Source vs Foundry for a non-professional developer

I know there is a lot of discussion about these 2 options, but I am in particular wondering which one is best for someone with some basic Rapidweaver knowledge and only wants to produce the occasional website for fun. I have no intentions on building sites for other people. Thx!


I am a huge fan of Foundry, as it is very well documented and supported. But in your case I would use Source as it is cheaper over all and you can establish a lot with it. It might have a slight steeper learning curve, though.


Maybe you could start with the free Source theme and stacks, see what they’re like to work with and then make a decision after that.


I actually started with Foundry myself but found it (and the other frameworks) overkill in both size and the amount of stacks they offered. Especially as I was still needing to turn to so many third-party stacks to build the sites I wanted to build. So I built Source and can now do (virtually) everything I need to do with only it and the addon stacks. A lot of other people are finding the same thing - whether that is using Source for their own projects or for their clients as professional developers.

I realise that everyone has different needs and preferred workflows though. Different frameworks simply suit some people better. There are big fans here of all the available frameworks.

I wrote a blog post a while back that might help.

But yes - long story short - Source is free to start so there is no harm in giving it a shot :slight_smile:


Hi Andrew, I switched to Source and love it. You can do a hell of a lot with it, with very few stacks(free). I switched to it because of its simplicity and power.
Check it out,

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I think it depends on what you want to do with the framework.

Source is nice, but it’s not as complete as some of the other frameworks. It’s more of micro’ framework, it’s lightweight design so, in theory, it should produce a lighter page weight than Foundry or other frameworks like Foundation 6 or UIkit.

Of course, once you’ve added all the third-party stacks to build the sites that you may want to build, the page-weight advantage can quickly go away.

If you have a bunch of other stacks that you want to keep using then Source could be a good choice, but if you don’t already have stacks that are included with a complete framework like Foundry then the cost to implement Source might end up being more.

Whatever framework you choose, if it has a stack that does the function you want to do, use that stack. See your page is loading a lot of code to make those stacks work. The code gets loaded whether you use it or not.

I see so many people who when they first start with a framework still use their favorite stack for something available with the framework.


100% agree @teefers.

The dilemma for people that use the big frameworks though is that the included stacks are not generally (in my opinion anyway) best-in-class versions. E.g. no framework has the best slider stack or the best gallery stack or the best modal stack etc. So do you stick with what is available to you in the framework or do you go for the best / most flexible one that is available to you in the RW community? As you say - if you go with the latter then you are immediately rendering a lot of code in the framework redundant.

Is great though for RW users to have so many options…

I have to chime in here… sorry if this hijacks the original intent of the thread. I agree with what @teefers said. Now…


I am an absolute performance nut. I have spent many days shaving off every microsecond possible off Foundation 6 page load times. I would gladly go head to head with any other theme on page load performance. I try not to toot my own horn but F6 is fast!

Many people consider Foundation to be the “biggest framework”. Just to put it into perspective, the Foundation 6 theme loads…

  • CSS - 26KB - 33KB (depending on settings)
  • JS - 41KB

This is a sliver of the size that most images people place on their pages. Not only that all of this will get cached on the very first page load and never loaded again. This code does not get downloaded on every page. It will be loaded from memory on all pages visited through out the site.

You can debate if all of this 74KB of code is needed. In my opinion, it’s a microscopic price to pay for what you get in terms of performance.

While I am standing on this soapbox…

Many people also consider Foundation to be the a framework “not for beginners”. I think that this perception has formed because of 2 things…

Foundation 6 has a completely new workflow. Change is hard. We have been using Stacks for 10 years now. We have always done things a certain way. F6 rocks that boat! Every user that has stuck with it and learned to retrain their brain to how F6 works has never looked back. They see the genius in it. A new users does not have 10 years of behaviors to retrain. They are starting from scratch. With a clean slate, learning to work with F6 is not complicated.

There are many advanced RW users that use Foundation 6. They achieve some of the most stellar and unique sites in the community. F6 does have advanced features that allow theses users to take things to that next level. People see these sites and things that can be done and think… Wow! I could never do that. But are you sure about that?!? I would challenge you that you could. :smiley:


Ultimately, if you are just starting out, you will be able to make a lovely website with any of the frameworks. The workflows and community behind each one is different. Knowing which one is best for you can’t be known without diving in and giving one a shot. I stand behind all of my products 100%. If any one of my products is not doing it for you, I will make it right, either through an update, store credit or refund.


For a one only purchase, to be able to make an entire website, albeit within the limits set by the developer, with a minimal learning curve… Foundry.

Source is great, but it’s not a framework, in the true sense of the word (as used in the RW world). If you want to think of it in those terms, it’s a micro-framework, for fleshing out the structure of a site. You’d then add in third party stacks as required, which will require considerable time to learn the various third party options, not to mention potential costs.

Source can do an awful lot, and an awful lot can be done with the free and paid-for Source stacks, but a lot of what can be done will require some lateral thinking, opposed to just dragging a stack called “hero header” to the page, to make a hero header, etc. Plus, Source has evolved to become quite a specialist suite of stacks, IMO, which will require a level of understanding of css classes to get the most out of it.

