Stack Maniac has been acquired by Stacks4Stacks

Stacks4Stacks Stack Maniac Logo

I'm pleased to confirm that I've taken over ownership of Stack Maniac. Aaron Marquez started the website exactly 4 years ago and created 16 brilliant stack elements for RapidWeaver. Owing to other commitments, Aaron has decided to focus on some projects beyond RapidWeaver. Following several weeks of negotiating and detailed planning with Aaron, I'm pleased to confirm ownership has now passed over to myself. Aaron posted some information here about his decision:

I've been a long-time admirer of the stack elements Aaron has created. Like myself, he's focused on quite a few quality addons dealing with images, audio and video within websites. I had been wanting to expand the choice of audio and video stacks we provide via Stacks4Stacks, so the opportunity to acquire StackManiac is one I've taken seriously and with long-term plans. We already have some exciting ideas for taking things forward.

From now until 6th September 2015, will remain online and operational. We've added free demo versions and purchases are now handled via Paddle. Support links will redirect to Stacks4Stacks. On 6th September 2015 all the stacks will have been moved over to Stacks4Stacks, updated and rebranded. New stacks will be available for the ones that have been discontinued.

As part of the acquisition, I'll be taking full responsibility for all Stack Maniac customer support enquiries and updates from this day forward. This will include all testing and any updates in readiness for Stacks 3. A table has been published here with details of what's happening with each stack and the progress of the free updates:

It's not just stacks which I'll be adding to my RapidWeaver addons portfolio! Aaron previously took over ownership of several RapidWeaver themes from a former developer, by the name of Jeremy Blaze. It's perhaps fair to suggest these theme designs were not terribly successful; in reflection of the limited customisable settings and lack of customer support offered. Now the themes are in my ownership, I'll be updating and re-releasing all these designs. Each of the themes will be updated to our normal ThemeFlood standards and feature sets. A bit more information about these theme designs (like some screenshots) is temporarily published here:

So as you can see, we have enthusiastic plans going forward. I'm positive this acquisition will bring many benefits for all.

New stack - uTubeChannel

The free uTube and uTubeFill stacks have both proven to be incredibly popular stacks. Several people have asked if it's feasible to embed an entire channel within RapidWeaver; whereby all video's in a channel can be shown in succession and new video's are automatically added (without needing to republish the website from RapidWeaver each time). The new uTubeChannel stack will accomplish this, and I'm pleased to announce its availability today.

Simply add one of these stacks to your Stacks page. Enter your API key (fully documented on the website) and the name of the channel to embed. The latest video you upload to your channel will now always be shown by default in your webpage. The standard YouTube® video controls are used, to keep things simple and reassuring for your website users. The video title, play count, upload date and description are displayed below the video.

uTubeChannel Stack for RapidWeaver

Optionally you can also display a playlist, whereby your website visitors can click to view other video content you have recently published. The playlist is paginated with older / newer buttons. We've purposefully detached the playlist from the main uTubeChannel stack, so that you'll have complete freedom to place the playlist elsewhere on your page; such as within a sidebar, a theme ExtraContent container or inside a grid stack.

uTubeChannel Stack for RapidWeaver

uTubeChannel works on all major web browsers, together with most iOS and Android devices. It's using the latest YouTube API version 3 (with support for the new transparent-style YouTube controls) and will safely work on websites that have been secured with an SSL certificate. uTubeChannel includes a modest array of style settings, with scope to further customise things with your own CSS markup.

Read more: uTubeChannel Stack

Why all the updates?

If you're a user of Stacks4Stacks stack elements in RapidWeaver, you may notice you get notification of free updates for a number of our stack elements; starting on Monday 6th July 2015. The main change happening in these updates is the inclusion of new icons. These icons should provide a more illustrative representation of what each stack does and a better handle in the different library view modes. The new icons are all retina display compatible and were generated using this custom icon generator web app I built.

Alongside new icons, I am also taking advantage of including a few desirable bits of code which might be useful in future versions of Stacks. At this current time I am not permitted to share too much information, but all I can say is that these two minor additions may be of use going forward. You'll certainly be hearing lots more about Stacks 3 over the coming weeks form the official sources. As I'll be taking time off towards the end of this month and into August, I wanted to try and get a head-start on these updates.

It's quite a time consuming and laborious task to update all these stacks. I'm aiming to update ten every day; perhaps a few more if time permits. Fingers-crossed, we should have everything successfully updated within the next 7 days. These stacks are being updated in alphabetical order; starting with AdaptiveGrid and working all the way down to WeatherEmbed. Updating the stacks in small daily batches will ensure you are not inundated with update notifications and this process provides us with an opportunity to quickly catch and resolve any possible update issues.

