20 Foundation Theme Tutorials Now Available - Series Complete*


yeti

New Feature: "Pro Tips" in the RapidWeaver Classroom Blog

As mentioned last week, Pro Tips are helpful articles that will be added with each new tutorial update. Pro Tip #2 has been added this week, and you can find it immediately below this post, or click here to view it.

Overview of New Updates

Tutorial #20 in the Foundation Theme series is now available.

Instructions for Classroom Subscribers

Login here to access your account, then navigate to the Classroom curriculum and click on the Latest Updates button for direct links to these new tutorials.

Details of New Updates

After weeks of producing training for the Foundation Theme, the series finally comes to completion with the 20th tutorial. This final tutorial discusses the creation of various website layouts, and includes a few stacks that have yet not been discussed in the series.

At just over 4 hours in length, this series covers a lot of ground in great detail. Nevertheless, I'm careful in saying that the series is complete, which is why you see the asterisk (*) in the title of this post. There is a unique challenge in creating training for blank themes such as Foundation and FreeStack, since they are essentially capable of creating an unlimited variety of website designs and layouts. All that to say, please let me know if you find some detail lacking in this series of tutorials. I also expect that Joe Workman will add more features and stacks in the future as Foundation continues to mature, and I will certainly keep you up-to-date with that information.

In Case You Missed It (Recent Updates)

Recent changes have been made to the Classroom membership area. You will now find a "Featured Tutorials" section on the Home page, and I've adjusted the styling of some elements throughout the tutorial sections, which I hope will improve the user experience as you navigate through the different tutorials. I have also been working to implement RapidSearch Pro in the membership area as another method of finding tutorials, but some hurdles related to the protection of the content has prevented that from being successful so far. I do hope to have this working relatively soon, but for the time being you can use your browser's Find function (CMD+F) on the Browse All page to search for tutorials.

A series of 14 new tutorials covering the Stacks 2.5 plugin were released in the first half of March. I highly recommend these new tutorials for every RapidWeaver user! Click here to learn more about these Stacks 2.5 tutorials.

The past months have brought a number of other new tutorials: one covering the customization of banners or slideshows in the header of 3rd-party RapidWeaver themes, another discussing a method of embedding responsive YouTube videos, and there have been many new Stack Elements tutorials covering the PaySnap, MapSnap, DateSnap and BackSnap Stacks from Yabdab, the Content Fader Stack from DK Stacks, the PlayListr Stack from StackManiac, and the Jack Stack from Joe Workman. A couple of "How to..." tutorials on replacing an existing website and creating a mySQL database have been added, along with a couple of tutorials covering the excellent RapidSearch Pro plugin. Finally, a new series on the aMember 4 membership system was produced and is available to Grad School subscribers.

Coming Soon (Future Updates)

So after such a major undertaking in creating this training, what's next? Well, I'm not going to be taking it easy anytime soon, as RapidWeaver 6 is far along in the development stage and the RapidWeaver community should be expecting a release of this major update in the not-too-distant future. There is no official launch date from Realmac Software at this point, but there is a limited public beta going on now, which means that the time is drawing near. I will be replacing the entire RapidWeaver section of the curriculum with training that covers version 6, so that's 40-50 videos that will be keeping me busy for some time. I do hope to release a few tutorials covering various topics in the meantime, so check back here over the next few weeks for more information.

Thanks for your support!

Ryan

Not a RapidWeaver Classroom subscriber? Join now!

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Pro Tip #2: Laptop Users - Improve Efficiency with Added Hardware


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If you are using RapidWeaver to develop your website with a MacBook Air, MacBook or MacBook Pro, then Pro Tip #2 is for you. I personally do most of my development work in RapidWeaver on a 27" iMac, but on occasion I find myself in a situation where I am needing to do that work on a 13" MacBook Air. As I've done development work on the MacBook Air, I've noticed that it takes me longer to do things on the laptop, on account of the smaller screen size and use of a trackpad, opposed to a "traditional" mouse.

