Hacking the RW Blog Plugin

Hello Fellow Weavers!

I’ve had a great deal of success with hacking the RW blog plugin and I wanted to share my recipe with the community.

I have a personal blog called Catholic Husband. It’s the space where I process my life. I’ve been writing there since 2013 and have published over 750 articles. In those years, I’ve used many RW blog/CMS add-ons, but I always come back to the plugin. What I’ve learned is that every option has its limitations and every option has
its strong points.

I sincerely hope that the blog plugin gets some new features in RW8.

What I wanted for my particular blog was a custom footer that matched my other pages, a custom sidebar where I could capture email addresses (and the flexibility of adding in stacks in the future), and an author bio at the end of each post.

I’ve found the blog plugin to be quite receptive (after much trial and error) to accepting Stacks pages via PlusKit 4. It should be strongly noted that what I’ve done is not recommended by YourHead:

39 PM

That being said, it works in my specific implementation.

Here’s my recipe:

URL: https://www.catholichusband.org

RW 7.5.5
Stacks 3.5.5
PlusKit 4.1

Writer Theme by Nick Cates Design
Houdini Stack by Joe Workman
Teleporter Stack by Doobox (interchangeable with Houdini)
Post Office Stack by Joe Workman
Author Card Stack by 1LittleDesigner

Hacking the footer

I created a standardized footer partial to apply to all of my pages. This hack will vary based on the theme that you’re using. For the Writer theme, Nick has a social icon container at the base of the theme. So I created a stacks page called “Footer” and imported it using PlusKit.

I placed the footer partial into the Houdini stack and used the following settings:

Custom selector > div#social-icon-container (Writer-specific!) > Top (prepend)

Viola! I now have a standardized footer on all of my pages.

Hacking a Custom Sidebar

The RW blog plugin generates the sidebar links that you’d expect. There’s the categories, tags, archive, and RSS feeds links. (Search would be nice!)

I wanted to add an intro at the top (which probably could be done using the build-in RW sidebar content section in the inspector), with an email capture at the bottom (using JW’s Post Office stacks).

I created a stacks page called “Sidebar” and imported it using PlusKit.

For the top of links content, I created an instance of the Houdini stack and added a simple text stack. I used the following settings:

Sidebar > Top (prepend).

For the bottom of links content, I created another instance of the Houdini stack, added the stacks, and used the following:

Sidebar > Bottom (append).

Done. My sidebar is in place.

Hacking the blog post author bio

This was something that I really wanted. I love the way most blogging platforms have standardized bio at the end of the article. I came across the Author Card stack by 1LD and knew that I wanted to get it in there.

This hack was perhaps the hardest of them all for me to figure out. I tried different places in the Writer theme, but could never get the Author Card Stack right where I wanted it. Then I had another idea.

I created a stacks page called “Blogger” and imported it using PlusKit.

On that page, I created an instance of the Author Card stack and put it inside of the Teleporter stack. I used Teleporter instead of Houdini because I could use a custom text key instead of a custom div. This was merely a workflow decision, and either stack will do the trick. In this case, I used the custom key AuthorCard. Easy. (Note: I also created a HostCard for podcast entries so the header would be “About the Host” instead of “About the Author.”)

I added the text key to the end of every blog post in the RW blog plugin. It was tedious, but the results are awesome.

There was a slight technical issue getting the Author Card picture to show up in the individual blog posts. This was related to my unsanctioned use of PK4 and stacks. The @1littledesigner support team hopped in and shared this snippet with me and now it works like a dream!

.ath-card .ath-content .ath-portrait {
background-image: url(your-image-url-path) !important;}

All set. I now have a blog hacked to my exact specifications.


I have no formal education in coding or web design, only experimental. Everything that I’ve learned has come from the outstanding support of the RW developers, the generous members of this forum, and years of trial and error.

First, I need to thank @dan and @ben for creating a sustainable, extendable product. The fact that I can go out and find a stack or plugin for anything that I want to do on my site is a tribute to the solid underpinnings that RW provides. I have really enjoyed the past two years when development has been so active. Of course, the podcasts have been fun, too. I can’t wait to get my hands on RW8.

Second, I need to thank @isaiah for his tireless work and creativity on both the Stacks and PlusKit products. Partials was nothing short of genius. Although these hacks are a bit rogue, his work has made all of this possible.

Next, I want to thank @nickcates. I bought my first theme from Nick seven years ago, and his work makes me look good on the web. I want to also acknowledge his personable support. He has shared so many snippets over the years to help me get things to look the way that I want (in particular, my relentless customization of the Writer theme). Those small bits of code have been foundational to my understanding of web design and the technical experimentation that has led to so many breakthroughs.

Finally, I want to thank @joeworkman for his innumerable contributions to this community. Houdini is a key stack in my toolkit, as is FontPro, which is now in every project that I have. Also Email Stacks, just wow!


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