Newby from Freeway to Rapidweaver

I’m a Softpress Freeway user for about 10 years and now trying to get enough info to make an transfer to RW.
As usual in Freeway, i will build my sites from an blanc canvas without any theme’s. Our company-site uses also
the e-commerce options via Mal’s Ecommerce on several pages.

  1. Can i build the same sites as a made with Freeway in RW Without purchasing extra’s ?
  2. Why does everyone uses Stacks. Are the design possibilities not standard in RW ?
  3. Why should i bought Foundation or Foundry to create or rebuild a site ? Is RW not enough to do that??

as a Freeway user, i only bought the programm and started my site from scratch without any extra’s. In RW
i’m now confused about the capabilities of the programm itself, what do i need now??

Freeway = RW+stacks3+foundation (or Foundry)
Freeway+actions = RW+stacks3+foundation (or Foundry) + other extra stacks (gallery, map, cms …)

RW itself is just template based software.

Most themes with RapidWeaver are a template and you have to go by what the theme gives you. Themes like Foundation, Foundry, UI Kit and others let you design the look and feel of your site the way you want it. So if you find a theme that will fit your liking, you can purchase that. If you want to make your own design, then a theme like Foundation will suite your needs. If you want to see what sites with Foundation look like, you can check out the Realmac Gallery or Joe’s Weaver Space Gallery. I believe there are Foundry sites on the Realmac Gallery, but I have not searched for them.

Out of interest, why are you making the switch to RW?

I used to use Freeway and switched over when FW7 appeared because I just didn’t see it addressing the world of responsive web sites.

Initially I found that RapidWeaver was just an alternative version of iWeb and a big disappointment. I didn’t understand Stacks which seemed to be lost in the world of plug-ins (whatever they were).

Adding Stacks opened up a world of 3rd party cool stuff but still it was a Template rigid layout template solution. Then along came Foundation with it’s blank theme and suddenly the whole (now expensive) bundle was a real solution.

RapidWeaver needs a theme but it can use a blank theme and with a blank theme you can build whatever you want. Think of RapidWeaver as a front end for stacks.

To complete your Freeway replacement you will need RW, Stacks and a load of stacks each cherry picked to do the stuff you want to do. One way to quickly do this is to buy Foundation, Foundry or UIKit. Another way is to build using a free blank theme with mostly free “donation ware” stacks. Have a look at my Templates which are all built using a blank theme and BWD Sections.

To complete your Freeway alternative you must stop off at the BigWhiteDuck site where you can download all the really good stuff.

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The people running Freeway have stopped developing it.

don’t forget Freestacks - damn fine product!

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That’s a shame - always looked interesting to me although lack of movement towards responsive / mobile first approach stopped my buying a while back.

I too am a refugee from Freeway as it’s no longer being developed. I am a RW newbie and I’m sure this seems like a silly question but what is the difference between themes, plug-ins, stacks, and projects? I find the categories of add-ons very confusing as to their purpose and use. Are some needed for others? I too want to build my sites without a template so I can reproduce the ones I made in Freeway and then use RW. What , specifically, do I need to add to RW in order to do this? Thanks so much…

Indeed they stopped developing, and the last paid version should give anyone the option of Responsive design, but it is impossible for me to convert our company-site to an new version with responsive design. That’s the main reason to make a switch to RW , Stacks, Foundation and RapidCart. TJeee, this is a pain in the ass $$$$

As mentioned elsewhere - if you want an exact replica site then one of the ‘blank’ themes is the way to go - Foundation, Foundry, Freestacks, Pure or UI Kit.

However, if you want to go mobile first / responsive then it may be time to refresh the look and feel anyway, in which case you could find a one-off theme that suits - maybe one included with Rapidweaver it there’s one that meets your needs. If not, look at a wide range of 3rd party themes. These are generally not highly restrictive, offering lots of options to customise and available between $15 - $30

The issue with the blank themes is they may carry a bigger learning curve and extra expense if only using for a single site. Great for RW based web design businesses but maybe not so much for a one-off. I guess what I’m saying is don’t write off themes unless you really must have the exact same look and feel of your current Freeway site

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what is the difference between themes, plug-ins, stacks, and projects?

