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New Target For RapidWeaver

Here at Ninja News, we don't write about updated add-ons. If we did, this space would be overpopulated and the monthly newsletter would be fifteen pages long.
But for every rule there's an exception. When a plugin is completely rewritten and prances around with swelled chest, proclaiming 'I'm New', we have to sit up and take notice.

And JW's updated Target is new. Having been rewritten from the ground up, it's much simpler to use, it's easier to understand and it offers completely new options.

The old Target stack was sometimes a little difficult to use. The options weren't always 100% understandable and you could sometimes play around for… well, let's say longer than necessary to get your positioning just right. With Target's new options, experimentation is a thing of the past, your main concerns are now limited to Margins and Padding!

As before, Target offers options to pin its content to the top, or to the bottom of the page, or relative to its parent stack etc, but it now comes with an additional container for Background content. The advantage? Well, for example, there are a couple of third party menu stacks that are unable to have a logo positioned within them.
Drop the menu stack into a Target background container, however, and logos become child's play.
But that's just one option. Using the background stack, you get five default options for the positioning, plus an option to customise your position and as before, you can also rotate your content.

Target – Joe Workman
If you already purchased Target, no matter if it was last week or at some point in 2012, the update is completely free. If you didn't purchase Target yet, you might want to give it some serious consideration…

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Hopping Through RapidWeaver Pages

Weavium has a knack of presenting us with simple solutions to tasks that could otherwise put some strain on those grey cells. Their latest stack, Hop, presents yet another attractive solution to that age old problem: Reams and reams of client data.

Hop is essentially a lightbox, but with the difference that it is intended to be nested. I.E. it can lead your customers to the solution that they are looking for. We all know the situation – We visit a site's storefront looking for Household Goods, klick the pertinent button and are whisked away to a new page with a further set of options; Kitchen Implements, Bathroom Accessories, Bedroom Trimmings, etc. etc. Selecting one of the options, we are yet again whisked away to a new page with a selection of appropriate products.
Another example: An online bookstore with links to Novels, Histories, Biographies, etc. which each open up a new page…

… You get what I'm talking about. Right, I'm talking about Hop which, instead of whisking you away to a new page, simply opens a full page lightbox with the next options. And the lightbox opens with one of six different animations.
The example that I've built centres around a travel blog. 'What to See and Do in Bangkok' would take you to a list of blog entries about the city with the longest place name in the world (and no, as opposed to what the Guiness Book of Records might tell you, that is not Llanfairpwll… on Angelsy). Clicking on 'Crossing Borders' would take you to information about passing to and from Thailand and its surrounding countries.

Hop – Weavium

Hop – Weavium

The content is all contained within one page, so page load times could be influenced, depending what you insert into Hop. SEO will also be influenced; I'm presuming that that will be more on the positive side.

Hop arrives with two stacks: Hop and Hop Starter. The Hop stack is the main stack which will contain your Initial and Additional Content. You can design your Initial Content using any combination of stacks, or you can use the Hop Starter stack to ensure that each initial presentation is identical.

Stack settings
Hop Starter Stack
Icon Order – First, Last
[Icon] Alignment – Top, Center, Bottom
Text Align – Initial, Expanded
Icon Font – Four standard Icon fonts plus Custom, Icon Image from link, Icon from Inline Image
Icon Size – px
Icon Radius – px
Icon Colour – Initial, Expanded
Title – Size, Colour
Description – Size, Colour
Button– Configuration

Hop Settings
Page Title, Size, Animation Type
Content Sizes, Fonts, Colours
The settings are comprehensive and don't leave anything to wish for.

Hop is probably not ideal for an extensive catalogue of products; I'm presuming that page load times would get out of hand, but for more simple "I'm interested in…" and leading your visitor deeper into your page, Hop is ideal. And not only that; Hop provides an attractive solution to many of the problems that we have with extra content.

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New LUX Theme for RapidWeaver

It's been a while since I reviewed a RapidWeaver theme and even longer since I actually used one. Today, I realised why that is…
… when I design a website, I first choose a colour scheme that has some relevance to the site's subject or the client's CD*, then I choose fonts that I feel are appropriate. I usually have a rough layout in my head, which I will then refine as I go along.
Themes such as the new LUX theme from Multithemes are aimed at RW users who may be less creative, or who want to spend less time concentrating on the page structure, users who want to quickly put a site together and publish their content. And that's good; if that weren't possible, there wouldn't be so many good sites online.

Multithemes LUX won't, however, allow you to switch your brain off entirely. Once you've decided on a colour scheme (25 different elements beg your attention), you then need to choose from one of fifteen headline fonts and five fonts for your content. You then have the option to include a background image for each page (tiled, or as a cover image) and then there's an option for an (actually ten different) HTML5 animation overlay, which can be used as an overlay for the background image, or for one of the optional colour backgrounds.

