What's it like moving to Foundry or Foundation after using themes?

Just curious I don’t want to start a Foundry v Foundation debate I believe there are extensive discussions on here about that.

I’ve been using Rapidweaver since v5 and have always bought developer themes. It worked well for me over the years because they were better than anything I could have designed at the time.

However now I really want that extra control over my websites and have been watching tutorials for both Foundry & Foundation. Because I just need a very basic layout on a fairly large site (300+ pages) I want to build it from a blank slate.

My question is to any Rapidweaver users who switched from buying themes to using Foundry or Foundation what was the learning curve like & was it worth it?

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@Jamie1: You are the perfect kind of person to move from traditional themes to freeform themes like Foundry or Foundation. I was in much the same situation as you about 2 years ago.

I ended up using Foundry because I liked to overall speed, simplicity and design approach of it. Both are good products though.

I would say there’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not bad at all. I create course websites every semester so I always have new opportunities to develop a site. If you only have one website (with 300+ pages) then I’d suggest creating a mini-me version that gets published to a different location while you learn your chops. Or simply use Foundry/Foundation for redesigning only a small part of the bigger website as a first project.

You do need to learn how these approaches work. If using Foundry the videos that Adam provides are really well done, but also quite important to view. The most “boring” seeming topics are really the most important. Things like the “margins” stack or “container” stack may seem obvious and dull. But using how to use them well are critically important.

In both cases “partials” will be your friend. If you are not using them already, then you really want to learn about using partials sparingly but wisely.

Was it worth it? Oh, my god, it sure was! It’s like designing with a blank canvas: which I find much more rewarding and enjoyable relative to painting-by-numbers design wise. However, if you’re a person that doesn’t much like a blank canvas then maybe a re-thought is in order.


Without permanent cutting off myself from the use of themes, I started experimenting with Foundry, Foundation and RWSkinz, because—like you—I wanted that extra amount of control over the layout of my personal website. So far, I completed building my first site in Foundation (nearly 250 pages), but I am still planning on using other frameworks, as well.

One of the main motivators for moving towards frameworks was the freedom of using custom fonts without being dependent on Google. Other aspects of the GDPR rules are also easier to achieve, because you don’t have to worry about what’s built-in in a theme.

Of course, that means that there is some learning curve. That is unavoidable. But, generally, not too much. You can still use same stacks you are used to. And you have a whole new bunch of stacks that come with frameworks (both free and paid). I rarely use those, though. Basically, my entire layout is accomplished with free (donationware) stacks from BWD.

As Mathew said, creating the whole site from the ground up is rewarding and exciting (and sometimes frustrating, at least for me). It definitely broadens your web-designer’s skills.


I asked the same question last year and got pretty much same answers as @Mathew and @Rovertek gave now. Absolute true that there’s a learning curve but also benefits beyond using traditional themes. Though I was way greener, just had mastered one theme so you will do great!


I have used Foundation, Stacks and stacks for a few years. Now I’m starting to use RWSkinz and believe that you should also consider using RWSkintz (https://themeflood.com/rwskinz/).


I think that the answer is one word, ‘liberating’.


Thanks for the replies will definitely go ahead with one of these solutions. I’m quite excited to learn a new way to build sites & it’s reassuring to know it’s all done within Stacks 3.

I’m a bit late to the party on this but better late than never.


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