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RSS feeds in RapidWeaver With Newsroom

RSS feeds are a great way to display information from various different sites within a compact layout. Recently some RSS stacks have, for some reason, stopped working. Will Woodgate's new Newsroom stack works like a breeze and integrates seamlessly into your chosen theme.

Newsroom from Stacks4Stacks is simple to use and is more flexible than many RSS stacks. "How can an RSS stack be flexible?" I hear you ask…

Well, aside from the fact that it automatically takes its CSS formatting from the theme you're using, you can also use custom CSS to add more 'pep'. But RSS feeds also offer a wealth of different information along with the news itself; information such as Headline; Description; Author; Date Published; Tags and Categories and quite a few details more.
With Newsroom, you're not forced to publish this data as it is delivered, but can choose the order in which it is displayed and even choose to hide elements that you don't wish to publish.
Obviously, when an item is clicked, it will open the original post. With Newsroom, you can choose to open the post in the current widow, or in a new tab. But that's not all. There are eleven different options for the display from a simple list of entries to a zebra-striped table.

Newsroom – Stacks4Stacks
And then there are further settings for Header format, Header alignment, Header style (B,I,Upper Case etc.), Item formatting and much more.
Newsroom has child stacks, so you can add various feed sources to a single column, or you can add new Newsroom stacks to a multi-column layout.

You should, by now, be convinced that Newsroom is a really flexible RSS reader. If not – download the demo and take it for a spin!

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Unlimited Tabs in RapidWeaver

Have you ever been in the situation where your client wishes to include reams and reams of information on a single web page? The problem isn't adding the information, the problem is adding the information whilst keeping the page compact and accessible.

Unlimitab is Weavium's latest stack and as the name would suggest, the stack allows you to add unlimited tabs to an area of your page, thus keeping your page compact whilst allowing whole catalogues of information to be included. Seriously – the whole house, including the kitchen sink! I gave up after adding 20 tabs and I'm quite certain that you won't need more…
… especially when you consider loading times. Your tabbed content is all contained within the HTML which, from an SEO point of view is good, but if you've included images within each tab? I suppose that's your client's decision.

So you've dropped an Unlimitab stack onto your page, added a number of child stacks and filled them with content. When you take a look at the preview, you'll find a navigation bar above your content where you can either click the tab labels or the navigation arrows left and right. Unless you've altered the default settings, you'll also find a dropdown menu which is especially useful for larger amounts of content.
By default the navbar is black. The colour is set globally in the in the main stack settings, however, it's possible to override each of the default settings in the child stack settings so that each child tab-stack can be individually coloured.
The tabs can have a set max width and the height will adjust individually depending on the amount of content. This is pretty much the default behaviour of all tab stacks, but it would sometimes be nice to be able to set a default height and have overflowing content scrollable. IMO

Unlimitab - Weavium

Unlimitab is a neat stack and the ideal solution when you have so much content that you're at a loss as to what to do with it. If you're in a similar predicament, Unlimitab is 25% off for a limited time. Grab it now!

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WebP Images in RapidWeaver

In 2012 an average webpage was over 1200 kB in size and 60% of that was in images. It's unlikely that RapidWeaver pages have become any smaller in the meantime. With all the focus on performance and speed across the web performance industry, you would think that innovating on better image formats would be a top agenda item. WebP was developed in 2010, but the .png saga (not to mention SVG) will remind us that 'new' image formats aren't readily accepted by the browser developers. It has taken until now for developers to begin to come to terms with WebP.

WebP is a method of lossy and lossless compression that can be used on a large variety of photographic, translucent and graphical images found on the web. The degree of lossy compression is adjustable so a user can choose the trade-off between file size and image quality. WebP typically achieves an average of 30% more compression than JPEG and JPEG 2000, without loss of image quality.

Will Woodgate/Stacks4Stacks has just released the WebPStack that makes it easy to add WebP images as resources or warehoused images in Stacks. Within the stack settings, you can provide an image ALT attribute, an optional tooltip title and an optional link. Then for older web browsers that do not currently support WebP, you can specify a traditional JPG, PNG or GIF image to use instead.

It's a well-known fact that images speak louder than words, so here's a comparison:

WebPStack – Will Woodgate
Test One: The image on the left is a compressed .jpg (ImageOptim) it weighs 385 kB. I took this compressed image and ran it through the WebPonise app which reduced it by a further 87.5% (default app settings) resulting in an image weighing 48 kB. After examining the image closely, I'm unable to detect any artefacts or a loss in quality.

WebPStack – Will Woodgate
Test Two: This 'jpg was dowloaded from Pixabay. After running it through ImageOptim it was reduced by 5.9% and weighed 193 kB (left). The WebPonise app (default app settings) reduced the same downloaded image by 41.5%. Result: 120 kB. Once again, I'm unable to discern any artefacts (although there's plenty of scope for them in the sky) and no difference in the image quality.