Unless otherwise stipulated in the change logs, there are no other changes included in these updated stacks. May I take this opportunity again to thank you for your continued support. June 2015 was yet another record-breaking month for the Stacks4Stacks project; with all website visits, stack downloads, and sales far exceeded targeted expectations. This provides additional enthusiasm to roll-out some exciting free updates and new stack elements over the coming weeks.

Announcing TopBox 4

A major update over the previous version; TopBox 4 is a complete re-write of the previous stack. TopBox 4 introduces extended lightboxing features, support for many more content types, better performance, revised styling, more automation and easier setup. We firmly believe that TopBox is now the best lightbox and modal window addon available for RapidWeaver!

New lightbox features
TopBox stacks added to your page can be allocated to gallery sets. TopBox stacks sharing the same gallery ID will automatically receive next / previous buttons between each other.

More content types
TopBox now supports AJAX, HTML5 audio, HTML5 video, iFrames, inline content, local images, retina images, stacks, warehoused images, YouTube and Vimeo content straight out of the box. Content like audio and video automatically starts and stops in response to TopBox being opened and closed.

Inherited style settings
The final TopBox stack you add to a page becomes the 'master' TopBox. Style settings made to this final TopBox stack will automatically get applied to previous TopBox stacks added to the page. This makes it incredibly quick to uniformly style all TopBox stacks on the same page consistently, in just a few clicks.

Better performance
Core CSS and Javascript for the TopBox stack is loaded only once on a page; making for significant bandwidth savings in instances where you have many TopBox stacks on the same page. All button icons are achieved using customisable Font Awesome icons; therefore removing the need for TopBox to require any graphical icons.

Optional callbacks
New callbacks provide immensely powerful options for TopBox to interact with other scripts, stacks or plugins on your page. For example, stop other audio or video playing on the webpage when TopBox is opened or have TopBox close automatically when buttons are clicked or forms are submitted.

Easier setup
No-more remembering to give each TopBox stack a unique ID! Many parts of the TopBox stack are now automated; making TopBox incredibly quick and easy to get setup. Most average TopBox stacks can be setup without requiring any complicated configuration or code.

More and more websites are switching over to using SSL certificates (https). TopBox works perfectly in these setups and outsourced content like YouTube and Vimeo will be loaded securely too; avoiding browser error messages about insecure scripts.

TopBox 4 is a free update for all existing users. The update has to be manually downloaded and installed. You can obtain the update from your Paddle Locker or via email (remembering to attach proof of purchase). TopBox 4 will install itself alongside older versions of TopBox and will not replace them. For more details and information about TopBox (including live examples and a free downloadable demo version) please see this page. Please contact me direct if you have any queries or questions about TopBox 4.

New WeaverPix themes available for RapidWeaver

Here's the link you'll want:

As you may know, I do some work for Greg at Chillidog; helping with customer support at peak periods and with development / testing of some of his RapidWeaver addons. WeaverPix has always been a project I've been enthusiastic about. This stems from the fact I'm fortunate to be in contact with many creative experts; and I believe that RapidWeaver + WeaverPix are one of the simplest, perfect synergies for getting professional-looking image galleries online. Especially due to the emphasis in recent times of ditching Flash and making everything more mobile friendly.

I've had several WeaverPix themes in 'Beta' status for too long to remember! Today I'm releasing the first 3 addon themes for WeaverPix. Timeline and UltimateGallery are paid themes. UniformGrid is a freebie. I invite you to read about these themes, try the live examples and download them if you're interested. More WeaverPix themes will be added over the coming weeks. Please contact me direct if you have any questions about these new RapidWeaver addons.


Introducing the new Boutique theme for RapidWeaver

Based loosely on the Longitude theme; but featuring a drop-down navigation bar at the very top of the page, embedded web fonts, an integrated RapidSearchPro search box and optimised for the new RapidCartPro plugin. Boutique is ideally suited towards the construction of e-commerce websites. A bountiful array of theme style and colour settings allow you to build a website that looks like your own! Read More...

Introducing the ViewportText stack for RapidWeaver

I frequently get asked by RapidWeaver users what addons or techniques I would recommend for responsive text. Commonly when we're talking about 'responsive text'; we're referring to the ability for text size to scale, to fit different screen sizes (just as an image or video would). For example you may have a subheading in a page that you want to display on a single line, at quite a tall font size. While that heading may look satisfactory on desktop-sized screens, the text may look too large on smaller mobile devices. Alternatively you may wish to have an image caption scale at the same proportion as the image itself.

Many web designers like myself now build exclusively on a 'mobile-first' principle; for many reasons already emphasised. So the ability for text to scale responsively may be an important consideration in some of your projects.

Unlike images or video, you can't just scale text using em or percentage units of measurement. A relatively new unit of measurement got invented called vw (in this example not an abbreviation for Volkswagen, but an abbreviation for viewport width). Viewport width simply works by calculating font size as a proportionate measurement of the screen (browser window) width. So if for example you set font size with a vw value of 1.00, that would be equivalent to 1% of the viewport width. CSS tricks put together a brilliant article all about viewport width text. Viewport width text is part of the CSS3 specification.

