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Gsheets in RapidWeaver

You might guess that Gsheet stands for Google's Sheets, the spreadsheet app from their online suite of apps. I've used Google's Sheets to publish inventory lists and a members list in RW, none of which was especially attractive. Sheets does have the advantage that anyone with access to them can edit the data, which is then automatically updated on any website that it's displayed on – an extremely simplistic CMS solution.

Now, with the help of Weavium, Google Sheets has outgrown its pram (baby carriage for those across the pond) and jumped into running shoes. Gsheet is a suite of eight stacks that allow you to publish highly polished dynamic data which can be changed on the fly by editing your Google Sheet. And I have to say that after inspecting the Gsheet demo page, I'm more than just a little surprised at just what the eight stacks can do. The stacks are Box, Button, G Sheet, IF, Icon, Image, Progress and Text.

The idea is that you drop the main Gsheet stack into a Box stack which defines maximum/minimum sizes and how your content will flow. After supplying Gsheet with the URL of you spreadsheet you can then add content simply by defining row:attribute within a text or image stack. The content of said field will then be imported and displayed in RapidWeaver.
The above combination of stacks alone allows you to present your data just the way you want it. The clou, however, is the IF stack which allows simple arguments such as
IF row.content contains text [text] THEN Show [stack content].

Gsheet – Weavium

The options for IF are Is True/False; Is Empty; Is Number; Is Equal To; Is Less Than; Is Greater Than; Contains Text…
The Options for THEN are Show/Hide; Change Colours; Change Opacity; Conditional Content; Conditional CSS Classes.
There aren't any ELSE options. You define ELSE arguments by adding further IF stacks.

Gsheet transforms Google Sheets into a flexible CMS solution for simple project pages. If you wish to see just how flexible Gsheet is, take a look at the demo page.


Conditional Content in RapidWeaver

Get relevant information to your users by displaying content in response to a visitor's input. If this sounds like AI, don't get too excited. RW can't yet predict what your customer is going to type, but you can; and with Text Detect from 1LD, you can provide targeted information to specific visitors.

Text Detect is a stack that can conditionally display additional content on a web page, based on the words or phrases that a user type into fields. You could provide targeted information for sales, support, or even provide additional fields or links to select users.
Let's take the example of a sales site and the simple question "Which product are you interested in?"

Text Detect – One Little DesignerThe answer is predictable. Logically, the user wishes to know more about one of the products mentioned on the current page. With Text Detect, you can add an HTML text area to your page for the customers reply, then add Text Detect Pop-ups with the relevant information.

Text Detect – One Little Designer
The information may be presented in one of five different ways for each Text Detect stack on your page. Inline (as above), Chat Bubble, Lightbox, Fixed Top or Fixed Bottom
The Text Detect Pop-ups can be set up to detect entries from a list of words and or phrases. The query can be formatted as case sensitive (or not) and partial word matches can be activated. In the example above, if I'd typed in "I'm interested in PlusKit" a different Inline window would have opened in place of the Stacks info simply because 'plus kit' was entered as one of the terms to be detected.

Text Detect is an interesting addition to the RW Stacks collection. It will save you time by identifying common enquiries beforehand and supplying predefined answers. You can add most 3rd-party stacks to the pop-up content and place Text Detect inside a 3rd party form to add custom messages.


Charter – Charts For RapidWeaver

Line Charts, Bar Charts (horizontal and vertical), Pie Charts, Polar Charts, Doughnuts, Radar Charts… All different statistic types that, for the most, weren't possible to display in RapidWeaver until…
… well, until Stuart Marshal of 'Shaking The Habitual' decided to create the Charter stack.

Statistics come in various forms – Calories contained in food products for example. Company websites, are likely to want to display a comparison of sales volume and total revenue for specific products. An NGO might want to display donations over the last twelve months.
Whatever statistics you wish to visualise, Charter has you covered.
While a doughnut chart might be the perfect way of comparing the calories contained in apples, beef, bread, fish and noodles, a vertical bar chart can easily display sales volumes over a specific period of time.
Charter is also animated. When your chart scrolls into view, the statistics grow to display their final values.

Charter – STH
Stack settings
Chart Type – Bars Vertical, Bars Horizontal, Line, Pie, Doughnut, Polar Area, Radar
Chart Title
Chart Label

Charter Data Sets (Data) – Up to five sets of data each with:
Values – Comma separated

Charter Data Sets (Styling)
Extensive colour and labelling options for each of the five data sets.