Did you notice the 'for older web browsers that do not currently support WebP' part? It's a fact that not all web browsers support WebP images. Safari, sadly, is one of those browsers and there's as yet no way to preview a WebP image on the Mac. Will's WebPStack ensures that your warehoused .jpeg is displayed on older browsers and will load the much lighter image for browsers that already support the WebP format.

And I know you're going to ask, so here's a list of the browsers that currently support the WebP format:

WebP lossy support
  • Google Chrome (desktop) 17+
  • Google Chrome for Android version 25+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 11.10+
  • Native web browser, Android 4.0+ (ICS)
WebP lossy, lossless & alpha support
  • Google Chrome (desktop) 23+
  • Google Chrome for Android version 25+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 12.10+
  • Native web browser, Android 4.2+ (JB-MR1)
  • Pale Moon 26+
WebP Animation support
  • Google Chrome (desktop and Android) 32+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 19+

Resources:
The WebPonise app can be dowloaded here.
The WebP Wiki page is here.
The WebPStack from Stacks4Stacks

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AdblockDetector for RapidWeaver

Advertisements on some websites are extremely annoying, they can envelope occasional pages like a swarm of locusts. No wonder then that regular web users install ad-blockers. This is, of course, can be aggravating if you rely on advertisements as a source of income.

If you're an ad-blocker, you're bound to have seen messages informing you that a page can't be displayed because you have an ad-blocker active; you may even have been whisked away to a completely different page, or you may have seen a polite request to deactivate your ad-blocker.

Jeroen's AdblockDetector stack allows Weavers who rely on ads to display a LightboxMe lightbox with any content they please when an active adblocker is detected; it can display a floating text message; it can display the content of a child stack at the top of your page or it can whisk your visitor away to a different page entirely. The latter solution might sound a little harsh, but if you're offering free content and rely on ads to finance that content, you can usher your adblocked visitor to a page with paid content.

I personally don't have the LightboxMe stack from Marathia's Stacks, so I was unable to test this solution. This left me slightly disappointed that the 'Redirect' function wouldn't accept a javascript to allow me to activate one of my many other lightbox stacks. I'm hoping that this is simply an oversight. EDIT: Jeroen has, in the meantime, added a further option "Simulate a Link Click" which will allow you to run a javascript and open a 3rd party lightbox.

The redirect solution works as expected when an URL is entered and redirects almost instantaneously to your page with the paid content. The child stack displaces your page content to display whatever content you've added to it.

AdblockDetector – Marathia's Stacks
The AdblockDetector's 'Generic Alert' displays a page overlay with a text message of your choice alongside a 'close' button. A not unattractive solution if you don't have Marathia's LightboxMe.

AdblockDetector is not your run-of-the-mill 'pimp-my-page' stack that adds bells here and whistles there, it is an extremely useful stack for those Weavers that actually display advertisements to finance their publications. As such, I would classify it as a 'specialised' stack and recommend that you grab it as quickly as possible — before the price goes up!

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Smart Lists in RapidWeaver

Lists can be a bit of a boring affair. RapidWeaver allows you to build ordered lists and unordered lists by default and even though there are a number of formatting options, there's not really anything special. Then, of course, lists are notoriously cumbersome and if a list needs to be reordered, it has to be rewritten. Jeroen has give the subject some thought and has come up with a new stack that changes everything you thought you knew about lists.

Marathia's SmartList2 is the most versatile list stack currently available for RapidWeaver and it's difficult to imagine how it could be improved!
Let's begin with the obvious: Ordered Lists. I gave up trying to count how many language options there are for ordered lists. Apart from the standard Arabic (with or without leading 0) and Roman numerals (upper and lower case), there are literally dozens of optional languages available, from Armenian, through Telugu to traditional Chinese; it should be noted, however, that not all browsers are created equal when it comes to language display (you may be able to guess which browsers have the biggest problems).
Unordered lists arrive with the standard bullet options, including dashes; go on to include special characters such as ¶, ß, or §, etc. but don't stop there. Special characters also include Font Awesome characters (4.7) and local, or warehoused images of your choice.

SmartList2 Marathia's StacksSmartList2 shows up on your RW page as a stack with child stack. The main stack gives you extensive options for the global formatting of your lists, whilst each List Item can be set to override the standard format as can be observed above. If you realise that your list needs reordering, you can simply move the child stacks around.

If you need to create lists for your website, there's nothing to beat SmartList2. You'll need a simple workaround for multiple level lists, otherwise it's perfect for the job.
SmartList2 does not replace version 1, it's an addition that can be used alongside the previous version. However, if you own the original SmartList Stacks set, you can save 50% when upgrading to this new version. Look for the discount code in the info panes of any of the SmartListWrapper Stack and apply that code at the checkout.

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