How many stacks on a page

How many stacks can you have on a page before it starts to impact performance? I’m thinking that a page with lets say 7 paragraphs, each in it’s own text stack, with a header stack and a divider stack … at what point is it better to do the lot in say one markdown stack? And is there a reliable, simple way to test page speed?

First: I don’t know the answer to your bottom-line question. But … why not just do the whole thing in Markdown? Isn’t it just a tad crazy making to create 7 texts stacks, plus header, plus divider when it can all easily be done in one Markdown stack?

Caveat: I never do my web writing directly in RW. I use Scrivener (though realistically it could be any other Markdown-friendly app) to write all my content. Then I just copy/paste to RW. This gives me a nice backup, but also a better environment to write in the first place. I don’t really see RW as being a “friendly” or useful writing app, nor do I expect to be.

I think you’re correct - Like a lot of people I started using stacks, and because there’s a stack for everything it’s easy to just use them. Don’t get me wrong - I love stacks, but with one very large site giving me some issues (in preview more than published) I’ve been looking at things afresh.

I had one massive page with 300+ stacks in Doobox’s Hunter stack. Worked great to start with but by 300 the page ground to a halt in edit mode - although interestingly was still pretty quick published. Again, no complaint here, Doobox never intended for Hunter to replace a large database and it is a brilliant stack for sorting.

Also with the large sites, having some issues with content in Partials disappearing in preview mode - nearly always publishes OK however. Once again, I have to suspect too many stacks but wondering where to draw the line.

I suppose my interest is in the number of stacks with light content before problems start

Hopefully someone like @isaiah can chime in. I don’t know if the number of stacks on the page (especially when using lots or relatively simple stacks) degrades performance much. He’ll know for sure.

However, I do believe in keeping things as simple as possible while staying true to your web design objectives. In your case you seem to be describing a scenario where things are made more complicated than need be. It may not result in a performance degrade, but (at least for me) if things are made more complicated than needed the result is a much greater possibility for errors (be it typos, forgotten content, etc.).

Like you I fell in love with stacks, and probably 2-3 years ago I think I did the same thing as you. The introduction of Markdown stacks made a huge difference in my workflow (thanks to RW for adding Markdown to RW, and Isaiah for adding to Stacks).

Have to say my Markdown knowledge is shamefully poor - better get practicing!

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Thinking more about this - one of the conveniences of newer stacks is the controls for different devices - e.g. show left on this, right on that, hide stack on mobiles etc. I’ve often use these to good effect but I guess a single large markdown stack would be more restricted in this sense?

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The good news is it’s awfully easy to learn Markdown (less than 1 hour). With a bit of practice you can become a master in no time! The Markdown stack is somewhat limited: it does not include the features included in multimarkdown (e.g. footnotes or anchor links). So some of the more advanced markdown features aren’t even possible to use right now in a markdown stack.

If you do a lot of hiding, etc. then having everything in one stack could be much more limiting. Only you know how important (or not) this is. Probably the principle of “make it as simple as possible” applies: perhaps you end up with 3 stacks instead of 1, but that’s still better than 10 stacks instead of 1.

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How many stacks can you have on a page before it starts to impact performance?

It depends greatly on the stack(s) in question.

One copy of Foundation Site Styles is plenty. That single stack is at the boundary of complexity and performance.

But I have test pages with hundreds of column stacks on a single page that scroll and behave as expected without a noticeable lag on 2008 hardware.

But, as I always say: If you notice performance problems inside Stacks, then it’s very likely that the exported page will not be very fast either – perhaps it will be fine on your machine – but your visitors will be on a variety of hardware, some over slow cellular connections, and some with older OS versions – be kind to those people and keep your pages as simple as possible.

Use the performance of Stacks and RapidWeaver as a tool to help guide you to keep your pages simple.


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There is no problem with that – but it’s silly. There’s no need to separate paragraphs into their own stacks. Use a single stack and add headers where necessary – or better yet, just as @Mathew suggested, use a Markdown stack and do it that way.

In other words: Look for opportunities to keep things simple. Attempt to use fewer stacks whenever possible.