Aug 05 2014 Filed in: Video Release
New Feature: "Pro Tips" in the RapidWeaver Classroom BlogAs 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 UpdatesTutorial #20 in the Foundation Theme series is now available.
Instructions for Classroom SubscribersLogin 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 UpdatesAfter 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.
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Aug 05 2014 Filed in: Pro Tips
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.
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.
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!
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