Fin

I would now like to ask for the opinions of Freeway veteran Responsive site designers, including but not limited to Ernie Simpson and Thomas, what your specific thoughts are regarding RW+Stacks+Foundation. There’s clearly a reason you have stuck with Freeway all this time, and Ernie, you spent considerable time creating an amazingly helpful blog on the subject too. Surely you knew of the existence of RW+Stacks and perhaps even about Foundation. So what specifically kept you locked to Freeway? Habit alone, or missing features?

Thank you,

James Wages


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I realized that I offered for users to contact me directly but I did not provide any details.

  • Twitter: @joeworkman
  • Email: email@hidden

You are also free to join https://weavers.space and peruse topics and ask questions there. I am extremely active there as well.

Reminder that I am heading out on a camping trip with my family for a few days. So my response times will be slow to none until late next week. Although my team will be there answering email as well.


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Notice that the forum hides email addresses here… it is… “support -at- joeworkman dot net”

depending on how much email come through, you will probably get a faster response time from that email as 3 of us keep an eye on it.

However, if you would prefer to contact me personally, feel free to reach out to me at “joe -at- workman mail dot com”


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A very sad, sad day …
All the best for the Softpress team and hopefully there will be someday a way to go on.

Greets

Ray


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Hi James,
Although not part of your list I thought I’d add my views on the subject. :slight_smile:

I’ve been using Freeway since version 2 (1999) and have watched RapidWeaver grow from a simple iWeb alternative into a big eco system. The application itself is now quite mature and can do pretty much most of what users expect of it but still some of the features you’d find in Freeway are only supported in third party stacks. In Freeway, for example, you can create an image map simply by dragging a linked area over an image. Admittedly RealMac have concentrated on the features that people now use so many of the legacy features of Freeway (image maps, frames, legacy HTML and CSS levels) that have been there since the start just don’t exist in the app.

For me personally the thing that holds me back from RapidWeaver is not the missing features or the third party additions (stacks, themes etc) market that seems to be driving the product (rather than the other way around) but it is the general state of code output. Isaiah at YourHead who originally created the Stacks plug-in has done a fantastic job of pushing RapidWeaver from a hobbyist app that essentially relied on themes into something that the user could define the layout and break that reliance on the theme structure. Part of this mastery is how Stacks isolates and ring fences each stack’s code into their own sections which stops one stck from stepping all over others on the same page. The downside is that it creates a lot, A LOT, of code for the page. Take a look at a RapidWeaver Stacks page and you’ll find a stylesheet and often a JavaScript file or two for each stack plus a whole load of structural code. I suspect 99% of users don’t care too much about this as, like Freeway in the past, “it just works” and who looks at the source code any way? For me it matters and although Freeway’s code output is far from ideal it isn’t abstracted to the point of not being able to follow the flow of execution while reading through the source code.

RapidWeaver fans here shouldn’t feel I’m singling them out as I feel pretty much the same way about WordPress. Both RapidWeaver and WordPress are ‘go to’ solutions in web development and share a lot of the same benefits but, sadly, a lot of the same issues I’ve mentioned above.

Personally I’m in no hurry to look for a Freeway replacement as the application still runs and I can’t recall the last time I contacted their support staff. I run my business, in part, on the strengths of Freeway and often use the application to prototype or create page templates that I then go on and adjust by hand or with an Action if needed. Each Freeway user will need to weigh up what Softpress shutting down means to them and move on, or not, as they feel most comfortable. I’d like to think that this, or another, forum would provide peer to peer support and a friendly ear to users who want to stick around. This has been such a great community over the years and, for me, it is worth a lot more that than the application that brought us all here. A huge tip of the hat goes to Walter for my feelings about this forum as over the years he has been the one to selflessly give again and again to the users here. Without Walter and that ‘do good’ ethos this place would be just like a lot of other forums.

If I did ever move away from Freeway then I’d consider Responsive Site Designer from Coffee Cup as it seems the closest I’ve seen to the sort of workflow I’d be happy with. Failing that I’m happy to open up my text editor and Photoshop or Sketch and code the thing I want from the outset.

These are exiting times and I’m keen to see every Freeway user supported in whatever journey they want to make.
Regards,
Tim.

On 9 Jul 2016, at 03:40, JDW email@hidden wrote:

I would now like to ask for the opinions of Freeway veteran Responsive site designers, including but not limited to Ernie Simpson and Thomas, what your specific thoughts are regarding RW+Stacks+Foundation. There’s clearly a reason you have stuck with Freeway all this time, and Ernie, you spent considerable time creating an amazingly helpful blog on the subject too. Surely you knew of the existence of RW+Stacks and perhaps even about Foundation. So what specifically kept you locked to Freeway? Habit alone, or missing features?


