Macworld: RapidWeaver 7 is a solid, well-crafted web design program whose excellent additions don’t shore up its shaky core
I ask this genuinely (and without the perspective of the fanboy that I am) but - who are the prime/superior competitors for Rapidweaver right now?
Wordpress, Hugo, SquareSpace would be my current guess.
There is another reply in comments under the macworld article that lists two or three others.
@Nick I wouldn’t categorize those as RW alternatives I guess. I was thinking Apps not just platforms in general. I was thinking more along the lines of Sandvox or Blocs but I wouldn’t consider them more sophisticated than Rapidweaver.
@1611mac good call, I didnt scroll down far enough. And there is Sandvox - I guess some do consider that superior.
To me, the core of RW is that you’re combining chunks of canned functionality rather than coding yourself, in the framework of an off-the-shelf theme. So my suggestions of Wordpress, Hugo and SquareSpace are other tools that follow that basic approach.
Sandvox and Blocs also look similar, and as you say, are real apps. Coda and DreamWeaver are not at all like RW.
In addition to those already mentioned. Right off the top of my head.
Platform or not they are competitors when it comes to website creation. Many are more mature. Yes different workflows but the same end goal.
Well, I’m happy with Rapidweaver having used it in its various versions for a long time now. I predominantly use Stacks rather than the ‘default’ themes and capabilities. Does this make it an ‘inferior’ package, I don’t think so. I suppose my familiarity with RW has prevented me from looking elsewhere, but why would I need to as it does all I want - and more. I moved to RW when Apple stopped supporting iWeb, which was a fairly basic program anyway. I can’t even remember what I used before I moved to OSX, but that was waaay back when there wasn’t much in the way of affordable web authoring software. Am I a RW fanboy, maybe I am, but I’m also part of the incredible community that supports RW and it works for me.
I thought the review was pretty balanced and picked up on some important points. The main one being that RW doesn’t do much on its own and needs Stacks, a framework and a bunch of stacks to build great sites and hence their summary about $300 and $50 videos. That’s something that existing users accept but new potential users will struggle with.
The competition is getting better and better with new solutions every month. Are they ready to replaceRW yet? I don’t think so but it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s happening.
What that review didn’t highlight is the RW Stacks community, which is the real strength of RW IMO, and it is a sustainable community (so far) so should continue and develop.
As far as use and capabilities are concerned… RW will never rank “top shelf” with reviewers in my mind because those who try RW once or twice will never understand what can be done with all the 3rd party add-ons. What reviewer is going to take the time to learn about all the hundreds of stacks and such?
Compounding the problem is that, in my opinion, RW documentation is woefully lacking. In the posted article the reviewer states that he could not find a way to put a sidebar on only one or selected pages. He obviously missed how each page can have it’s own custom theme style… but then… this really isn’t explained well in the docs.
Certain “things” just are not explained well and need more detailed info… the blog being another one of them. And a reviewer would certainly have difficulty in understanding why you could use stacks in a “regular” (stacks) page but not a blog page. The average user would not understand the very basic building blocks of “page types” and how critical the selection is for all that follows.
Honestly, I don’t see how RW could practically be reviewed by a non-RW user…
Good magazines should always use reviewers who know the subject. Otherwise, they’re bound to make mistakes and leave stuff out because there simply isn’t time to get into the nuts and bolts of a product from scratch, especially one as unusual as RW. Reviewers are very badly paid, so there’s only a certain amount of time they can allocate to a review.
Back when I edited computer magazines in the 90s we would give someone six pages - 3,000 words - to review a new version of something like WordPerfect. That’s plenty of space to stretch your legs and enough money that you can spend the time required to get into it.
That world’s long gone - thanks Internet - so given the time/money constraint, it’s even more important that the person revewing a product is already familiar with it.
Reviewers rarely look at add-ons. Andn the case of RapidWeaver this leaves them with a rather unrealistic view of the app.
The reality is that the thriving RapidWeaver add-on ecosystem makes it something that’s larger than the sum of its parts.
I have faith tho, that if we continue to let them know, and continue to build great add-ons that it will become obvious someday.
Just read the review 4 out of 5 is a good score but I’m not confident the reviewer really knows how to use Rapidweaver properly. As others have commented he seems like someone who spent at most a day or two playing around with it.
I find his description of Rapidweaver 7 as a “shaky core” bizarre and a strange choice of words especially as it’s also described as “solid” in the same sentence in the ‘At A Glance’ summary. He talks of “easier ways to add Google Analytics” in Rapidweaver 7 but I’ve been using Rapidweaver since version 5 and it’s always been easy to add Google Analytics.
He also says “If you want a sidebar on any page of your site, it’ll have to be on every page” which is another strange statement and not true.
I left a comment at the bottom of that article about enabling the sidebar on a per-page basis.