I was curious about how much efficiency I was losing, so I conducted a test, where I performed the same work on both the 27" iMac and the 13" MacBook Air. The result was that my efficiency dropped by 30-40% on the MacBook Air. If I were to do all of my development work on a laptop, then it would take me 30-40% more time to complete each project -- that adds up to a lot of additional time when you take development of entire websites into account.

Many of you who use RapidWeaver exclusively on a laptop may not realize how much faster that same development work could be done with a larger screen and traditional mouse. Now I certainly don't recommend that you go out and spend $2000 on a new iMac, but you can create a kind of desktop computing environment by adding an external display and a USB or Bluetooth wireless mouse to your laptop. By connecting an external display to your laptop, your laptop display will mirror to the larger screen, and whenever you need portability you can simply disconnect the monitor to continue using the laptop as usual.

As little as around $200 can significantly improve your productivity with RapidWeaver, and work in other applications as well for that matter. I have put together a few links to products on Amazon that may be worth considering.

Mouse
Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX - USB
Logitech Bluetooth Mouse M555b - Bluetooth (doesn't use a USB port)
Apple Wireless Magic Trackpad - Larger version of laptop trackpad. I find a traditional mouse like the options above to be more efficient.

External Display (Monitor) - Multiple options to choose from for every size. Each will be compatible with a Mac, using the Mini DisplayPort Adapter linked below.
21" Display
24" Display
27" Display
Mini DisplayPort Adapter - This will be needed to connect any non-Apple display to an Apple laptop.

The primary benefit of using an external display is that you gain additional vertical space on the screen. This reduces the amount of scrolling that is necessary, which translates to greater efficiency in working with RapidWeaver. The best example of this is in working with Stacks, where moving and copying stacks is much faster when you don't need to scroll up and down a great amount of the time.

A traditional mouse has an advantage over a trackpad because it offers much more precision in tracking and selecting items. Again, the use of Stacks provides a great example, where precision is important as you often must click in very specific spots. Selecting a particular stack on a page and adjusting its options in the Stack Inspector is most efficiently done with a traditional mouse.

If you decide to add an external display and/or mouse to your Apple laptop, I'd love to hear about your experience to see if your increase in productivity is similar to my own. Please leave a comment to let me know!

Thanks for your support!

Ryan

Not a RapidWeaver Classroom subscriber? Join now!

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3 New Foundation Tutorials Added -- 19 Videos Available


yeti

New Feature: "Pro Tips" in the RapidWeaver Classroom Blog

Before getting into the details of this week's update, I wanted to point out a new feature called "Pro Tips" that will be included in this blog with each tutorial update. Continue down past this blog entry to find Pro Tip #1, or click here to view it.

Overview of New Updates

Three more tutorials have been added to the Foundation Theme series here at RapidWeaver Classroom.

Instructions for Classroom Subscribers

Login here to access your account, then navigate to the Classroom curriculum and click on the Latest Updates button for direct links to these new tutorials.

Details of New Updates

Now at a total of 19 videos, this series on the Foundation Theme is approaching completion, and there is currently enough information to get you well on your way to building websites with this excellent theme.

The first new tutorial in this update covers the various Foundation buttons stacks that are available to perform a variety of functions. In addition to typical buttons that are used as links, Foundation's buttons can also be used in a group to provide navigation, present a list of links in a drop-down menu, launch a lightbox window and provide functionality for a contact form. The various button stacks are very flexible in both style and function.

The second tutorial discusses the use of the Flex Video Stack to add video in Foundation. The Flex Video Stack is a great solution for embedding hosted videos from services such as YouTube or Vimeo. This tutorial also shows how easy it is to present a video inside of a lightbox that is launched from a button.

Finally, the third tutorial briefly discusses the blogging options that are currently available for use with Foundation. This is more of an informational video, opposed to a how-to video. RapidWeaver Classroom currently has a tutorial that covers Joe Workman's Tumblr Stack, which is one of the options mentioned in this tutorial. I do plan to cover the other options with separate tutorials in the future.