On paper, this new viewport width property sounds perfect. But there are some potential issues to give careful consideration towards when using viewport text:

  • On large cinematic monitors, how do you prevent text scaling up to infinity and becoming too large?
  • What happens to text when the page is printed or saved as a PDF?
  • How do web browsers (like Internet Explorer 9) handle VW sizing when they have zero support for it?
  • Does line height scale at a similar proportion to the text size, to prevent the tops and bottoms of letters getting cut-off?

Responsive text stacks already exist for RapidWeaver. However some of these don't fully address the issues mentioned above. And typically I only want to recommend addons to my theme customers which are free and which I can fully endorse myself!

Released last week, the new ViewportText stack is a stack element I have coded entirely myself. It uses pure HTML and CSS, with no dependency on any client-side markup (like Javascript or Flash). So this stack is remarkably simple and reliable in its construction. In other words, there's not much to go wrong...

Using the ViewportText stack, you can choose to apply viewport width font sizing on content placed inside the stack or elements elsewhere in the page. As well as being able to set the viewport width and line height of text, you can specify a stop-point for text to no longer scale at, and a maximum font size thereafter.

The 'fallback' font size setting provides an additional safety net for older web browsers that do not support viewport scaled text (like Internet Explorer 9). Likewise the font size can be set for print and PDF output too. An optional animation setting also allows your text to animate in size, when the browser window width changes.

With practice, the new Viewport Text stack is remarkably easy to use and compliments a modern 'mobile first' design workflow absolutely perfectly. The introductory video provides a complete walk-through and explains how this stack works. ViewportText is compatible with most stacks and RapidWeaver themes, including all ThemeFlood themes, the Blueball FreeStacks system and existing stack elements like FontStack.

More information

UltimateGallery theme for WeaverPix (sneak preview)

A sneak preview of the new 'UltimateGallery' theme I have been developing in recent weeks for the RapidWeaver WeaverPix plugin. Currently code-named 'UltimateGallery', this theme is intended as a replacement to the defunct Ultimate Gallery stacks.

By using WeaverPix, UltimateGallery is able to source images from several different locations, including your computer, Picasa, Flickr, 500px, Dribbble and a WeaverPix warehouse.

The lightbox is optional. Clicking an image will either open the full-sized version of the image (if no custom link has been set). Alternatively the link you set in WeaverPix or the warehoused will be used, if one is provided.

The UltimateGallery theme has been expertly designed and developed. It's easy to use, highly automated and gives professional results. Lots of scope to further customise the galleries with custom CSS markup.

This is a temporary link to download the latest version of the theme:
The link will expire a few weeks from now.

MixingDeck 1.1.0 released

The original MixingDeck stack has proven to be incredibly popular with many RapidWeaver users. I've seen individual users put it to good use and I've even seen record companies make use of it in their websites. What started out as a weekend project grew into one of the most popular audio and video stacks for RapidWeaver.

Picture of the MixingDeck stack for RapidWeaver

MixingDeck comprises of a playlist you setup, in the format of an HTML unordered list. Each list item is a link to an individual audio or video file. Clicking one of these playlist links loads the audio or video file in the player above. This system means that multiple audio or vide files can share the same player controls. You can construct a playlist comprising of a mixture of audio or video files, in any order you prefer.

This new 'version 1.1.0' update does much the same as previous versions. It looks the same and it will function the same. A difference however is that I spent time completely re-writing the underlying source code for MixingDeck. This latest version has better performance, improved browser compatibility and more consistent handling of audio and video between different web browsers. Altogether, MixingDeck is now a very solid plugin.

Important! You will need to update your playlist markup with a small modification, after applying this update. I've already taken time to document this change in detail on the MixingDeck website. Due to the change required to the playlist markup, this update will need to be manually downloaded and installed on your computer.

As before, MixingDeck is provided free of charge. If you find it of use, please make a contribution.

Shortly I also hope to begin development on MixingDeckPro. This will be a separate paid version of MixingDeck; boasting significantly more features and many customisable options. Now is the perfect time to file your feature requests! You can email me direct with any ideas you have.

Introducing ExtraContent Plus

As the name suggests; this stack is an extended version of the normal ExtraContent stack, with the addition of several extremely useful features for power users! ExtraContent Plus helps keep your workspace in RapidWeaver neatly organised, and includes some special markup to improve ExtraContent performance and provide a safety-net in rare instances where users arrive at your website without Javascript support. ExtraContent Plus works with both RapidWeaver 5 and RapidWeaver 6; and is compatible with a majority of third-party addon themes (including all ThemeFlood designs).

Please click here for more information about the ExtraContent Plus stack, including setup documentation and the download link. ExtraContent Plus is generously provided as a free stack element, and contributions are encouraged if you find this stack useful in your work.