My, how you have grown!

About ten years ago I dabbled in Rapidweaver - back then, it was version 4, I believe. We had themes, and pages, and Isaac had just published this idea, this page called ‘stacks’.
I had made a few hobby sites, which I hosted on the .mac space (which Apple killed off a few years later). Back then I thought of becoming serious with web design, but it never came to that.

This year I came back to Rapidweaver, when version 7 was offered for free with MacFormat. At Thanksgiving I upgraded to version 8. And, as I said I the title, my, how you have grown. As I said, back then, Stacks had just been developed, and was mainly used as an extra page in all sorts of themes. Henk Vrieselaar launched a completely blank theme, to give free reign to the stacks.
Now we not only have themes and pages, but I find frameworks - as I understood, ‘blank’ themes with their proper stacks which work within that framework and give web designers complete control over their site. At least four or five different ones. And I find projects, which I understand to be readymade ‘themes’ for frameworks. And now, I must confess, I’m close to not seeing the forest anymore for the trees.

I’m planning to make a few hobby sites again. The first one will be for my wife, an amateur photographer (as in: professional level, but she earns her money elsewhere) who wants to showcase her pictures. These days, once I can make out the outline of that forest, I’ll decide whether I dare step into the world of frameworks, so that I can make, and maintain, a site that completely fits her demands, or be safe and just pick an existing theme.

Hi, Wim,

To make a first step in the right direction, you’ll have to grasp the difference between pre-built themes and frameworks.

Themes are generally:

  • quicker to get started with your work;
  • bloated, clunky;
  • may contain unwanted elements, for example, a massive library of built-in fonts you will never use, or using calls for web-fonts—a behavior you don’t want for privacy reasons;

Frameworks are:

  • slower to get started;
  • some of them are very lean/fast/efficient;
  • you decide how lean or bloated they become;
  • they give you much more flexibility of design;

BTW, Henk’s themes are still available—now taken over by @willwood at ThemeFlood / S4S .

Stacks plug-in still remains the most important add-on for RW. For many of us, it is the reason why we use RW.

And lastly, you should get to know your developers. Some of them are worth investing in. Some aren’t.

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your response. I guess that I get the difference between themes and frameworks. I was comparing themes for RW with projects for frameworks - as in: they mainly decide what your site is going to look like.

It’s nice, BTW, to see that a number of developers from way back when are still active today. Such as Your Head (obviously), Multithemes or Nick Cates. And it’s too bad that Rapid Ideas has decided to do other things - I always liked how he was pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with RW.

My plans for investing in RW mainly consist of not doing too much of it. I won’t be developing enough sites to make it worthwhile - as I said, I’ll mainly develop some sites as a hobby, and don’t think that I’ll go professional. As such, I’d rather decide on a site design first, decide what I need for it, and get that, than start with buying all sorts of trinkets and then see what sites I can build around them.
That’s the idea, anyway. We’ll see if I can resist the lure.

That’s exactly the approach I would recommend.

I am not a professional (or a coder) myself. This is purely a hobby for me and the way to keep me occupied during my retirement. :grinning: But I’ve already spent a small fortune on all the themes, frameworks and add-ons. No regrets, though…

Speaking about add-ons—there is one place I know of that lets you try stacks before you buy them. It is Stacks4Stacks, which I gave you the link to in my previous post. Highly recommended for great quality of products and support. There is also a lot of free stacks (well, actually donation-ware) on that site.

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