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Thank you for your detailed feedback, Tim. And thank you for your contributions to Freeway through the years, including FreewayActions.com. Walter Davis has been truly an indispensable part of the Freeway experience for decades, and so have you. I really don’t know what we would have done without all your visible and behind the scenes contributions. Thank you!

Here are the 2 takeaways from your post:

  1. RW + Stacks (+ Foundation) = potentially bloated code

  2. Responsive Site Designer = workflow akin to Freeway (with leaner code)

I too will continue to use Freeway for the time being, but I also know that I wish to create a responsive version of my two big sites. I need time to not only figure out which alternate web design too to invest my money in, but I also need time (perhaps months) to rebuild everything from scratch. Hopefully I would be able to accomplish all that before a version of MacOS comes out that breaks Freeway. And with my feeble brain, that is a genuine concern!

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Joe Workman, I’d still love to have you read though the following and offer feedback on how such search bars are implemented in RW+Stacks+Foundation:

Thanks,

James Wages


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Complete shock here. Freeway saved my bacon years ago when other types of work dried up and web design pulled in a lot of business and kept me going, mind you, web design technical requirements were simpler then.
I owe Softpress and their team a huge debt of gratitude for that. From their first class Support to their totally personal approach. Not to mention FWT for their helpful and selfless support for anybody with a problem.
I wish everybody at Softpress Towers bon voyage and may the Force be with you, always.


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I think we all knew this was on the cards sooner than later.

Many of the jobs I do now is levering a CMS into the Framework/structure that Freeway so quickly prototyped for me. I’m already putting into Freeway a lot of hand code from a text editor (Coda) it’s perhaps a small hop to just use Coda and Affinity Designer/Photo to do the whole thing. In the back of my mind I was only putting the decision off.

Like Ernie’s comments earlier Freeway was/is like a crutch or better a familiar pair of well worn slippers that it’s time to throw away and move on.

"Like it or not, the future is clearer now.”
Ernie ~ 7 July 2016

David Owen { Freeway / Rapidweaver Friendly Web hosting and Domains }

http://www.ineedwebhosting.co.uk | http://www.PrintlineAdvertising.co.uk

On 9 Jul 2016, at 10:49, Tim Plumb email@hidden wrote:

If I did ever move away from Freeway then I’d consider Responsive Site Designer from Coffee Cup as it seems the closest I’ve seen to the sort of workflow I’d be happy with. Failing that I’m happy to open up my text editor and Photoshop or Sketch and code the thing I want from the outset.


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Tim mentions excessive code with Rapidweaver projects but I wonder if he has seen the wonderful stacks from http://www.bigwhiteduck.com that work with Foundation and can be downloaded for free, though a donation is appreciated.

The developer called Andrew is fantastically skilled and makes huge efforts to ensure his addons both capable and efficient. For example Grummage one and two column stacks produce up to 60% less code in their default state Grummage Bundle Stack for RapidWeaver

I tried Rapidweaver many years ago and found it frustratingly limited so I came over to Freeway, which I used from versions 4 through to 6, so I definitely gave it a decent go but to be honest I always struggled a bit to achieve the results I wanted with Freeway.

It was actually a post on this forum that led me to try Rapidweaver and Foundation. Was there a learning curve? Absolutely and I’m still learning, but in quick order I was able to start producing workable responsive sites and the range of options with Stacks is phenomenal.

It’s sad news that Softpress have decided to cease development and I wish them well but if you do your own web design work I would strongly suggest looking at alternatives as soon as possible, even if you continue to work with Freeway for the foreseeable future.

Ashley


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James,

In terms of search, there are many addons for RapidWeaver that can do site search. I have a couple of search addons. One uses DuckDuckGo and the other uses SearchPath.io. Both services are somewhat meh to be honest. I also have a Bloggin product that has search built in but that is only for the blog.

The most popular search add-on for RapidWeaver is RapidSearchPro. It leverages Google. I also think that it may have its own algorithm as an option as well. There are at least 3 or 4 more search addons out on the market for RapidWeaver though. So you definitely have a lot of options.


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Very sad news on a dreich Scottish day, more so now:(

Though I rarely do web design these days I still enjoy dipping into this most friendly (mostly) and helpful of forums, hence finding this sad news.
Freeway was the one sofware I looked forward to using, of course still is. Thanks also to FWT for the safety net.

Freeway (Softpress) set a high standard, justifiably winning numerous awards, however things change and the web has changed so dramatically over a relatively short period. No one could really have foreseen how things would pan out with web design.

