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Presentations With RapidWeaver

If you've always wanted to publish keynotes, such as product presentations or training documents, then InStacks' new StageDive might be the very thing you've been looking for. Dubbed "Online presentations and slideshows for your next keynote" StageDive is an interesting take on Single-Page websites.

StageDive, as its subtitle denotes, is a theme/suite of stacks aimed at building presentations. The advantage over building your presentation with Keynote© or its Micro$oft equivalent, is that you can build your presentation with the app that you use every day – RapidWeaver.

StageDive arrives with its own dedicated theme and a suite of five stacks. The theme automatically adds the default formatting and the navigation to your presentation. Everything else can be designed just as you please. StageDive will allow you to place almost any stack on the page, including 3rd party navigation, or galleries.

The default stacks are: StageDive – the base stack which automatically adds the first child slide, Fixed Position – allows you to place floating stacks such as buttons in the corners of your slide, MediaPlayer – integrates video and audio, Slide – standard child stack and VerticalContainer – arranges slides vertically.
The difference to a standard webpage is that a) Upcoming slides and speaker notes may be may easily be viewed and b) The next slide may be called via the space bar.

StageDive – InStacks

Stack settings
Theme – Choice of nine themes plus 'Theme Builder' (not yet available)
Transition Style – Six transition effects
Transition Speed – Default, Fast, Slow
Centre Vertically – Active by default
Navigation Controls – Active by default
Controls Area – Bottom Right, Edges
Progress Bar – Active by default
Bar Height – px
Page Number – Deactivated by default
Timing – In seconds
Image Border – Deactivated by default

Slide
ID
CSS Class
Background – Theme Default, Custom Colour, Image, Video
Transition Style – Six transition options
Transition Speed – Default, Fast, Slow
Speaker Notes – Deactivated by default

StageDive is ideal for online presentations and if you're actually giving a keynote and have a second monitor, the possibility to view upcoming slides and slide notes is perfect.

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Scrollers and Quizzes for RapidWeaver

A new developer has quietly slipped into the RapidWeaver fold with the introduction of two interesting stacks. Stuart Marshall. You may have noticed his name on the forums. He's chosen to name his site 'Shaking the Habitual'. Stuart's first stack – Scroller – is as simple as it is effective.

Scroller is a free stack that provides a fully customisable scroll/progress bar that increases in width (from 0% to 100% of the screen width) as the user moves from the top of the web page to the bottom. It can be pinned to the top or bottom of the page.
In addition, there is the option to add content to the stack. Anything added to Scroller's container will appear above the scroll line. It will work with most navigation bars but it could also be used for text (e.g. page title) or a logo etc.

Once you've added Scroller to your Stack's page, there are just five settings – Place at top [of page]? is activated by default. There are options for two colours for the Progress bar – the bar itself and the background colour. After setting the colours, you can adjust the Height of the bar and the z-index (default 1), finally you can activate Add Content if you wish to add something immediately above Scroller.

Scroller – Shaking the Habitual
Quizzer is a completely different kettle of fish. It fills a need that Stuart was never find a suitable solution to...
… creating an interactive quiz within RW.
After trying to tweak existing form stacks and various online quiz generators but not being able to add the functionality/formatting/ownership of the content that he wanted, Stuart decided to develop his own solution.

Quizzer is a stack that you link to a JSON file (examples are included with download). It is the JSON file that contains the quiz content (questions, answers and feedback). The Quizzer stack then lets you determine the functionality for the actual quiz. This could be randomising questions and answers, showing feedback per question, displaying a score, displaying a ranking etc. There are also numerous configurable options to allow the user to control the formatting of the quiz (header sizes, colour of the buttons, colours of the correct/incorrect feedback etc).

Additionally, using a little html code within the JSON file brings a whole range of options for the user as they can use this to format their text (bold, italics) and add images, videos and links etc.

Some might find the JSON configuration a little tricky, but if you begin by editing an existing quizz, the whole process is much easier than it looks. An extensive pdf guide is also included with the download.

