Pre-Purchase Questions

Greetings! I have four simple web sites that I built or took over for some non-profits. I am definitely not a web designer. I built a couple with Dreamweaver (DW) and I have been using it to maintain them. I’d like to redesign the four sites but not with DW. I am considering switching from Dreamweaver to RW but I am concerned about the following:

  1. The learning curve.

  2. The cost. It seems that I would need to purchase RW, Foundry, and Stacks?

  3. The code generated by RW.

  4. The files on the server. I assume that for a simple site consisting of fewer than 10 pages, RW generates html and css files that could be edited manually or by DW or other similar software? Is that correct?

I’d greatly appreciate any help I can get with my questions and concerns. Thank you!

Mark

Hi Mark,

  1. That’s determined by lots of factors isn’t it? The amount of time you’re prepared to spend, your level of confidence using technology, are the most important I guess. But there’s nothing intrinsically difficult about RW once you grasp what it is and how it works - rather than expecting it to work like product x or y.

  2. Not necessarily. Searching the forum will produce plenty of discussions about RW’s out-of-the-box usefulness so I won’t re-hash them here. I’ll clarify one thing though - I think everyone who uses RW would recommend buying Stacks as well. However, you don’t need Foundry. That’s one of several Stacks-based frameworks that give you much more freedom to place elements (navigation, headers, banners, footers, content etc.) where you like. The alternative is to use a traditional theme where most of these decisions have been made for you.

  3. Can’t speak to this I’m afraid. I suspect for small sites it’s neither here nor there.

  4. Afraid not. You could do this but then every time you republished your site, those changes would be over-written. RW lets you create HTML pages and custom CSS, but if that’s how you want to build your site, then I’d suggest it isn’t for you.

Best bet is to try it out. I think you can still get a demo version of RW that lets you create a few pages and there’s also a Stacks demo. Have a play and see what you think.

HTH

Rob

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Could we see a url to the sites you have now…might give us an idea of what you are needing.

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Thanks, @robbeattie! I’m giving it a try now. I’m struggling doing anything with it because I seem to need to conform to whatever theme I use, and I don’t want to use any of the themes. I want my own banner, footer, etc.

@joemart1951, one of the sites that I inherited is this one:
http://www.yolopf.org/

Give Source a look. It’s a “framework” and is free with additional stacks available. Might be a good fit for you:

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Take a look at this…still needs some work: http://www.ibize.com/yolopf/

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That’s how themes work. They do the heavy lifting for you so the key is to find one you like, check through the demo carefully and look at all the options to see how much you can change and go from there.

There are plenty of free themes here - www.themeflood.com.

The alternative is to use one of the ‘frameworks’ which let you position elements more or less where you like.

Rob

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If you’re used to Dream Weaver I think you are going to need to buy Rapidweaver + Stacks Plugin + one of the frameworks to give you the creative freedom I think you want?

As Rob said, themes do a lot of the work for you but you are very set in overall layout and have little control in the overall look of your site. You can build some nice sites with various themes but they are limiting and features included vary greatly with the theme seller.

Stacks + a theme usually gives you more control over content placement but still the overall look is controlled by the theme. Once you have Stacks the plugin, you can also purchase additional “stacks” (some very good free ones also available) from other 3rd party developers which offer a wide variety of additional functions/layout etc.

There are a few halfway options, which are a theme with some stacks included. Devs like OneLittle Designer and Archetypon sell these, they have themes which are a bit more flexible and allow more control over your design.

For full control over layout and content you’ll need a framework (as well as the Stacks plugin to run the framework). There are 5 main ones I can think of, they differ greatly in cost and what additional stacks included (i.e. some have sliders built-in others do not).

Foundry and Source are frameworks, there are also UiKit, Foundation 6, and Platform. There was RWSkinz in the past but I don’t know if that is still going.

Which one suits you and your needs best is heavily dependent on what you want to achieve.

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RWSkinz is still very much alive, my mistake.

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Thanks! I’ll give it a try.

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Hi Rob, I think I’d like to position things the way I want rather than adhere to a particular theme.

Thanks for the info, Paul!

That’s a great start. Thank you! What did you use to build it? How long did that take?

I am still on Foundation (F1)
But it could be built with Foundry or others…I used a gallery that is old but still works.

I would definitely give Source a try, as @thang recommended. What you get in the free package is easily enough to build a substantial site and even the paid for add ons are not that expensive. Best of all, the learning curve is way easier than some of the other frameworks and the support is first rate. Something like Foundation will allow you to do almost anything you could dream up, but the cost and learning curve involved is way, way more. Horses for courses.