I wish all at Softpress the best for the future, their undoubted talent will shine in all future ventures.

thank you

seoras (george)


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Part of this mastery is how Stacks isolates and ring fences each stack’s code into their own sections which stops one stck from stepping all over others on the same page. The downside is that it creates a lot, A LOT, of code for the page.

There is some truth in this, but as with all things, its improved over time. In order for Stacks to encapsulate each stack added to the page, there are 2 div wrappers added. Each stack is also assigned and ID so that the CSS and JS can be properly scoped. This ensures that stacks function independently on the page and there is no style overlap. As you said most users should not care about this at all.

The community of RapidWeaver add-on developers is larger than it has ever been. As with anything, if you are wise with whom you purchase from, you should have smaller & cleaner code output. I personally work very hard to produce the smallest and cleanest amount of code out there.

When Stacks 3 was released last year, it has some new APIs that allowed developers to ditch the 2 div wrappers. However, not even I am removing the wrappers from all of my products because they do indeed serve an important purpose. They are not just fluff. However, where ever its possible, I definitely try to not use them. In fact with my next major release of Foundation, you will be hard pressed to differentiate sites built with it from a site coded by hand!

As of right now, my current Foundation product still produces some of the cleanest RapidWeaver site out there. The reason for this is that it loads the entire Foundation open source framework once on the page. Then you can add as many of the Foundation stacks as you want on the page and it adds virtually zero overhead to the page CSS or JS.

This is why its been really taken the RapidWeaver community by storm. I have many users that used to hand code using the Foundation framework. However, they moved over because move sites using my add-on was so much easier and more fun to use. It also produce much leaner websites. As I said earlier, the next version will be even better.


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In terms of Responsive Site Designer from Coffee Cup… I purchased their Responsive Email Designer app last year with very high hopes for it. I did not like their builder interface at all. I find it very confusing to use. When I saw that they released RSD, it seemed to have the same interface as the Email designer had. Hopefully with time, they will improve it. I do think that with some UX tweaks it could be 100x better.


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Regarding “many add-ons to RapidWeaver that can do search,” that brings up another point of concern. There of course is the cost (now discounted, thank you) of RapidWeaver + Stacks + Foundation. But as has been said, that is not “all you need.” Want to add Search (and who doesn’t?), that’s an add-on. Want X-Y-Z, those too are add-ons.

One the one hand, this is great in theory. It would appear on the surface that RW + Stacks + Foundation + Add-ons can accomplish nearly anything the creative web designer seeks to do. But at what cost?

Many add-ons are not free, and it seems like moving to RapidWeaver may result in the web designer being nickel-and-dimed whenever they want to try something new. Or am I totally off-base on this?

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Ernie Simpson and Thomas Kimmich,

You both are Freeway veterans and Responsive web page design wizards. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I would still very much appreciate hearing your feelings about RapidWeaver + Stacks + Foundation and despite having all that available why you have stuck with Freeway all this time. Is it that you just grew accustomed to Freeway and didn’t want to try something new? Or did you in fact try RW + Stacks and find a barrier (like Tim Plumb) that prevented you from switching to it?

Now that Freeway is not more, this is a topic all of us are surely pondering, not just me.

Thank you,

James Wages


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/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-

Ernie Simpson and Thomas Kimmich,

You both are Freeway veterans and Responsive web page design wizards. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I would still very much appreciate hearing your feelings about RapidWeaver + Stacks + Foundation

I don’t have any.

In fact, I’ll never use any “fiddle and hope” application anymore. Freeway taught me all I know. And that’s way enough for going an entirely different route.

I can’t judge Rapidweaver.

It was one coming into question when I started web design 8 years ago. I quickly realized, that everything needs to be purchased on plus of the basic core. Furthermore, those “stacks” are adding an incredible bunch of inline styles to the DOM just for positioning purposes. It is bloating the head with many browser requests (many css files). Perhaps it’s possible to concatenate them to one?

But this doesn’t necessarily means it’s bad. It’s simply not part of my plan.

and despite having all that available why you have stuck with Freeway all this time. Is it that you just grew accustomed to Freeway and didn’t want to try something new? Or did you in fact try RW + Stacks and find a barrier (like Tim Plumb) that prevented you from switching to it?

I found an incredible modern workflow. In mid of this is sitting Freeway as an important part - to be pedant:
The core element.

In Freeway I manage the content and its positioning (Structure). Furthermore the very basic styling such as typography and colors. All the rest - such as fancy styles (shadows, rounded corner :slight_smile: … you know what I mean) and the functions (JavaScript) is coming from an external library. All this is managed via CodeKit and an external CodeEditor. All files are placed on dropbox and giving me the chance for somehow live development.