In Case You Missed It (Recent Updates)

Recent changes have been made to the Classroom membership area. You will now find a "Featured Tutorials" section on the Home page, and I've adjusted the styling of some elements throughout the tutorial sections, which I hope will improve the user experience as you navigate through the different tutorials. I have also been working to implement RapidSearch Pro in the membership area as another method of finding tutorials, but some hurdles related to the protection of the content has prevented that from being successful so far. I do hope to have this working relatively soon, but for the time being you can use your browser's Find function (CMD+F) on the Browse All page to search for tutorials.

A series of 14 new tutorials covering the Stacks 2.5 plugin were released in the first half of March. I highly recommend these new tutorials for every RapidWeaver user! Click here to learn more about these Stacks 2.5 tutorials.

The past months have brought a number of other new tutorials: one covering the customization of banners or slideshows in the header of 3rd-party RapidWeaver themes, another discussing a method of embedding responsive YouTube videos, and there have been many new Stack Elements tutorials covering the PaySnap, MapSnap, DateSnap and BackSnap Stacks from Yabdab, the Content Fader Stack from DK Stacks, the PlayListr Stack from StackManiac, and the Jack Stack from Joe Workman. A couple of "How to..." tutorials on replacing an existing website and creating a mySQL database have been added, along with a couple of tutorials covering the excellent RapidSearch Pro plugin. Finally, a new series on the aMember 4 membership system was produced and is available to Grad School subscribers.

Coming Soon (Future Updates)

The Foundation series of tutorials is nearly complete! Check back next week for the final Foundation tutorials.

Thanks for your support!

Ryan

Not a RapidWeaver Classroom subscriber? Join now!

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Pro Tip #1: Send an Email Receipt after a Form Submission


email-icon
This is the first of many "Pro Tip" articles to come here in the RapidWeaver Classroom Blog. In addition to news about RapidWeaver Classroom tutorial updates, I'd like this blog to be another kind of learning resource for you, and these Pro Tips are intended to give you quick ideas for how to improve your website. Many times these articles will reference RapidWeaver Classroom tutorials, so dive deeper into certain subjects through those videos.

For Pro Tip #1, I recommend the use of an email receipt that will automatically email your website visitor when they submit information through a contact form on your website. Before I explain this recommendation further, I want to point out that RapidWeaver's built-in Contact Form page does not include the option to send an email receipt -- it simply presents a "success" message upon submission of the form, and nothing more. In order to send an email receipt you will need to purchase a 3rd-party form plugin or stack. At this time, both the FormLoom plugin and FormSnap suite of stacks from Yabdab include the option to send an email receipt. Both are excellent solutions, but I am partial to the FormSnap stacks because working with stacks and the Stacks 2 plugin offers more flexibility. RapidWeaver Classroom does have tutorials on both FormLoom and FormSnap (Tutorials > Add-Ons > Forms in the members' area), so please reference those tutorials if you are not familiar with how to use them.

Let's get to the details now. Why do I recommend the use of an email receipt?

1) Help prevent your future response from being filtered as spam.

Some email hosts -- Google in particular -- can be very aggressive about filtering email as spam. If you are using an email address that is associated with your domain name, then it is very possible that your emails will be filtered as spam by the recipient's email provider. This can cause significant problems, especially if you are trying to follow-up with a potential customer, or attempting to provide some type of support.

If your website form(s) is configured to send an email receipt, then you can instruct your website visitors to check their email inbox as soon as they submit the form. As a success message on the form page, you can say something like this:

"Thank you for contacting us. Please check your inbox now for an email from us. If you do not see the email in your inbox then check your spam folder. If the message is in your spam folder, mark it as "Not Spam" and add our email address to your contacts list. This will ensure that you receive our next correspondence, which should arrive in the next 24 hours."

In this case, the email receipt gives the recipient an opportunity to check that email from you will successfully arrive in their inbox. If they check their inbox and don't find the message, then they can take the necessary steps to ensure that they receive future email from you. The actual email receipt doesn't need to say much, and it could even suggest that the recipient add the email address to their contacts list as well.

