It has been months since my last update and this one is long overdue. Since that last update, RapidWeaver Classroom has been given a completely new design, an upgraded membership system, a search feature, a reworked presentation of tutorials and a new home for hosting the tutorial content. I am very happy with the results of this work, but the problem is that it has taken much longer than I anticipated, and this progress has come at the expense of new content. I am about 75% complete with all the "upgrades" I have been working on, but I've taken some time over the past 6 weeks to focus on production of new tutorial content, which I am releasing today.
22-Part RapidCart Pro 4 Tutorial SeriesI am pleased to announce a 22-part series of tutorials detailing the excellent RapidCart Pro 4 plugin for RapidWeaver. I have spent a lot of time with this plugin and I am very impressed with the e-commerce capabilities that it has to offer. It supports both physical and digital products, is highly customizable in almost every way imaginable, and it features a very elegant catalog and checkout experience. For years now I have championed CartLoom as my e-commerce solution of choice, but I must say that it has a very strong competitor in RapidCart Pro 4. If you are considering an e-commerce component for your website then I would highly recommend you take a look at RapidCart Pro 4.
Members, log-in here to access the RapidCart Pro 4 tutorials.
RapidWeaver Classroom UpgradesI briefly outlined some of the changes I've been working on, but wanted to take this opportunity to go into a bit more detail for anyone who might be interested. If you have not spent any time at RapidWeaver Classroom since late last year, then I'd like to encourage you to take a few minutes with the new design of the website. I wanted to feature many of the capabilities that RapidWeaver has to offer, and I needed to adopt a more modern theme to do that. The result is what I hope is an aesthetically pleasing design that is functional and provides an enjoyable user experience. This new design was implemented site-wide on both the public-facing and membership areas of the website.
In conjunction with the redesign I performed a major upgrade to the aMember membership system used here at RapidWeaver Classroom. In fact this was the most significant aMember upgrade since I launched the website in 2008. The benefits of this upgrade are many and greatly improve the user experience. For example, linking directly to a specific page of protected content as I did above was not possible in the previous version — believe it or not — and I can now do this as new content is added. You can now upgrade between curriculums through your account settings, and I am developing a tighter integration between them so that you can easily browse and access content between both. Speaking of curriculums, I took this opportunity to simplify the offerings and there are now just two that fall under the names Undergrad and Graduate. Undergrad was previously known as Classroom, and Graduate merges Grad School and Combined as the option for accessing all content.
I am also excited to announce that after many attempts at implementing a search feature, I have had success adding one that works better than any I've tried before. It is technically a "filter" — but it filters content by topic, keyword and/or developer. So, for example, you could set the filters to find tutorials that cover video stacks by Joe Workman, and you would quickly arrive at the corresponding page. This search feature is available on the Home page of the members' area as well as on a dedicated Search page there, and you can also find it on the Tutorials page of the main RapidWeaver Classroom website. I have created many search terms to filter by, but I'd appreciate feedback on any way it might be improved.
Finally, I decided it was also time to transition all of the video tutorial content to a new video hosting platform. I have been using Amazon's AWS service for years now and while it has been very good, managing the content has been difficult and the video player used to present this content has not kept up with changing technology. I had been keeping an eye on the Vimeo Pro service for some time and decided it was finally time to make the jump. The Vimeo player is a great improvement and many of the tutorials are now hosted there. The transition is still not complete, though, so I will continue to work on that as I also develop brand new content.
More New Content SoonThis release of the RapidCart Pro 4 series marks the starting point for a massive amount of new content to be produced in 2016. By the end of this year, a vast majority of RapidWeaver Classroom's curriculum will be new, as I update older content and cover many new, exciting add-ons. The work over these past months has brought me to the point where I can shift my focus back to tutorial production, and I am very excited about bringing new training to RapidWeaver Classroom.
Thanks for your support,
Sep 22 2015 Filed in: Video Release
I’ve added three more tutorials to the Stacks 3 series today, completing the series with a total of 13 videos. The new tutorials cover the use of the Stacks Cloud content management system (CMS) to remotely edit content from a web browser, the use of Stacks with the ExtraContent feature found in many 3rd-party themes, and instruction on how to import a Stacks page into non-Stacks pages using the PlusKit plugin. While Stacks Cloud may not be useful for everyone, the latter two tutorials should be very helpful for most RapidWeaver and Stacks users. In the case of the final tutorial, “Importing Stacks Into Non-Stacks Pages,” you will see how powerful the PlusKit plugin can be in giving you the ability to design content layout in Stacks, and place that content into other pages such as the Blog or Contact Form pages.