This all means, that I go on with Freeway! I expect it being alive the next 2 years. Enough time to find an alternative (which I already have somehow (51% tendency towards).

You see that there isn’t mach space for Rapidweaver. And Rapidweaver would even force me recreating all my stuff onto their platform. A no-go!!! But as already said: This doesn’t necessarily mean RW as a bad application.

Cheers

Thomas


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As some already mentioned the upcoming Foundation Framer of CoffeeCup (they offer already Responsive Site designer, but Foundation Framer must be much better ) sound very promising to me. They have excellent support, which is important to me. I try to get a beta version as soon as possible.

https://www.coffeecup.com/foundation-framer https://www.coffeecup.com/foundation-framer

Still in beta, but hopefully coming soon.

All the best,
Hanna


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Thomas,

Thank you for your opinion. I will assume for now that Ernie Simpson shares your reasons for having remained faithful to Freeway all these years.

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sonjanna,

The only video I could find for CoffeeCup “Foundation Framer” is the following, and I must say it sure doesn’t look nearly as easy to use as what Joe Workman shows in his videos.

But again, my main concern with RapidWeaver is how much I am going to be nickel-and-dimed for every little new thing I want to add to my sites build on that platform.

Best,

James Wages


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Hi James,
I was looking at your comment below and thinking that I’d always had the assumption that if you developed with RapidWeaver that you’d need to be prepared to purchase new stacks or themes to achieve the sort of things you wanted. However that was nothing more than an assumption.

What I’ve done is to pick the first site from the RapidWeaver gallery and see what stacks and other bits the creator has used to build the site.

From my limited knowledge of pulling these sites apart here’s my shopping list for this site;
http://rapidweavercommunity.com/gallery/chet-j-collins

RapidWeaver 7 - $99.00
Writer Theme - $29.00
Stacks 3 - $49.95
Font Pro Stack - $49.95
Foundation Stack - $59.95*
Houdini Stack - $4.95
Responsive Layout Stack - $19.95
Useful Stack - free

— Total cost in USD - $312.75

Header X Stack - £5.99**
True Retina Stack - £6.99**
Button Press 2 Stack - £6.99**
Responsive Shim Stack - £5.99**

— Total cost in GBP - £25.96**

Converted cost to USD - $33.69

Final cost (roughly) - $346.44

Obviously for an individual site the final cost could well be prohibitive for some users but you’ll obviously have to consider that you can use all of these resources on other projects as well as receiving support from their authors. I’d also imagine that, like Freeway, you could ‘get out and push’ and use markup items to achieve most of these effects rather than plonk down the reddies for the stacks which would bring the cost down considerably.

As I mentioned before RapidWeaver has a whole eco system around third party products (themes, stacks, training, hosting etc) and very much like WordPress plug-ins you’ll find several solutions to pretty much anything you’ll need with what appear to be most at the commercial end of the market.
Regards,
Tim.

  • The Foundation Stacks are available in different sets and I can’t tell from the source code which package the author is using. For the sake of argument I’ve chosen the cheapest option.
    ** I couldn’t easily find the UDS price for these stacks but have converted the GBP price to USD using the XE.com daily conversion rate.

On 11 Jul 2016, at 10:16, JDW email@hidden wrote:

But again, my main concern with RapidWeaver is how much I am going to be nickel-and-dimed for every little new thing I want to add to my sites build on that platform.


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I will assume for now that Ernie Simpson shares your reasons for having remained faithful to Freeway all these years.

Just leave me out of it you stubborn ginger nutter.

Quit trying to bait me into replying to your stupid discussion. Freeway is not my religion or my girlfriend and I quite resent your assumptions on my part.

I used Freeway to generate a specific code-outcome, that’s all. Instead of using it to avoid learning any code, I embraced using it specifically to learn how websites are made. I actively encouraged others to do the same.


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Gentlemen! You can’t fight here – this is the War Room!

Walter

On Jul 11, 2016, at 11:24 AM, The Big Erns email@hidden wrote:

I will assume for now that Ernie Simpson shares your reasons for having remained faithful to Freeway all these years.

Just leave me out of it you stubborn ginger nutter.

Quit trying to bait me into replying to your stupid discussion. Freeway is not my religion or my girlfriend and I quite resent your assumptions on my part.

I used Freeway to generate a specific code-outcome, that’s all. Instead of using it to avoid learning any code, I embraced using it specifically to learn how websites are made. I actively encouraged others to do the same.


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Information for existing FreewayTalk / Groups.io users - Site Feedback - Softpress Talk


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