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CodeBox – an Indispensable Tool For Weavers (And Other Coders)

Years ago, when I found a useful snippet of code, I would copy it, insert it directly into RapidWeaver and rejoice at the results (if it worked). When it came to re-using the snippets, it was case of first remembering the project that I used them in and then trying to isolate them from other snippets that I'd added to said project. Thanks to CodeBox that is no longer the case.

I find CodeBox to be an indispensable tool for my RapidWeaver endeavours. Usually, when you find an HTML snippet, or a CSS snippet they are interconnected, often with a snippet of JavaScript. CodeBox makes it simple to archive the snippets in a way that they can be easily discovered and used over and over again. Just copy the snippets to CodeBox, make sure that they have the same (or similar) name, add the extension HTML, CSS, JS, or even TXT and you can be sure to find the relevant pieces of code again.

The advantage of having a related name is, of course, the search function available in CodeBox. If my related snippets all have the content "curtains" then, if I search CodeBox for "curtains" I will immediately see the CSS, HTML and JavaScripts that are related to the snippet that I added years ago.

CodeBox
You'll notice that with so many of my posts, if you hover over the image above, it will change from the HTML list to the CSS list of CodeBox. If you think that I might be able to remember the code to swap an image when you hover over it, you're mistaken, I'm not a code junkie, I have an acute case of code-phobia! But CodeBox comes to my aid on a daily basis.


Something that is especially useful, is the fact that CodeBox syncs with the cloud!
Recently my hard drive crashed and – not having an adequate backup system in place – I lost a lot of information. Because CodeBox was set to sync with my Dropbox account, however, as soon as I reinstalled the app all of my snippets were immediately available again – The necessary CSS is still in place on my server, so I can still add rollovers or this link enhancement to my blog posts without having to search online for the code again!

CodeBox has a multitude of formatting options, so no matter if your code snippets are destined for Ruby On Rails, or are simply text snippets, they will aways be formatted correctly. And once you've discovered the snippet that you're looking for, just click the 'tick' box beneath the snippet and it is copied to the clipboard for use in the next application.

If you are constantly forgetting which HTML is related to which CSS, or JS snippet, then I can highly recommend CodeBox. It doesn't cost the earth an it is extremely useful.
Oh, and the social icons below — they were also added via CodeBox and I also use CodeBox to store standard replies to various forums that I'm active on ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Scalable Vector Graphics in RapidWeaver

SVG, or Scalable Vector Graphics is the latest trend for adding logos, illustrations and animations to web pages. Or is it? SVG has actually been around since 2001, but has been more, or less ignored.
So what is SVG?
SVG is vector based as opposed to pixel based. The result is scalable images that retain their image quality at any size. Text and contours remain razor sharp, no matter to which extent they are scaled up, or down. They can also be animated.


SVG – Wiki Commons

Wiki says:

SVG is an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation. The SVG specification is an open standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) since 1999.
SVG images and their behaviors are defined in XML text files. This means that they can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed. As XML files, SVG images can be created and edited with any text editor, as well as with drawing software.
All major modern web browsers—including Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Microsoft Edge—have SVG rendering support.

The emphasis here lies on "Modern". IE8 and Android 2.3 have problems with SVG, but there are workarounds.

So why am I writing this article?
I've been using SVG images in conjunction with RapidWeaver for many years. There are a number stacks that will allow you to add SVG warehoused files (via 'Resources) to a project and I've probably used all of them at some time or other. (Graphic Stack from S4S is the ideal free option, if you're not using Foundation)
However, I've recently hit upon problems when using BWD's Sections Pro and Sections Box. I must emphasise from the beginning that the problem does not lie with BWD, but the way that SVGs are exported by default.

Today, I was experimenting with BWD Sections Box animations. I added a couple of SVGs to a project and set them to animate. The animation worked just fine – when set to 'Hover', but didn't work at all when set to 'On Page Load', or 'When In View'. I was miffed and wrote to Andrew asking about the crap he was offering RW users. (Obviously. I was a little more polite in my mail).