I am very happy with how the Stacks 3 series of tutorials turned out. I think it is very detailed and thorough in taking you through all that this phenomenal plugin has to offer. Even if you have been a Stacks 1 and 2 user, you will likely find some information in these tutorials that is new and helpful to you as you develop your websites.
In my last update I mentioned that my next endeavor is to produce a thorough series of tutorials covering responsive design. I will begin making these tutorials available during the first week of October and I look forward to sharing this very important training with you all!
Thanks for your support,
Sep 19 2015 Filed in: Video Release
The Stacks 3 series of tutorials now consists of a 10-part, nearly 2-hour series that explores most every detail of the plugin and its stacks. This latest updates includes an introduction for those new to stacks, a tutorial that covers the details of each built-in stack, instruction on the use of the Global Content feature, and thorough look at the text and image formatting tools available in Stacks 3.
The only Stacks 3 feature I’ve yet to cover is Stacks Cloud, a basic CMS (content management system) that is included with the plugin. I will have a tutorial covering Stacks Cloud available at the beginning of next week. I also plan to add a couple of other topics that aren’t specific to the Stacks plugin, but should prove to be useful as you work with Stacks.
RapidWeaver 6 and the Stacks 3 plugin form what I consider to be the foundation of website design with RapidWeaver. There is one other topic I believe should be included in that foundation, and that is responsive design — developing a website to be, as Google would say, “mobile-friendly.” RapidWeaver Classroom currently includes various tutorials that provide instruction on responsive design, but there is a need for a thorough series of tutorials that presents all of the information in a clear and concise manner. I plan to begin development of that series next week, and those tutorials will be released around the end of September or beginning of October. I am excited to bring this new and very important training to you all.
I hope you are enjoying Stacks 3, and if you haven’t yet upgraded then I can’t recommend it highly enough. Aside from the great new features, editing and saving your project has never been so fast thanks to the emphasis on speed in this new update.
Check back soon for more updates about the responsive design series!
Thanks for your support,
Sep 10 2015 Filed in: Video Release
I’ve added two more Stacks 3 tutorials to the curriculum today. It’s a very detailed, 2-part look at the Stacks Inspector. There is some very important material here, especially in regards to margin, padding, fill mode and background images — so you will want to take some time to view these.
I will be completing the Stacks 3 series next week and will let you know when those tutorials are available.
Thanks for your support,
Sep 04 2015 Filed in: Video Release
The highly-anticipated Stacks 3 plugin was released last week and I am excited to deliver new tutorials to cover new features of this amazing plugin. I can’t adequately express how significant of an update this is, and I think you will see what I mean when you go through the tutorials and learn about all that Stacks 3 has to offer.
First, a quick run-down of some of the major new features:
PartialsA new way to build your pages from modular, editable, reusable components that you build yourself.
Super Fast, Super Customizable LibraryA brand new library redesigned from the ground up to be blazing fast with configuration options to help you adjust your workflow just the way you like.
New Sidebar InterfaceBoth the Stacks Library and the Info Pane can be used as Windows, Popovers, or Sidebars. Plus hide/show them quickly with simple keyboard shortcuts. Now Stacks works great on all screen sizes!
New Responsive ContentThe built in column stacks are now responsive and support stacked layout options, per-platform hiding. All images now support responsive resizing and automatically export retina resolutions when the source image is large enough.
I’ve put together a video that provides an overview of the new features and will include that in this blog post below. I’ve also released the first 4 of a series of in-depth tutorials covering these features of Stacks 3, and those are available now in the membership area of RapidWeaver Classroom.
I hope you are excited about the possibilities that Stacks 3 brings. I am continuing to build-out a complete series for Stacks 3 that covers every detail you need to know. The complete series will be 15-18 videos total, so there is plenty more on the way over the next 1-2 weeks. I will update the blog here again as those are released. I also have a lot of new material planned following the Stacks 3 tutorials: a Responsive Design series, PayLoom 3, RapidCart 4, Foundation updates… the list goes on! I look forward to bringing a lot of new training through the rest of 2015!
P.S. Thank you to all of you who reached out to me by email or through the blog comments in response to my last update at the end of June. The outpouring of support was overwhelming and greatly appreciated, and I am sorry for not replying back to each of you individually. I am very happy to be back to producing new training for you all!
Thanks for your support,