Newbie Just Bought RW - Need Help and Advice

Hi everyone! Thank you in advance for helping me out understand some of the stuff that seem basic to most people here, yet are not so obvious to me…

I just bought RW and started playing with it.

Now, I want to know if it’s really necessary to buy the foundation and stack package to truly build a website the way I want it?

I’ve tried using some included themes but they don’t look anywhere near as good as the new trendy dynamic themes we see on most cool looking sites. Further, I’ve had quite a hard time doing a simple thing like changing the banner image with the included themes. Some themes seem to let you change the banner image while others force you to use their own, which is counterproductive as a site is supposed to reflect your brand, not the stylesheet’s.

So, as I see a lot of people go for stacks and foundations theme bundle, I wonder if it’s the only way to get a good looking site. Will this enable me to have a custom banner image and size? What’s the difference between stack 2 vs 3 vs with the foundation style sheet (Do you have to use this? What happens if you don’t?).

Also, stack bundle vs theme:
Do purchased themes ever need stacks?
Should I simply buy a good theme if I find one? Will that suffice?

It seems to me that RW requires a lot of ad-on and extra stuff which costs money and adds up quickly… Am I wrong?

My goal here is to understand what I need to reach my goal (building multiple sites for me and my family) so I don’t spend money I don’t need. I’m fine with getting stuff I really need, but I want to be sure what that is so I don’t overspend. If this was what I did for a living, it would be easy to recoup costs, but I don’t for now.

Thank you again!

Hey Ode, and welcome to RapidWeaver!

First, you do not need to use Foundation and other addons to make a website, RapidWeaver does a good job without them. BUT for what you want to do, then yes, you will need to get at least the Stacks addon.

Now, Foundation is a great and powerful tool, but there are other similar ones out there:
Bootsnap by Yabdab
FreeStacks by Blueball
Pure by 1LD

They all use the premise of building your sites with Stacks pages and allow for great customization. I believe (and yes I am biased, I work for Joe) that Foundation is the most powerful of them all. Not just in terms of creating your site, although it is very powerful in doing that, but also in terms of help (both on this forum and on Joe Workman’s Google+ Community, addons (Free ones by Big White Duck, and support from the framework (Joe has met several times with the guys who came up with the Foundation Framework, Zurb. They have even taken some of his ideas and brought them into Foundation.

To answer some of your questions.

  1. Yes Foundation will allow you to customize a header image.
  2. Since you are starting do not even think about Stacks 2, Stacks 3 is SO much more powerful.
  3. As I stated at first, you do not need stacks to create websites with RapidWeaver, but if you are going the Foundation way, unless you know how to code, then you will want to get the Foundation bundle.
  4. Yes, you can use a theme, and some themes even have easy ways to change the header image too.
  5. RW CAN require a lot of addons, if you want to use it to it’s fullest potential.

Hopefully this helps you understand a little more, good luck in your decision!!

Hello and welcome!!

As a newbie myself, I’d really recommend subscribing to the Rapidweaver Classroom tutorials; as a visual learner, these have been invaluable!

Also, do purchase Stacks 3 as it will help you build a great site on one of the included themes. Talking of which, I bought a great bundle from MacZOT and using RWmultitool, I am able to customise the backgrounds etc to my liking.

There are loads of free stacks from Stacks4Stacks and depending on what you want to do with your site, you won’t break the bank!

Finally, this is probably the best source of information; ask questions and learn from the developers and experienced users, they’re a very friendly bunch!

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Thank you so much for the warm welcome!


I still would like to clarify a few things. :smile:

Do styles require ad-ons or are they stand alone types? (I am new at this)

You mention foundation alternatives. Are they in RW or I need to download them? Do you have the link? That would be great help! They are style sheets or ad-ons? I thought Foundation was a stylesheet working with stacks.

Like Freestacks by blueball sounds like a stack alternative, while Pure by 1LD sounds like a stylesheet?

You say Foundation is the most powerful - but that’s vague for me - can you give me an example? Can you clarify what you mean by powerful? (same for stacks 2 vs 3)


Thank you for your advice! I will look into the free stacks you mentioned.

I am used to creating my own sites. It’s cheaper and you get what you want! :slight_smile: And more updatable in the long term.

I used iWeb till now. It’s easy to use and was pretty nice. But it has some major flaws when it comes to SEO tagging. Further, it’s behind when it comes to styles and adapting to mobile. This is why I’m looking forward to learning RW and redoing my current sites. :wink:

Thanks again!

Ahhhh iWeb… I do miss that programme. However, RW6 will completely blow your mind in comparison.


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OK, think you are a little confused with RapidWeaver. In RapidWeaver, there are Themes, Plugins, and stacks. Stacks, for example is a Plugin, but stacks (like Joe’s Jack stack) are addons to the Stacks plugin.

Ignore Stacks 2, it is old and unless you have RapidWeaver 5 (which I am sure you do not), you do not need it. Stacks 3 has tons of new things, if you go to the Stacks home page you can see what is all new.

I think when you say Styels, you are talking about Themes. Foundation is a Theme/stacks set. It has a theme, but the main content is built with Stacks. None of the Theme/stack sets come with RapidWeaver, they are all separate purchases. FreeStacks was the first Theme/stack set to use Stacks plugin as the main page type. Then came BootSnap, Foundation and Pure. They all NEED the Stacks plugin for you to make your pages. If you want links to the other ones, Google is your friend.

I think Foundation is the most powerful for many reasons. I listed the non-techie ones earlier, but here are my other reasons for it.

  1. It is based on a well known and respected Framework, Foundation, by Zurb. Many websites out there use it (the Framework), but my favorite is the Star Wars site.
  2. The theme and stacks Joe make are finely tuned into each other, making it very fast.
  3. Foundation is well established (Foundation for RapidWeaver uses Foundation 5, and Foundation 6 is coming soon!), has a great support community on their site.
  4. A lot of RapidWeaver users use and love it (but that is the same most of the Theme/stack sets), but you can see some really good examples of what can be done on the Realmac Gallery. A lot of the sites on there are made with Foundation.
  5. Again, the thriving community on G+ Community (just hit the 900 user mark) and the Free Addons by Big White Duck are also an advantage over the others.

Hope that helps clarify things more for you.

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Yes! Thank you!

And yes, themes and style sheets are basically the same thing. I see both terms used on the web.

I think I finally got it!

Seems like Stacks is a must (for the type of site I want) but then I can get some free themes/stylesheet with them or get the Foundation.

I’ll start researching all those before I make my final purchases.

You’ve all been a great help!

Thank you!

Hey @Ode
Actually when I see Style Sheets, I think of CSS (cascading style sheets), that is why I wanted to clarify. One BIG thing I forgot to mention about Foundation, is the Mobile First Design concept it uses. Good luck in your decision!!

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A great place to start your research is RapidWeaver Central. There are many great products out there, so take your time and don’t commit until you have a much clearer idea of what is possible with the skills that you have. As Zeebe suggested, check out the gallery, and if you see a site there you like, come back here and ask how it was made. Ask lots more questions.