Within seconds, Andrew replied that the crap was of my own manufacture. (Again – Andrew and I always converse on polite terms and only badmouth our anonymous clients) And so I was forced to review my production process. Strong coffee and some patience were needed.
I began to research the web. My findings:
Most illustration applications add a load of redundant Code when exporting an SVG file, not least Adobe Illustrator CS6.

During my research, I discovered two (actually three) important web pages.
If you're just setting out with the use of SVGs – especially in combination with Adobe Illustrator, I highly recommend that you visit both this page and this page. The first explains how to export 'web-ready' SVGs from Illustrator, the second explains how to include SVGs on your web page.

However – even after following the advice from the first page, the SVG export from most illustration apps is still not ideal for the web. My new-found advice, (but perhaps Paul Russam has more input on this subject) is — visit Jake Archibald's GitHub page, drop in your shiny new SVG and save the results to a text file (TextMate, or similar) with an .svg extension. Your SVG will now be fully optimised for the web, with no redundant code and – it can still be opened and edited with your favourite illustration application (just remember to repeat the optimisation process once you re-saved).

Many thanks to Andrew Tavernor for convincing me to do some research. It was well worth the effort and I've bookmarked Jake Archibald's GitHub page. I recommend you do the same – pending feedback from Paul Russam, the SVG/Animation expert.

Go forth and create better logos!

P.S. If you need detailed information about SVG, this page will tell you everything you wanted to know.

Paul Russam commented:

I did a test a while ago where I created a simple graphic of squares, circles, text etc in Sketch, AI, and Affinity Designer and then exported each as svg. AI's export was the biggest and showed AI's print focused origins, Sketch and AD did much better but AD came out best for a couple of reasons primarily that the exported svg was the smallest and that it was 100% x 100% not NNpx x NNpx (AI's biggest problem) thus making it perfect for web use.

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Take Control Of HTML In RapidWeaver

Many professional web designers have tried the RapidWeaver demo version and rejected it for its lack of HTML support. Stacks adds an HTML box to your arsenal, we've all seen it; we've all used it, but no-one in their right mind would try to build a complete website using HTML boxes.
Now dedicated coders have no excuse for not using RapidWeaver; HTML Body Stack from 1LD even makes it easier!

So you're a hardcore coder and you want to build your website using RW. You will need Stacks 3 and a copy of the HTML Body Stack which comes with a dedicated blank theme.

You may, of course use any theme you like, but hey, you're hardcore and you want full access to the <head> and <body>, right? These are preconfigured when you use themes. Not the case with 1LD's Blank Theme – it's blank and just begging for an HTML Body stack.

Let's start a new project.
Open a new Stacks project, choose the HTML Body Blank theme and then check your Stacks' library for HTML Body. Drag this stack onto your page and hey! It looks like Stacks, but it works like HTML. It has three themes for the editing mode – the Standard Stacks' theme, Light and dark.
You added it to your page already? You now have a <head> and Before <body> elements on your page, but both have the 'Add Child' + button!
Go on – click the + button in the <head> area. Now you can link your CSS and meta tags, etc. or, may the heavens forbid, a stack.

Same thing with the <body>. Click the + button and add your HTML content, non-wrapped HTML, or a stack.
I know some people who are going to love this.
Imagine – we're halfway down our new HTML page and it's looking great. But we need an image slider. So off we go to make coffee – that always helps us concentrate when browsing that code that we need. But wait – time is tight. We need the slider now, this instant.
What is easier than dragging one in from the stacks library? So what, if you didn't code it yourself (i.e. borrow the code from the web), forget vanity; time is tight – remember?

HTML Body

But now, watch this – I'm working on a Foundation project and just discovered the source code for a cool calendar. I drag an HTML Element stack into my project and add the code to it. It is already surrounded by <divs> and I can add as many child stacks to it as I need.

