How to hand off a RW-developed site to a client?

Hi, folks. I’ve used RW in the creation of several sites in the past, but they were all for my own use (and I was going to be the guy doing ongoing maintenance). Now, though, I’ve about wrapped up development for a new site that may, at some point down the road, be handed off to someone else to maintain.

How, then, might a RapidWeaver developer “deliver” a package to a client, so that the client might be able to either do things on their own in the future, or even hand the responsibilities off to another web developer?

Needless to say, there are lots of elements to a RW Project (the project file, identification of the Theme, Stacks, plug-ins and add-ons, widgets, scripts and other components, not to mention graphics and audio files). Then, of course, you have the file structure and resulting HTML that gets published to the web hosting service, so the client would need to know all of the logins and other account info for the hosting service, too.

Has anyone ever put together a documentation kit or guide for a client like this? Has anyone (or could anyone!) recommend a “professional” RW developer or consultant who might be able to take over an existing site that had been created with RW? That pro, of course, would need to have all of the stacks, Theme and other purchased elements…

Just wondering, folks. Thanks in advance for your counsel!

Rob Mustard

Wow, this is a large “ask”!

The simplest solution is to get the client to purchase all relevant software, plugins, stacks. And then learn how to use RW! In most cases the client won’t be able to do this themselves: even with some support documents.

I suppose the key question is: realistically does someone need to have control over everything, or is having control over content enough? (Content could be any text, images, media, etc.). If controlling content is enough then there are a few really good CMS solutions including @joeworkman who has 2 flavors of his CMS, Go CMS, Pulse and others.

Finally if you need the person to have control over everything, then the best solution probably is another developer who’d be willing to take things over. I’m not sure how appealing this is from a financial perspective for someone else. (I only do websites for myself and courses I teach.) My guess is there would be 1 or 2 people who would be potentially interested.

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If you were a carpenter and you had build someone a nice piece of furniture, would you hand over all of your tools - your hamer, your saw, your screwdriver - if you would stop maintaining the furniture?
Or if you were a graphic designer and you had designed a brochure for a client, would you hand over all of the artwork and your copy of Affinity Designer, or Illustrator?
I guess not.
You probably didn’t get paid to develop a CMS with the site. So don’t worry about it. You have produced a bunch of html. That’s your deliverable and that is what you hand over. Plus a list of the tools you have used to create it. It’s up to him/her what to do with it, to buy the tools or find someone new to maintain the website. Give him/her this website as a place to find a new ‘carpenter’.


I have given up transferring projects to customers for further processing. I’ve done this several times, but it’s been catastrophic for almost all projects, and I’ve spent an infinite amount of time repairing the mistakes the customer made during his “reconstruction”.

I have a hotel owner who loves to rebuild his website by himself, but he doesn’t have enough expertise, so every few weeks he calls me “Please, help me, I’ve made another big mistake” and I can start to look for his mistakes (for money…) . I created a website for another customer, an engineer. But he said, “I’m an engineer, I can do that by myself,” and started rebuilding a blog created with TotalBlog - directly on the server he deleted files in the cms-data folder. Some people cannot use a simple CMS, although I offered hours of support…

Most customers don’t know anything about web design, neither about design rules, nor about search engine optimization or the technical requirements of a website. In order to do this, they would have to familiarize themselves with the subject, but normally they have no time and usually no interest to do so. Most often their only interest is to save the money they have to pay for a website. And so they try to do something with some clicks that looks good on the frontend but doesn’t work in the backend.

But webdesign is not sticking posters on the Internet. The problem is that most customers don’t really know this - for most of them webdesign is something like painting by numbers: A blob here, a line there, some text, a few iPhone pictures and that’s the website.

A website that was created by me is my work and if anyone wants to change my work or give it to another webdesigner, I have to get paid for it. But then my relationship to that customer is finished and if the other webdesigner can’t do the work because he may not be using RapidWeaver, that’s his problem and the problem of the customer and not mine.

As a non-specialist I don’t go to a garage and ask the garage to explain to me how to repair my brakes or to borrow me some of the tools. It won’t work.


Hello, everyone. Wow, some very valuable feedback there! You seem to have a lot more experience not only with web development, but in facing up to and going through the ordeal of handing over your “product”, only to see it get beaten and battered by the client. I especially like the analogies you presented on trying this sort of thing with other service-providers!

I really appreciate your thoughts and recommendations on this issue. After I wrote the initial post, I remembered that there were also various API keys for things like the Google Map, search engine(s), CAPTCHA service, and on and on… I really can’t see anyone else in my community (the HOA that I created the site for), or even a consultant willing to pick this up and carry on with it. They can certainly keep the schedule portion of the site on life support (it’s based on a Google calendar, and the office administrator can modify it by herself). Much beyond that, though, if and when I ever stop being able to support the site, it would need to be scrapped and replaced. That wouldn’t be a big loss to the HOA here, though; I did this on a volunteer basis, and all they did was pay for the software, web-hosting and other associated fees.

Checking out a content management system (CMS) is definitely something on the to-do list for 2019. My earlier web building efforts hadn’t been that sophisticated, and CMS was pretty new at that time, too. I’ll check out Joe Workman’s offering, and the others you’ve suggested, Mathew.

Guys, thank you very much for your responses. Have a Happy New Year, everyone!


The next time something like this comes up…

If you know in advance that a site is to be handed over to a non-developer, my suggestion is to use online software specifically designed to create easy-to-use templated sites, such as Squarespace or GoDaddy’s Website Builder.

I’ve developed large RW sites for my own needs, but also have done a couple of Website Builder sites for quick-and-dirty usage.

If someone gave me a free car, but I was responsible for its ongoing maintenance, I’d rather get a Toyota than a Lamborghini :grin:

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Hi, Patrick. Oh, yeah, if and when I ever start offering my services as a web developer, that would be one of the first things I’d evaluate with the client: whether they want a simple “static” site (i.e., WordPress), or a template site from a hosting service, or something more sophisticated (like RW would help facilitate). If the client wants to do something that requires additional, separately-priced and -licensed components (like RW), then they have to be made aware of the constraints up front!

The next thing I need to look at are the various CMS offerings. There are probably variable elements that the client can upload themselves (that don’t require code change or re-publishing), without my having to get involved…

Interesting discussion, as I, as a business owner, decided to build my own site back in 99, using whatever I could find. Then came 2009 when I went back to Macs, and after trying several programs, decided on RW.

For developers reading this, I did not go with any professional developer because every presentation they showed me was garbage, in my opinion, depending mostly on slow working flash, gimmicks, etc. Not real content. And we still have very slow internet. Yesterday’s Excel update was a 4 hour download.

I also wanted a site where I could update as many times as necessary during the month, whenever needed, and am a stickler on grammar, both in English and Spanish (main site).

Anyway, I had my frustrations with RW, but less than with anything else. My main site is actually divided into about 20 pieces, as it got too big to do in one piece (plus the English version). But some time in the next 18 months I’ll be selling my business and retiring, so I will be handing-off my work to someone.

Just as I teach maintenance of plant and heavy equipment, I think there are basic concepts that need to be understood, and once they are understood, RW is not hard. Most of the elements work on the same principals, and this forum is good for getting out of specific problems or understanding the other.

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You can certainly learn everything, including web design. But RapidWeaver is not web design, it’s just a tool to create web pages. If you master RapidWeaver, you are far from mastering web design and everything else that goes with it. You can certainly get used to it, but since a few years the learning curve has become very big - If you enjoy it, you can master it, but just want to build a website by clicking here and there, will usually be disappointing.


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