2) Immediately provide useful information.

Many websites include FAQs, but unfortunately many website visitors too quickly submit a contact form for assistance, instead of looking through the available FAQ for an answer. The email receipt function offers you another opportunity to provide someone with the information they need, so that they don't have to wait for a manual response from you.

You can populate an email receipt with a list of common questions and answers, in the hopes that this information will often address the need that resulted in the person contacting you. As a part of the information provided in the receipt, you might request that the person respond back if that information answered their question. This can save you time in the long-run as you will ideally have less email support to handle.

3) Set expectations for your communication.

In general, using an email receipt can be a method of providing excellent customer service. Even though it's not personal or necessarily specific to the topic of the email request, it can establish an expectation for how you communicate and address customer needs. It's an opportunity to make a very quick first impression.

That's it for Pro Tip #1. I hope that you've found it helpful and you can expect a new tip along with each new tutorial update here at RapidWeaver Classroom.

Thanks for your support!

Ryan

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Four New Foundation Tutorials Added -- 16 Videos Available


yeti

Overview of New Updates

Four more tutorials have been added to the Foundation Theme series here at RapidWeaver Classroom.

Instructions for Classroom Subscribers

Login here to access your account, then navigate to the Classroom curriculum and click on the Latest Updates button for direct links to these new tutorials.

Details of New Updates

This update brings a couple of weeks' worth of tutorials to the Foundation series. Now at a total of 16 videos, this series on the Foundation Theme is approaching completion, and there is currently enough information to get you well on your way to building websites with this excellent theme.

The first new tutorial in this update covers the use of Foundation's Visibility Stack to show and/or hide content based on the device being used to view the website. The Visibility Stack can be very useful and something every Foundation user should understand, so this tutorial is highly recommended.

The following two tutorials in this update focus on the variety of Dynamic Layout stacks that are available for Foundation. These stacks include: Orbit Slider, Reveal Lightbox, Tabs, Accordion, Dropdown, Alerts and Clearing Gallery. These stacks offer tremendous functionality and I highly recommend taking the time to learn how they can be used.

Finally, the fourth tutorial covers the creation of forms in Foundation. Foundation's Starter Pack and Add-On Pack 1 include a number of stacks that can be used to create powerful, flexible forms on your website. Most every website needs at least a contact form, so be sure to check out this tutorial as well.

In Case You Missed It (Recent Updates)

Recent changes have been made to the Classroom membership area. You will now find a "Featured Tutorials" section on the Home page, and I've adjusted the styling of some elements throughout the tutorial sections, which I hope will improve the user experience as you navigate through the different tutorials. I have also been working to implement RapidSearch Pro in the membership area as another method of finding tutorials, but some hurdles related to the protection of the content has prevented that from being successful so far. I do hope to have this working relatively soon, but for the time being you can use your browser's Find function (CMD+F) on the Browse All page to search for tutorials.

A series of 14 new tutorials covering the Stacks 2.5 plugin were released in the first half of March. I highly recommend these new tutorials for every RapidWeaver user! Click here to learn more about these Stacks 2.5 tutorials.

The past few months have brought a number of other new tutorials: one covering the customization of banners or slideshows in the header of 3rd-party RapidWeaver themes, another discussing a method of embedding responsive YouTube videos, and there have been many new Stack Elements tutorials covering the PaySnap, MapSnap, DateSnap and BackSnap Stacks from Yabdab, the Content Fader Stack from DK Stacks, the PlayListr Stack from StackManiac, and the Jack Stack from Joe Workman. A couple of "How to..." tutorials on replacing an existing website and creating a mySQL database have been added, along with a couple of tutorials covering the excellent RapidSearch Pro plugin. Finally, a new series on the aMember 4 membership system was produced and is available to Grad School subscribers.

Coming Soon (Future Updates)

We are nearing completion of the Foundation tutorial series, so check back next week for some of the final Foundation tutorials.

Thanks for your support!

Ryan

Not a RapidWeaver Classroom subscriber? Join now!

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