1LD created HTML Body as a way to give themselves the control they wanted to have in order to create HTML templates for their own web development projects.

Using a hybrid Stacks/HTML editor gives RapidWeaver users the ability to really mold projects into whatever they need them to be, whether they need to include simple to use RapidWeaver Stacks or import advanced external libraries.
To get you started 1LD has thoughtfully included a free project file that they created with Bootstrap. The project contains 5 sections that you can save as partials for use in other projects. Perhaps we might even see a Foundation project soon?

If you have little, or no HTML/CSS experience or suffer from code phobia, this is not the stack for you — 1LD can only support the stacks and theme, but not our inability (and yes, I include myself) to understand what all those <div>s, </p>s and <span>s are about.

If you're a coder and use RapidWeaver for the obvious ease of use that it offers, HTML Body is exactly the stack that you've wished for all these years.

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Automatically Add Events To Your Desktop Calendar

There is an event published on your web page that you'd like to copy to your desktop calendar, so you download the .ics file and bookmark it. But wait! Why not just click on the event button and have the date added to iCal, Outlook etc. automatically. With AddEvent from seyDesign, you can!

AddEvent is a new stack that, with the help of some very clever PHP, will automatically generate an .ics version 2 file and add it to your calendar – and your page doesn't need to be a .php page to do so, .html works just fine.

In addition to the event title and date, AddEvent also supplies a description, location and web address. In newer calendar software such as iCal, locations are automatically presented with a map pin and optional directions. Users can set a reminder and sync the event across all their devices.
AddEvent doesn't rely on any external (and expensive) services to go about its business, and it's not necessary to register every website you wish to use the stack on. Just drop the stack into a Stacks3 page, fill in the event details and publish:

AddEvent
Stack Settings.
Event Title is straightforward – add the name of your event to the stacks panel. Add Start and End Dates (including the time) and add a Location. Now you can add a short Description and – if you wish – a link to the events web page.

Add the Event File Name and, if your server isn't in the same time zone as the event, add your server's time zone so that the times can be synchronised across different countries/states.

All that's left for you to do now, is set the button text (you can also add a FontAwesome icon e.g. <i class="fa fa-calendar"></i> Add To Calendar) and, if you wish to alter the button's default appearance, add a custom Button Class.

Before you publish your event, you can check that everything will be submitted correctly by taking a look at the AddEvent stack on your page.

Note: Your server needs to be running PHP 5.6 or newer. Once you've ensured that the is the case, publishing and remembering events couldn't be simpler.


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Codafy – Page Element Inspector

Back in the day, when RapidWeaver was a young product, it didn't include a page inspector (it didn't include a number of things, but that's besides the point). seyDesign introduced Codafy in 2010 to solve the problem. After numerous years in the shadows, Codafy has just been rewritten. Codafy, a web inspector for RapidWeaver.

So what's the point of a web inspector, when RapidWeaver already has one built in? Codafy is different! Codafy will help novices and experienced programmers alike in quickly identifying elements on a RapidWeaver page.

Drop Codafy onto a Stacks page and when you switch to preview, you'll see that there is a button in the top left hand corner of the screen 'Launch Codafy'. Once you've clicked the button, you can click any element in your preview to receive immediate information about that element.

codafy
The information that Codafy supplies will inform you what sort of element you have selected on a page. It will display any ID or classes applied to said element – useful for adding custom CSS code or for configuring other stacks to interact with content, like navigation. Codafy will show the positioning of the element within the DOM (document object model) hierarchy; which can help identify other stacks that are influencing your selected element. And finally, Codafy will give you the basic CSS box-model information for a container - including height, width, position, padding, margins and borders.

All of this information is, of course, available via the web inspector, but – it requires some digging around to find what you are actually looking for. With Codafy you simply click on the element and the information is displayed instantaneously, making the process a lot easier.

Codafy is a free download from the seyDesign website – any donations will, of course, be much appreciated.


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