Tutorial Updates

Tutorial Updates

Major Updates and RapidCart Pro Tutorials


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 Series I 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 Upgrades I 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 Soon This 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.

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