Stuart already began work on an update that will include more formatting options (e.g. removing indent of answers/feedback) and also for functionality (e.g. getting the quiz to show X number of random questions from the full question bank).

Quizzer - Shaking the Habitual
NOTE: Quizzer may not function in preview when the JSON file is online. To preview, you can add the file to the Resources folder.

Like some other developers, Stuart began developing stacks because he couldn't find a stack that did what he wanted. Scroller is a useful addition that many will like, whilst Quizzer is a stack that can add some fun to any site. Keep up the good work Stuart!

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Dynamic DataBase Made Easy in RapidWeaver

Stack-Its just announced EasyDB for RapidWeaver. Now I'm a designer and Database is way above my pay grade, so I was a little sceptical about the "easy" bit. Nevertheless, I downloaded the demo version (yes, there's a demo available) and had a play with it. After all, I owe it to my regular readers to write a review…

The first thing I noticed about EasyDB is that the set up – although simple – does take some patience.
First off, you'll need to set up a database on your hosting server.
Well, I'd guessed that already, but it's a painless process once you've accessed you control panel – and Bill has a video online to show you how just how to do it.
In my case, it's just two mouse clicks. Just make a note of the login details, you'll need them very soon.

Using the EasyDB Login stack, you should now add a login page to your site, so that you'll be able to access the data in your database once it's online.

So – it's time to get started! You'll need to add a database Credentials stack to your RapidWeaver page and publish it. The credentials stack contains the name and location of your database and the login details. The Credentials stack allows your page to access the database that you just created and that is necessary before we can continue.
Then, following the video tutorials on Bill's website, you need to load the page into your browser and confirm the setup messages, you then need to deactivate "setup credentials", republish and refresh the page in the browser.

The next step is to add a Database stack to your page. We have a database on the server, but it doesn't contain any data. The database stack adds the data rows and columns to the database. As such, you'll need to give the database a name and define the fields that you require in the setup panels, e.g. firstname, lastname, email, address, etc, etc. Once that's done, you can publish the page, and check online that the action was successful.
Because "setup database" is still active in the settings panel, you'll need to deactivate that, republish the page and refresh your browser.

If you check the database on your host's servers, it should now contain all of the filed names that you just added – just waiting impatiently for your data.

But we're not quite ready yet, we don't have anywhere to display the data.
We need a TextGrid stack to get us started.
This is the exciting part: publishing your first data list to your page. Your database can actually contain more information than you want to display on this page, so you need to inform the page which fields to display. So in the TextGrid stack, you need to add the names of the dbase fields that you want your visitors see and supply a display-name for each of these fields. Once you've done this, you're almost there: repeat the publishing process as before and you should now see a database awaiting content!
Log in and add some content. If you already have your content in a spreadsheet, you can import it into EasyDB as a CSV file.

So what can your database contain? Well this will make a lot of people happy – the TextGrid can contain Small Text, Large Text w/ carriage returns, Integers, Floating Numbers, Date, Time, Money, Email, Images, Links, Checkboxes, Color, Rating & Progress Bar
The FreeForm stack can contain Text, Integers, Floating Numbers, Date, Time, Money, Email, Images & Links.
And all of this information is grabbed by some magic PHP code that Bill has hidden somewhere behind the curtains and displayed dynamically on your page. The second that an entry in the database is altered, it changes on the page – live.

FreeForm? Did someone mention FreeForm? Yes, EasyDB also supplies a FreeForm Setup stack and a FreeForm stack.
The FreeForm stack setup is a little more complicated, but it will allow you to dynamically grab individual data-rows from your data base and display them more, or less in a layout of your design. I've not gone through the process of setting up a FreeForm Stack because, to be quite honest, I just didn't have the time. However the process is similar to those mentioned above, it simply involves adding and defining multiple FreeForm Stacks.

The result… Each line of your database will now be displayed within a slideshow. Obviously cool, if you've added images.

EasyDB – Stack=-Its

If you've added a TextGrid to your page, it will display selection fields that will allow your data to be filtered by field name and content. You can set how many entries should be displayed per page and, of course, EasyDB adds a page navigation when there are further entries. Your data can also be exported to a CSV file

EasyDB, true to its name, makes setting up a complicated database relatively simple. It also has the added advantage of being able to grab data from a database for freeform display on any of your pages. The setup needs a little patience and, in my personal opinion, a centralised admin page could perhaps simplify matters, but – as I already stated database is way above my pay grade, so I'm not the expert to pass judgement on that…

If you need to publish a database online and need something that is more 'in-depth' than the simple CSV solutions that are available, EasyDB is the way to go.
Being a PHP/MySQL solution, depending on the content collected within your database, you can process and republish that data as required – dynamically.

Bill has placed a multitude of instruction videos on the product page to get you started. I wouldn't have known where to begin without them!

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Locator for RapidWeaver

In the past there have been heated discussions as to which stack is the best to display multiple business locations. Well I'm about to pour oil on the fire, because I might just have the answer for you. The new Locator stack from S4S.

Your client runs a chain of Restaurants with branches in every shopping centre in town ('mall', if you live across the pond), plus a couple of select locations. With Locator, site visitors will not only be able to see which branch of the restaurant is closest to his adobe, but also call up directions and view the restaurant in Street View for optical identification.
All your visitor needs to do is enter his ZIP code into the (optional) search field and submit. If your server has SSL certification, geo location can be automated!

A seemingly unlimited number of locations can be added to Locator via Google Earth KML files, XML files, or, if you've previously added locations to WordPress, or similar, via JSON import.

The simplest method is, of course the Google Earth solution. You will, however, need to download the Google Earth app first. The online version doesn't export the .klm data required by Locator.

Open up Google Earth; add a folder for your locations; drop in place pins and save them to your location folder; set a description for each location. Add further details, such as contact information and opening times. Once you've added all of your locations save the whole folder as a KML file and either drag the file into your RapidWeaver project resources, or upload it to your server.

In your Locator stack, you can now link to the .kml file, switch to preview and call up all of the locations you've added. As simple as that!

Locator – S4S
If you'd prefer to have a more easily editable location list, then an XML file is recommended. You can download examples of all file formats from the product page to see which best suits your purposes.

Stack settings
General Settings
Google API key – Will has Kindly left his API key in the stacks so that the demo data functions.
You should, however, visit the Google Developer's site and acquire your own key. It's a painless process.
Data File Type – Google Earth KML, JSON, Sample Data, XML
Set Link

Form Settings
Formatting for the location search

Map Options
Length Units
Map Type
Distance Alert – (set to -1 to deactivate)
Height
Location Limit
Zoom – Base map magnification
Standard Google Maps options (10 settings)
Start Map Open
Default Location Latitude/Longitude
StreetView Button
Custom Marker

Locator List Settings
List Position, plus colour formatting

Locator Localisations
Translations for non-English websites.

Programming a store locator would normally be a very expensive undertaking. Locator not only simplifies the task, but makes it affordable.
And if you hurry, the S4S page still has a 50% Black Friday price reduction. That's a helluva-lotta-stack for a small price.

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BFS5– Multi Player for RapidWeaver

There must be three dozen media players available for RapidWeaver in combination with Stacks. RWExtras just released Multi Player. If you're quick, you can grab it at half price now!

And yet another media player stack!
However, this single stack supports multiple media sources including self-hosted MP3 / MP4 files, YouTube and Vimeo content. It's basically four stacks in one.
Multi Player is remarkably quick and easy to get setup, even if you're someone who's never done much work with embedded audio or video in websites before now. Only the most-essential options are shown to you in edit mode.
The finished player has an ultra-modern and minimalist interface, fully responsive and is compatible with all newer web browsers.

I have to admit that Ninja News hasn't had the time to test Multi Player!

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