Website as an app

(Joe Wasser) #1

I have a strange one. I need to create manuals for work. Large technical manuals where links would be very handy. I don’t use Rapidweaver daily but for small sites I use for work.
The guy before me that made these manuals basically did a large document dump on a thumb drive that was handed out. I would like to create it as a website that could be handed out as a thumb drive or downloaded from the internet. But the site would need to appear as a single document. Is there a way to make a site in Rapidweaver that appears as a single document or app on cross platform devices? Mac, PC and tablets.

(Paul Dennison) #2

You can export your site from within RW, in theory this should work and as long as you don’t have any external dependancies like CDN networks for Font Awesome, Google Fonts etc. it shouldn’t be an issue

(Joe Wasser) #3

If I do that it gives me a folder full of folders and a few files. I need a way to encapsulate that into what will appear to the user as a single document or file.

(Paul Russam) #4

I just Googled ‘pdf entire website’ and this was the 1st result
There were many many more results so go see if any suit.

(Doug Bennett) #5

You haven’t really given a lot of information about the manuals.

  • What format are they in? PDFs? Word docs? ePub’s?
  • What’s the role of RapidWeaver and the website? An index to select and download the manuals? Serve the actual manuals with internal (within the manual) navigation?

Is there’s a reason for the manuals to be “self contained” on a thumb drive or downloaded from the Internet and not just accessed as needed from the Internet? Are they used where there’s no access to the Internet?

Websites created by RapidWeaver or any product require a web server to function correctly. RapidWeaver’s own preview and simulator are in fact “on the fly” web servers. Exporting a site to a folder as html, might appear to work, but as soon as you hit an external link or something like PHP it quickly breaks.

There are options like MAMP that allow you to run a web server with PHP and mySQL locally, but that requires installation on each machine, so that wouldn’t work “cross platform”.

RapidWeaver is a great website building tool, but it not an “app builder”. The output it creates is designed to be “served” by web servers like Apache or Nginx with support from PHP servers and mySQL as needed. That’s what makes it work across every platforms and with different browsers.

(Joe Wasser) #6

Here’s a little more detail on what I am doing. It’s kind of different.
I work for the Olympics in the audio department. I have to create manuals for about 50 venues in Tokyo. About 80% of the manuals are the same for every venue with the other 20% being venues specific. Drawings and such. I would create the 80% that everyone gets in Pages or Word. There area few PDFs or drawings that would need to be dropped in with the words I write. The other 20% is strictly PDFs of drawings or Excel sheets of things at each venue. I think a web page style format would be great because there is a lot of cross referencing. Links would be so handy.
It would be distributed by flash drive because that seems to be the most secure for us. I can’t post it to the open web because of these security issues. Also believe it or not sometimes we lose internet access at venues or it just hasn’t been installed yet.
Still trying to figure it all out but there is a little more info on how and why I am trying to do what I am doing.

(Joe Wasser) #7

Thanks! I’ll check it out.

(Mathew Mitchell) #8

@joenspa My sense is you are making this more complicated than it needs to be.

I’d suggest moving away from the website idea. In the end it will most likely be a PDF anyways. Why not make it a more powerful PDF from the beginning?

For a large project like this I’d suggest writing the documentation and inserting images by using Markdown. There are several good markdown editors out there. The “combo” I currently like the best is MultiMarkdown Composer (pro version) along with Marked (this is a Markdown viewer, not an editor). Using those tools you can easily create long PDF documents with links to different sections. Also easy to create a linkable Table of Contents.

Markdown will take you 30 to 60 minutes to learn. A side benefit to markdown: most web development software (including Rapidweaver) supports Markdown. So by writing Markdown once it’s ready for PDFs and Websites at the same time. (In fact it was partly created to solve this dual-documentation need.)

I’m very comfortable using RapidWeaver and love it. But I wouldn’t use it for this kind of project.

(Doug Bennett) #9

I would agree with Mathew(@Mathew),

This doesn’t sound much like a website type of project.

Word documents (or pages) don’t "play well on websites. They use embedded formatting that really breaks web browsers. In fact, that is a common error many folks have when they first start using development tool like RapidWeaver, the copy and paste from Word or Pages and expect the browser to recognize the formatting.

To make that 80 % of the documents usable on a website would mean they would need to be converted to a format that’s HTML friendly, like markdown or PDF or even HTML.

Since you are distributing these documents via thumb drive, I don’t know what the “website” approach would buy you.

(Mathew Mitchell) #10

@joenspa You could also use PDF Outliner (about $5 from the App store) to create a very nice ToC out of your markdown-to-PDF document. Highly structured, easy to navigate.

(Pierre Froelicher) #11

HTML at the time, with Tim Berners WAS invented to write Manuals. Rapidweaver is a huge overkill.
Start with a simple text editor like BBEDIT, use the info of
and all will fall in place. No need for Rapidweaver… So you can distribute a loose bunch of files in xxxx.html format… one index file with the menu…and you’re done… one folder for “pictures” all in a folder manualVenueXX point your browser here and you’re set.

(John Richards) #12

Voodoopad ?
“Drag and drop folders, PDFs, applications, or URLs into VoodooPad, and they will link up just like on the web. And with powerful search, nothing will be lost or out of reach.”

(R L) #13

@joenspa Sounds like a job for FileMaker Pro. One document, multiple files inside.