Yeah, that’s a little confusing at first.

  • Every project has a theme. It specifies the layout of the site, fonts and sizes used, headers, footers, sidebars, and so forth.

  • Stacks are used to easily add functionality to a site without coding. A stack might be a YouTube viewer, or a carousel, or might provide form-filling functionality.

  • Predefined projects are complete sites others have provided that you can customize to your own purposes, or just use as examples when building your own.

  • Plug-ins extend the functionality of RapidWeaver itself. These are more rare. For example, Stacks 3 is a plug-in from YourHead that allows you to add stacks to your project.

Hope that helps.


To further confuse things, @nerval, Stacks (note the capital ‘S’) is a plug-in that allows for a whole range of other add-ons to interact with it and extend functionality. These are also called stacks (note the lowercase ‘s’). So, Stacks allows you to use stacks. (To be fair to the maker of Stacks - he advocated against this duplicate terminology but it just took off on its own).

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Not a silly question at all - like any other software, RW has its approach and it will take a little getting used to. Here goes:

A THEME is a kind of pre-designed visual framework which you must have for any Rapidweaver project. The theme will typically determine what your site framework looks like, e.g. the Banner, menu position, and other basic design features. RW comes with lots of themes pre-installed but be aware for historic reasons a fair number are NOT responsive and some are not very customisable. Additionally, you can purchase themes, mostly 3rd party, and these are generally much more customisable allowing things like banner size adjustments, wide variety of fonts built in, extensive colour choices and much more. BLANK THEMES effectively have no framework so you can create everything as you want - however, the must use Stacks.

PLUG INS are specific page types, some included in RW and others available from 3rd parties, offering a variety of functions e.g. email forms, photo galleries, accordions, collages, off-site pages, blogs and more. Many (not all) of these are also available as stacks however with the added bonus that a stacks environment is more flexible than a plug in.

STACKS is a 3rd party plug-in for Rapidweaver which has become incredibly powerful and is well worth having. Once you have the Stacks environment you can get all sorts of individual stacks from 3rd parties offering endless functionality. Stacks is not a WISIWIG environment but does allow you to position things very accurately with padding, margins, background colours and more.

A Project is simply a site you are building - whatever the method.

Simplistic but I hope this helps. For total beginners video here’s a good quick simple one:

You can link to other videos from the RW opening page or here:


Thanks everyone for the great help. I’m liking RW already because of the forum and haven’t actually used it yet!


Always been one of the appeals. RW forums rock

At the moment im starting to experiment with the beloved combination RW+Stacks+Foundation. After looking the tutorial-video’s from Joe Workmans Foundation i’m really impressed with the simplicity and great results created in short time by the software. The basic layout from my old site created with Freeway is already ported to RW including fantastic responsive results. Awesome !!

I liked it already after a few hours!!


I am also a Freeway Pro user who has just made the move to RW after Softpress folded.
I designed and maintain the site for my local church.
I had started taking the first faltering steps to go responsive with Freeway 7, but was finding it too inscrutable.

It has taken me some weeks of viewing lots of videos, purchasing RW, Stacks and Foundation and persevering with a redesigned website until it started to come together.
Then I also needed a few specialist stacks to do things like file driven tables, lists, map, contact form, photo gallery.
The initial cost has come to about £175, not much different to buying Freeway Pro & Exhibio 1&2.

I have found the process of moving to RW mentally quite challenging but very rewarding with almost any result achievable and with great support from the community.
I love the ease with which you can achieve a fully responsive site.
Have a look at my first effort (


I went from Freeway to RW years and years ago. You just can’t compare the two. But you have to buy extras, and probably a fair few to be honest, depending on what you want to do. Its a low cost investment and keeps fine developers interested in producing extremely high quality Stacks Themes and Plugins. I will happily buy Stacks and Plugins because they make me look like I know what I’m doing :slight_smile: and make my life easier.
Look at Foundation etc PLUS theres some new Foundation based themes coming along nicely now, which is deff worth looking at.

About 15 years ago I was a very close neighbour to the creator Freeway in Oxford. I wasn’t into designing websites then. Actually at the time I thought he was an engineer :slight_smile:

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