What are stacks?

I’m new to RW (but not to website design), and trying to figure out how the app works. I’m very confused about how to create a free-form design, with text and images free-floating around the page. I think the answer is stacks? What are stacks? And are they built into RW 6? I see on the “Manage Add-Ons” in RW 6 that there’s a tab for Stacks… so do I also need to buy Stacks 3 then, or is it built it?

Stacks is an AMAZING add-on plugin.

Check it out in Yourhead


Been so long since I purchased it, I can;t remember if there is a demo, but I am pretty sure there is. It really is a stunning piece of software, I could not imagine creating a site with out it anymore!

There are also Tutorials here in the RW site that will walk you through it as well.


What @caffeineinjection said. But if you know about web design and you can code, the HTML page type that’s built into Rapidweaver will let you do everything you can do with, for example Sublime Text and ‘real’ HTML code. In which case you don’t need to buy anything extra at all. (Though Stacks is what makes RW fly).

RW takes a bit of getting your head round but once you do, it’s a fantastic platform for building sites quickly.

And if by ‘free floating’ you mean you wantg to be able to plonk stuff wherever you like there are several themes (extra purchases) that let you do just that - Freestack Responsive and Joe Workman’s Foundation.

Keep playing and keep asking questions and you’ll work out the best way forward for you.

To be clear, Stacks refers to two associated things: Stacks with a capital S is a plugin for RapidWeaver which allows one to use a wide range of stacks with a small s. The plugin comes with a few basic stacks but you will need to buy additional ones to take full advantage of the system. Although I used RapidWeaver long before Stacks came along, it is now hard to imagine using it without. Some themes, such as Joe Workman’s Foundation, rely heavily on stacks (in this case to add all the extended features of the Zurb Foundation framework). Arguably, the greatest advantage of Stacks has been the way it has allowed the use of blank, responsive themes such as Foundation and Blueball’s Freestack Responsive. With these, you can create sites which look and behave exactly the way you want.

Although I COMPLETELY agree with Peter, this has never been established as true. We all just believe it! :stuck_out_tongue:

Think of Rapidweaver as being a front end to alow you to use Stacks (an additional purchase). You then need a template called a theme which usually follows a fixed position concept - think iWeb. To achieve “free-form design” you also need a free-form system such as Joe Workman’s Foundation (which consists of a “theme” and a set of Stacks or modules that work extremely well within the Foundation framework).

So you need, Rapidweaver, Stacks and Foundation. Foundation is by far the most popular and IMHO best free form way to build a web site with Rapidweaver.

To focus your mind more, if you download Rapidweaver and don’t have Stacks or Foundation, you will find there is a great deal that you can’t do within the context of free form.

I certainly found rapidweaver very confusing for a long time and avoided it. Stacks and Foundation are the 2 magic keys to make RW come to life.


I guess the part that makes it really confusing for me is this… I own RW6, but I don’t own Stacks (that I know of anyway). So why is there a Stacks tab in RW 6 under the “Manage Add-ons” area?

Because it is easier for Realmac to have that tab always there even if you do not have the Stacks Plugin. A LOT of users have Stacks and stacks add-ons. So they figured might as add that so users can see their installed stacks.

I agree mostly with @robbeattie. Personally I find Stacks extremely confusing and very difficult to configure. I use Stacks on only one website and desire never to use it again! For me its waste of money! Everything in all my other website projects I use html pages or embedded code.


I’m Isaiah and I wrote Stacks.

Stacks is a freeform layout tool for RapidWeaver. It allows you to build up a page by stacking elements up. Because it’s a general purpose tool there are a lot of different uses and a lot of different opinions about how to use it.

What are stacks?

Stacks comes with some build in components – commonly referred to as stacks – omg – i can’t believe it – I tried so hard to call them “elements” but everyone just kept calling them “stacks” – so here we are 8 years later :wink:
The built in stacks are for doing general purpose layout: like columns and grids. But the real power of Stacks is that there are over 1000 third party components, some made by enthusiasts that are free, some made more serious designers that cost a few bucks, and some made by and for serious pros – which sometimes cost more than Stacks or RapidWeaver itself.

What’s it for?

Some folks use it just to add columns to their site because that’s easy – and you can even use the trial version of Stacks to do it without paying a dime(please do, I want you to!).

And some folks use it to build complex sites with tons of components. And even use it to build with an advanced web framework like Foundation or Bootstrap.

Do you need Stacks?

No way! RapidWeaver is awesome even on its own. It works great with or without Stacks. But my hope is that gaining access to all those cool stacks in the community site ( http://rapidweavercommunity.com/rapidweaver/addons/stacks ) and the power & flexibility that you can add to your site makes it so it’s really really tempting. But if you it doesn’t suit you – I fully understand. Sometimes Keep-It-Simple is the way to go.

How do I get started?

Download it and give it a try. Trying is free. And you can play with the trial for as long as you like and even use it to publish sites with a few stacks.
Download: http://yourhead.com/stacks

Can I see an example of something built with Stacks

Just visit the RapidWeaver Gallery. Although not every site is built with stacks – so many are that’s it’s really tough to find one that’s not. http://rapidweavercommunity.com/rapidweaver/gallery


And lastly, I’ll just throw this out there. This is a short video on using one of the more advanced features of Stacks 3 called Partials. It lets you build you own reusable components. And… well… I’m kind of proud of this one. :slight_smile:



Is Blocks a better alternative to Stacks or do they complement each other in some way. New here and similarly in need of advice!

Blocks came before stacks, back before the world went mobile. Blocks are like the ridge cousins to stacks. They are not good in a responsive design, but they can be useful too. I do not believe you can use them together. If you are making a site and had to choose, I would choose stacks over blocks.


This isn’t a knock on blocks but Stacks will open you to an incredibly versatile/expansive world of add-ons that will help you do just about anything. Stacks is the way to go.


Kind of.

However, although it has its fans, Blocks doesn’t have the same development muscle behind it as Stacks. I have both and haven’t used Blocks on a site in - probably - five years.

Investigate it by all means - I think YourHead provides a free trial - but I suspect you’ll conclude that Stacks is the way forward.



Blocks builds pages with rigid sized things. That can be very useful for some types of content. And it can be an easy way to wade in to RapidWeaver if you came from iWeb (which used to be a big thing too).

But in today’s world where we browse the web on a wide array of varied devices with different sizes – choosing a responsive tool (like Stacks) is almost always the best choice.

But they’re both free to try, I encourage you to do exactly that. Never hurts to kick the tires.