Chart Styles
Chart Height – Mobile, Desktop
Font Colour
Chart Padding

Chart Type Styles
Border Width
Point Radius
Point Border
Line Tension
Bar Width
Category Width

Display Axes – x, y
Display Grid – x, y
Grid Colours – x,y
Display Ticks – x,y
Display Labels – x.y
Label Text – x, y

Display Legend
Position – Top, Bottom, Left Right
Label Width
Label Font Size

Incude Title
Title Position – Top, Bottom, Left, Right
Title Font Size
Title Padding

Font Size

You were probably thinking that, with the exception of data and chart type, there's not a lot that you can configure when displaying statistics. The list of stack settings above shows that there's a lot more customisation possible than we may have thought.
Charter is is extremely flexible and every aspect can be customised. I heartily recommend that you visit the demo page to see everything that is possible – and there's more to come:
Stuart is currently working to add CSV and Google Sheets import.
If you have statistics that need to be visualised, you can grab Charter with a 20% discount by using the code sth-ninja-charter until the end of July!

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Dynamic DataBase Made Easy in RapidWeaver

Stack-Its just announced EasyDB for RapidWeaver. Now I'm a designer and Database is way above my pay grade, so I was a little sceptical about the "easy" bit. Nevertheless, I downloaded the demo version (yes, there's a demo available) and had a play with it. After all, I owe it to my regular readers to write a review…

The first thing I noticed about EasyDB is that the set up – although simple – does take some patience.
First off, you'll need to set up a database on your hosting server.
Well, I'd guessed that already, but it's a painless process once you've accessed you control panel – and Bill has a video online to show you how just how to do it.
In my case, it's just two mouse clicks. Just make a note of the login details, you'll need them very soon.

Using the EasyDB Login stack, you should now add a login page to your site, so that you'll be able to access the data in your database once it's online.

So – it's time to get started! You'll need to add a database Credentials stack to your RapidWeaver page and publish it. The credentials stack contains the name and location of your database and the login details. The Credentials stack allows your page to access the database that you just created and that is necessary before we can continue.
Then, following the video tutorials on Bill's website, you need to load the page into your browser and confirm the setup messages, you then need to deactivate "setup credentials", republish and refresh the page in the browser.

The next step is to add a Database stack to your page. We have a database on the server, but it doesn't contain any data. The database stack adds the data rows and columns to the database. As such, you'll need to give the database a name and define the fields that you require in the setup panels, e.g. firstname, lastname, email, address, etc, etc. Once that's done, you can publish the page, and check online that the action was successful.
Because "setup database" is still active in the settings panel, you'll need to deactivate that, republish the page and refresh your browser.

If you check the database on your host's servers, it should now contain all of the filed names that you just added – just waiting impatiently for your data.

But we're not quite ready yet, we don't have anywhere to display the data.
We need a TextGrid stack to get us started.
This is the exciting part: publishing your first data list to your page. Your database can actually contain more information than you want to display on this page, so you need to inform the page which fields to display. So in the TextGrid stack, you need to add the names of the dbase fields that you want your visitors see and supply a display-name for each of these fields. Once you've done this, you're almost there: repeat the publishing process as before and you should now see a database awaiting content!
Log in and add some content. If you already have your content in a spreadsheet, you can import it into EasyDB as a CSV file.

So what can your database contain? Well this will make a lot of people happy – the TextGrid can contain Small Text, Large Text w/ carriage returns, Integers, Floating Numbers, Date, Time, Money, Email, Images, Links, Checkboxes, Color, Rating & Progress Bar
The FreeForm stack can contain Text, Integers, Floating Numbers, Date, Time, Money, Email, Images & Links.
And all of this information is grabbed by some magic PHP code that Bill has hidden somewhere behind the curtains and displayed dynamically on your page. The second that an entry in the database is altered, it changes on the page – live.

FreeForm? Did someone mention FreeForm? Yes, EasyDB also supplies a FreeForm Setup stack and a FreeForm stack.
The FreeForm stack setup is a little more complicated, but it will allow you to dynamically grab individual data-rows from your data base and display them more, or less in a layout of your design. I've not gone through the process of setting up a FreeForm Stack because, to be quite honest, I just didn't have the time. However the process is similar to those mentioned above, it simply involves adding and defining multiple FreeForm Stacks.

The result… Each line of your database will now be displayed within a slideshow. Obviously cool, if you've added images.

EasyDB – Stack=-Its

If you've added a TextGrid to your page, it will display selection fields that will allow your data to be filtered by field name and content. You can set how many entries should be displayed per page and, of course, EasyDB adds a page navigation when there are further entries. Your data can also be exported to a CSV file

EasyDB, true to its name, makes setting up a complicated database relatively simple. It also has the added advantage of being able to grab data from a database for freeform display on any of your pages. The setup needs a little patience and, in my personal opinion, a centralised admin page could perhaps simplify matters, but – as I already stated database is way above my pay grade, so I'm not the expert to pass judgement on that…

If you need to publish a database online and need something that is more 'in-depth' than the simple CSV solutions that are available, EasyDB is the way to go.
Being a PHP/MySQL solution, depending on the content collected within your database, you can process and republish that data as required – dynamically.

Bill has placed a multitude of instruction videos on the product page to get you started. I wouldn't have known where to begin without them!


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