With regards to “size” and “speed” of the various frameworks, at this point, ignore all that. Most of it is nothing more than a pissing contest between the devs, to the average user, especially someone like yourself starting out, making a site for fun, it’s meaningless. Use the one you find the easiest to get along with and that gets the results you want in the shortest time possible.

Then, when you have got it all under your belt, and you want to take things up a level, buy UIkit3 :wink:


Exactly right. That’s what it was designed to do. My point here is that many people will be using those same third-party stacks regardless of their chosen framework - which will be wasteful to varying degrees. By the end of my time with Foundry i was effectively just using that whole framework to set up my fonts and basic stylings.

For a personal / hobbyist site then yes I would largely agree with this.

For sites that need to perform well though (fast, efficient, SEO-friendly) then RW users should be carefully considering every single thing that they put on their pages (the framework, the third-party stacks, images, videos, widgets etc etc).

I haven’t got time to debate the ‘genius’ of F6.

I do wonder where you are getting those numbers though. If your figures relate to gzipped/compressed files then that is a bit misleading as that is very often not enabled by default on servers. So unless someone is setting that up manually or going through a service like Cloudflare then they will likely not be realising those savings.

These are the blank page file sizes that I have had reported to me for the different frameworks. (These may be from slightly earlier versions so I will happily update if there is any anomaly.)

Yep, agree entirely. I was coming from the angle of someone starting out anew with RW, with no third party stacks. I kinda misunderstood the initial post, I thought they were starting out, not already using RW, most likely already with third party stacks.

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I don’t think you misunderstood anything in the initial post. The original poster is brand new to the forum and clearly states:

Doubt that they have a library full of third-party stacks.

Numbers in both cases are misleading. You do point out that many people don’t have compression enabled, and they really should so you think Joe is misleading, but your numbers are for a ”blank page” test. You’re comparing a self-proclaimed ”micro” framework to full-blown complete frameworks like Foundry, UIkit, and Foundation.

Who exactly publishes blank pages. As I started earlier if you add the things that are missing from the ”micro” framework then you quickly lose any size advantage.

Now I agree 100% that from a performance perspective, adding a bunch of third-party stacks to a full-blown framework isn’t a good idea. Especially when the framework includes that same functionality.

I get quite a few people who ask for my help both here on the forum and via DM and I see a lot of folks when they start with a framework still use their ”old” third party stacks. Most of the time, it’s not because the stack is ” best-in-class” but because they are familiar with it. They often don’t realize that the framework has a built-in slider stack or a built-in Gallery stack, or even built-in modal stacks.

My point here was to a relatively new user like I think the original poster is then a full-blown framework like Foundry, UIkit, Platorm, or Foundation 6 might be a better way to go. They have all the bells and whistles built-in, and every piece works with every other component.


I don’t think anything on that page is misleading. I am totally honest about how the numbers are presented and the limitations of Source.

Nobody does. Of course. I am simply demonstrating the starting point of a project. Consider this Source page. That published page is the same size as a blank page of the other frameworks.

Absolutely. They might well be. As might Source. This forum is all about these debates. And this thread in particular was enquiring about why someone might opt for Source over Foundry. Which i attempted to honestly answer before it got derailed.

I have to say that Joe is quite right about the speed of Foundation 6. The pages I’ve built with it load in a fraction of the time that Foundation 1 pages loaded. I’ve used the free Source stacks and they seem a very easy (and free!) introduction to using a blank theme, so are well suited to a novice. As well as Foundation and Foundry, I think Platform looks very good, but I haven’t tried that or Foundry. So much choice! We mustn’t complain about that.


I’m not sure everyone should use compression. I have one site in which it scrambled some of the code, so I had to settle for uncompressed.

What compression are you talking about?

Gzip compression(the one I was referring to) has been around since 1992, and I’ve never heard of any issues with it ”scrambling” content.

Gzip is the built-in HTTP compression routine and is included with every browser. It’s also used by the Linux tar utility that is used extensively to administer every Linux/Unix server in the world.

So I think I can safely say that everyone should use compression, referring to Gzip.

Yes. These are gzipped resources. Every web server worth even a single penny nowadays should be gzipping all assets before getting sent down to the browser. You need to fire your hosting company if they are not doing this. You do not need to be using Cloudflare. If you are though, they have some more advanced compression algorithms (brotli) that could help performance even further.

Your blank file size chart is interesting but it’s also quite misleading.

I’ve never seen the F6 files anywhere near this small but i’ll take your word for it. Remember to throw jquery in there too though :wink:

Absolutely they should. But they don’t. A huge number of RW sites that I see aren’t using this.

Feel free to elaborate.

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And that’s part of the misleading Source numbers. You’ve started that most everyone who uses source are going to use ”best-in-class versions” of third-party stacks. Which ”slider, Gallery or modal” are they using that doesn’t require jquery?

I haven’t seen any of these third-party stacks that would come close to what the frameworks offer that don’t use jquery.

The other advantage of the frameworks is much more of the code is loaded as part of the theme and becomes sitewide, where the individual stacks load the code on a per-page basis. That means if you use the same stack on different pages, that code would need to be reloaded from the server.

The sitewide common code would be retrieved from the browser’s cache, making it instantaneous.