Blocs is the more powerful app out of the box as you can build whatever layout you like, whereas with RW you are stuck with a few set page types and built in themes which are very restricted in what you can do. Each app has its own “extras” i.e. RW has simulator and Unsplash integration, Blocs has built in e-commerce support, but I’m predominantly picking on the page building capabilities at the moment.

Add Stacks, just the plug-in, and you get RW closer to what Blocs can do, but you have to spend another $59 to achieve this. At this point Blocs might eek out as still ahead because it has lots of built in template “brics” that are built in includes different menus, social icons etc.

Now once you have Stacks you have access to a very big ecosystem of 3rd party stacks that can do a lot more than Blocs but usually at a cost (yes there are free stacks available but many are not).

The 3rd party stacks available and the functions they offer v 3rd party brics firmly puts RW ahead in this regard.

It will depend on what someone needs for their site and increased complexity adds additional costs.

That was the whole thinking behind my original reply to this. RW alone is not an easy sell, you often see forum posts asking “do I need to buy Stacks and X framework?”, which of course depends what the individual wants to build. Aspen seems quite a capable theme with a lot more options than the stock themes, as Realmac have it why not include it or offer it at a price more inline with other themes available for sale?

@dan I’ll keep using RW, as I have amassed a fair collection of experience and stacks but I think it’s always good to keep an eye outside the world of RW, so that RW doesn’t fall behind.

Agreed. I think you’ll be pleased with RapidWeaver 9 when it ships.

If the $80 invest saves me two or three days of work on a fully paid project, I am happy to pay for it. That’s the idea of using themes and plugins, no matter if it’s Wordpress, Joomla, Magento or Rapid Weaver.

I personally only buy something when I really need it. So I might create a desing scribble based on Aspen, show it to a customer and if I get the job, I buy the theme, factor in the cost, and go ahead.

(Well, the discussion had some interesting and valid points from many sides.)

I bought it from Nick. Does this mean I will have support/updates?

Thank you.


While it wasn’t agreed with Nick, we’re happy to offer support for Aspen :relaxed:
More details in the FAQ here: Aspen FAQ | RapidWeaver knowledge base


I can sympathise with all comments in this discussion. Perhaps a distinction should be made, between those RW users who have a web design business and those who use it for activities which do not have a revenue stream. It does not mean that either is more important but the “horses for courses” element is valid.

I am not a pro user and I am pretty clueless when it comes to coding or, indeed, feeling comfortable with the full potential of RW. I use RW for creating and running web sites for a couple of charities. In so doing, I get to experiment and develop but, as I am doing this work for nothing, I have to keep an eye on costs and the idea of spending £30 on a theme gives pause for thought, let alone one which cost double that and more.

The thing I like most about RW is its autonomy and its versatility. There is scope to learn and grow one’s skills and the forum is a fantastic safety net. I sometimes worry that I might be seen as penny-pinching and undermining businesses which need the work but, while everyone is so cash-poor, we must do what we can with what we have.

I look forward to seeing what RW9 brings and I hope I can afford it when it comes but it is a comfort that I can keep plodding away with RW8 until I can. A far bigger worry for me is what is happening to CAD software and the affect it is having on architecture but that is another story…


I’d be interested to know if this theme has been updated and patched since the final version released by Nick Cates? It’s a great theme but has problems.

Having purchased Aspen from Nick and him then withdrawing from Rapidweaver development left a very nasty taste as the theme (even after updates) had several issues that I was never able to get resolved and he just stopped responding. Both Mike at Yabdab and Will Woodgate examined the site I’d created for my local village hall ( and identified problems in the way the Aspen code had been written. Will even advised that the way Nick had written elements of the theme went against standard practice and the HTML specifications which is why I had problems using various 3rd party stacks including his so some aspects of the site are not as nice as I’d liked. Since last year the site has started showing transparency problems with Chrome based browsers and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I’m no coder just a hobbyist, so have no idea where to start but am currently having to re-write the entire site in another product (I’ve chosen Source as Stuart’s support is fab) in order to be able to use the stacks I want to use and get a site that fully works! I love the Aspen look and feel so am replicating it as closely as possible.

If there’s been no code change since it was Nick’s product then I suspect others will discover problems going forwards.


Very happy with the new Aspen theme. Creating a website for my sailmaker.

Only thing I can not get working is the vertically social icons in the sidebar.

If you’re having any issues with the theme(s) please drop an email we’ll do our best to help you out :relaxed: