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Ultimate Images in RapidWeaver

The client said that the website must be finished by evening – yesterday evening.
But guess who didn't yet supply the copy or the images.
Somehow, we need to get a layout design up and ready for the content – when it finally arrives. Not a problem – we have placeholder stacks that will automatically generate dummy text and load dummy images and if the final content ever arrives, we can just swap out the stacks and fill them with the client's content.

Only one thing troubles me with this scenario – I'm in a hurry and now I have to waste time swapping out stacks instead of simply adding the text and copy that was just supplied?

The copy is the simplest problem to solve – instead of using placeholder stacks that generate dummy text, use the original Header and Paragraph stacks that you intend to use and paste in your own dummy text. But what about the images? We want to show the client a layout, but cropping dummy images to fit??

Wait!! Marathia just released UltimateImage – a stack that will allow you to generate dummy images of any size and then – when the client finally condescends to supply the content – replace the dummies with the original images.
The dummy images are loaded via one of five servers – the first two place a coloured background with a text displaying the pixel size of the image, the remaining three load random images from their servers.
When the final content is ready for publishing, you set UltimateImage to Local Image, or Warehoused Image and add in your images saving yourself a couple of minutes with each image when compared to other placeholder stacks!

UltimateImage – Marathia
Stack settings
Image Source – Default: Local Image. Options: Warehoused Image, *Ipsum Image, Placeholder.com, **LoremPicsum, LoremFlickr, PlaceIMG
Force Fluid Image
Depending on the chosen placeholder server…
*Image Size – Width, Height
*Custom Text
*Font Size
*Colours – Background, Text
**Specific Image – number – "-1"=Random

11 further settings to Flip, Rotate and add filter effects to the images.

I've used dummy content stacks to knock up a quick layout before, or to build a style template for suggested fonts and colours etc. UltimateImage helps save production time by reducing unnecessary actions.

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SVG Stack For RapidWeaver

I recently read a plaidoyer on one of the forums that argued that warehoused images are unnecessary – most RapidWeavers don't take advantage of the function. Well here's proof that the statement just can't be true. The new SVG stack from Doobox is targeted specifically at warehoused SVGs, now giving us a choice of three stacks that can display an SVG.

The name SVG stack is slightly misleading. The stack will also load warehoused jpg, png and gif files and can display an alternate image on hover. The latter function is interesting especially as it allows you to mix formats.

SVG – Doobox


Stack settings
SVG Image – Set Link
Alternate Text – Default 'Missing Image'
On Click – Do Nothing, Link To URL
On Hover – Do nothing, Show Alternate Image
Max Width – Desk, Tablet, Mobile
Position – Left, Centre, Right – Desk, Tablet, Mobile
Breakpoints – Standard, Custom

The fact that SVG has an option to display an alternate image on hover is a neat trick, which many will find useful.

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CutOut – Floating Images in RapidWeaver

Floating images. There's a stack for that – right? Right the tenth, or eleventh stack from the top of the library! Float an image to the right, or left of your text content. I never used it because I come from the world of DTP and found that floating images could look quite terrible compared to a professional layout app. However CSS is slowly catching up and Will Woodgate has released a new stack that takes advantage of the latest CSS additions: CutOut – a free stack from Stacks4Stacks.

CutOut is a stack that allows your text to gracefully flow around your image instead of the standard rectangular float that we have become used to. Check out the screenshot below:

CutOut – Stacks4Stacks
The left half of the image displays a regular floating image. The right half of the image displays a floating image when using CutOut. Notice a difference?

cutout – S4SCutOut makes use of the new 'shape-outside' CSS definition which is supported by all newer browsers (If you wish to know exactly which browsers take a look here). Shape Outside allows a text to flow around a pre-defined form. The form can be circular or polygonal. Polygonal shapes are highly experimental, but 0% 0%, 100% 0%, 50% 100% for instance, will create a triangular shape. CutOut degrades to a regular floating image on older browsers.

You can drop any Square (i.e. with equal length sides) image into CutOut and your image will automatically be displayed as a circular image which your text will flow around. If you require a more complicated shape, you'll need to search the web for shapes, or experiment.

How it works. Drag Cutout into a stacks page and you'll be presented with a dummy text. Replace the text with your text and drag your image into the image well in the stack settings panel. It's that simple. Of course, CutOut wouldn't be an S4S stack, if it didn't support warehoused images, but you'll also notice that it also has a setting for WebYep CMS images [Teaser]. WebYep2 is nearing release and CutOut already supports the new CMS system (as will a number of other S4S stacks).

Stack settings
Image Source – Drag & Drop, Warehoused, WebYep CMS
Standard Image
Retina Image
CutOut Shape – Circle (default), Elipse, Inset, Polygon
Image Float – Left, Right
Apply Border Radius – Default 50%
Breakpoint
Spacing – Space between image and content below breakpoint
Image Width – px
Image Margin – Top, Bottom, Left, Right
Image Width – Below breakpoint
Image Link
Content Type – HTML, Markdown, Text (default), WebYep Short and Long
Content Padding – Top, Right, Bottom, Left

With some experimenting, CutOut will allow you to create some very interesting text flows around your images. Oh, and did I mention that CutOut is a free stack?

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Zoom, Zoom – Magnify images in RapidWeaver

Many online stores have a useful feature – if you hover over an image of the article you're viewing, the image will enlarge underneath your mouse so that you can view details.
Image Zoom from RWextras used to do exactly that, however, it disappeared for a while. Now it's back – freshly updated and free of charge!
RWextras Zoomy

Zoomy is the new name for a simple stack that enables an attractive magnification effect for RapidWeaver images. Magnification can take place on mouseover, grab, or click. There are also a couple of other settings built in to change aspects such as the zoom amount, animation speed and mouse cursor.

Zoomy will work either with images you drag and drop into RapidWeaver or images stored in a warehouse location. Compatibility is offered with all major web browsers. And Zoomy is responsive.


Stack settings.
Image source allows you to add either Dragged and Dropped Images, or Warehoused Images.
Mouse Cursor gives you the option of seven different cursor styles.
Zoom Trigger has the options Click, Grab, Mousover, or Toggle – Grab is my favourite.
Duration sets the fadeout time once the cursor leaves the image.
Magnification is a percentage of the original size for the enlargement.

Looking for further settings? You'll be hard pressed to find any, the above are all that's needed.

Zoomy is a neat little stack that does exactly as it says on the tin and has the advantage of being both responsive and free.

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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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