Remember Extra Content? ExtraContent came about when a handful of 3rd party developers got together to address the need for more content spaces in RapidWeaver.
While the content area and sidebar are ample space for the vast majority of RapidWeaver users, there are some who want more flexibility to add content in ways keeping with todays modern web designs.
LUX comes with an Extra Content stack and three options for its positioning 1) Below the Header, 2) Below the page content 3) Within the Menu dropdown.
Which brings me to the navigation menu. The menu is just that: Top right is the word "Menu" with a Plus button. Clicking either opens a navigation overlay which is either just over 50% of the page width or, optionally (Nav Wide), approximately 95% of the viewport width. Extra Content 3 is positioned below the navigation bar that appears, so it's feasible to add a map of your location to the menu, along with company details.

LUX – Multithemes

LUX is a theme with a straightforward, very clean design that is enhanced by an unusual, but very useful navigation and some interesting animations for each page load. The animations are only displayed once on each page so they are subtle rather than overbearing. LUX has been tested and found compatible with all modern browsers. The theme can be customised with dozens of options, allowing you to create, your very own individual site.

Criticism: I only found one point: I can choose from 15 different Google fonts for my headlines, but only have five standard web fonts for the content – the standard web fonts don't always harmonise with the header fonts.

Trivia:

  • An icon font is embedded into LUX (as are social icons). I found it amusing that the navigation arrows are called 'Carrots' and the carets are called 'Arrow-Triangles'.
  • I was annoyed by the fact that I was unable to open the demo project. After 250 Beta versions of RW 8.1, I have refused to upgrade and still use RW 8.03 – sadly the new version is not backwards compatible.

*CD = Corporate Design: The standardised design elements that are associated with a company's visual appearance.
Not to be confused with:
CI = Corporate Identity or corporate image: the manner which a corporation, firm or business presents themselves to the public internally and externally.

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Make Your Content Pop in RapidWeaver

It's sometimes difficult to allow web content to stand out from the rest of the page and still have said content look attractive. Underlines, frames, shadows, background colours, blatant flashing or jiggling sections – we've seen it all and find it just a little boring.

Popper is a new stack from STH [Shaking The Habitual] that will allow you to overlay / underlay / frame / decorate your content almost any way you please. The stack itself has just two settings Framer/Divider and Height, if Divider has been set. If Popper is set to Framer, you'll see a stacks container for the content that is to be framed, you'll also see a stacks child for the first part of your frame. Closer inspection reveals that the initial child is 200px wide and 160px high, and because your content doesn't yet have any padding, the child stack is actually top-left behind your content, so you'll need to decide exactly where to position your Popper child stacks.

You have options to set dotted (round or square) or chequered patterns. You can set the pattern height and width, the distance for the pattern repetition, the colour (of course) and the zIndex (extremely useful if you wish to layer the child stacks and create your own, more complicated patterns).

Have a text that you need to highlight? Add a frame to two corners. Have an image with a mundane background? Make it pop by overlaying a pattern. The STH Popper demo page has dozens of examples.
The simple example below was created using a single Popper stack with four child stacks around the text stack, then a Popper stack with two child stacks used as a divider.

Popper – Shaking The Habitual
Get creative with Popper!

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Layouts in RapidWeaver

A few years ago, 1LD released a stack called Pure Grids. I was disappointed when it and all other 'Pure' stacks disappeared from their site because it was one of the best grid/column stacks available at the time. However, 1LD just released a grid stack that might just be even better – Layouts.

Layouts is a single stack that lets you build grids with unlimited numbers of columns, but it comes with built in stacks for Columns, Rows, Headings and Text. Layouts is flexible enough to build complete pages with relatively little effort. Gutters and row spacers are added automatically so that your layout is evenly spaced, but every setting remains fully editable. All of the elements can easily be reshuffled when need be.

Layouts creates 2 dimensional grids similar to Flexbox. This means that a grid element can not expand into the row below it as is possible with CSS Grids, but hey! CSS Grids are too possibly complicated for the majority of Weavers anyway!

A grid element – with a single mouse click – can be transformed into a Column, Row, Heading, or Text. You can, of course, add any of your favourite stacks to a Layout Column or Row; the height of each Layout element can be set up to 100% of the screen height and it goes without saying that your Layouts will reflow to fit any viewport width – there are advanced settings which allow you to define breakpoints for each device.
You'll find that Layouts is pretty amazing…

To go through each of the settings would take up more space than is available here, so if you decide that Layouts is for you, be sure to study the RW8 demo page that is included with the stack! Layouts works equally well with RW7 and there is a detailed tutorial available here.

Layouts – One Little Designer

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