Dance Me Through The Panic When historians come to record the momentous advances made at RapidWeaver Central in 2011, they will no doubt focus on the

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Dance Me Through The Panic

When historians come to record the momentous advances made at RapidWeaver Central in 2011, they will no doubt focus on the most newsworthy events of the year like the release of the iCentral app and the rebranding of RapidWeaver Central. But if historians have one failing, other than their disproportionate appreciation of the amber nectar, it is their inability to record the causal minutae that, like every electromagnetic pulse and flap of a butterly's wing, touch the inspirational chords of our hearts and send their chaotic waves rippling out across the trackless oceans of Space and Time to burst upon those fateful shores we dare to call our future.

Of course it is no coincidence that the learning curves of our lives resonate within the same dynamic fields and harmonic extremes as the Earth and ionosphere: we are all one, tuned to the same frequency and forged from the same cosmic dust in the same crucible of creation. We are all cause and we are all effect.

Which is, I guess, just my convoluted way of saying that without you, idle reader, there would be no RapidWeaver Central. You are my _raison d'etre_, the only reason I get out of bed in the afternoon. We are bound, you and I, in the universal dance of an endless moment, woven into the same sensual fabric of miraculous existence. We weave, therefore we are. So I thank you. For your continued custom, feedback, support and encouragement. I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

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As the first tendrils of dawn stole across the sky, Holmes crossed to the grimy window and studied the leather-bound journal beneath the pale wash of light that dared invade the gloom.

"Dead?" said I, shaking my head in amazement. "However did you arrive at such a fantastic conclusion?"

"Elementary, my dear dipstick," replied the world's greatest detective. "Observe how the pickpocket's body lies on one side of the room and his head on the other. I cannot help but wonder if this is Moriarty's villainous handiwork..."

"By Thunder, Holmes!" uttered I in a fulsome state of moistened breeches. "Whatever makes you say that?"

"I believe they're called vocal chords, Watson."

"But no one has seen Moriarty in years!" postulated I. "Some even say he's the figment of a deranged imagination, the desperate creation of a lunatic howling at a gibbous moon."

"I wouldn't go that far, my dear fellow. Journalism is a venerable trade, worthy of our highest regard."

"I fear you've taken leave of your senses, Holmes."

"Perhaps so. But that is why I pay my apothecary such an exhorbitant fee for his powder." Holmes examined the journal he had removed from the pickpocket's corpse. "However, the fact remains that a year and a half ago, on a Tuesday I suspect, Nimblehost's Jonathan Head sent out an informal survey to his customers, asking them what they would like to be able to do with RapidWeaver, but couldn't."

"But that's outrageous!" spluttered I. "The sheer effrontery of the fellow!"

"Quite so, Watson, quite so. Nevertheless, our fleet-footed host found that by far the most common answer was a CMS of some kind, as none of the current options felt like a full-fledged, RapidWeaver specific solution."

"Go on..."

"It would seem that our resolute developer was not surprised by the response," Holmes said, inspecting through his looking glass the journal's illegible scrawl. "He had a feeling that a CMS would top the list, but wasn't sure if he was ready to take on such a monumental challenge."

"I say, Holmes, you don't mean..."

"I most certainly do. Listen to this."

"On a chilly Tokyo evening last Fall I started work on a custom-built, RapidWeaver specific CMS. The first version didn't need a database. It saved files directly onto the server so that just about anyone with a PHP enabled hosting account could use it with little setup required - and I got a version working fairly well. The problem is that it was very fragile - if someone accidentally deleted or overwrote a folder, then all the posts/pages they created could be wiped out, without any hope of recovery. Not. Good. At. All."

"What on earth does all that mean, Holmes? I confess I'm baffled by these new-fangled terms!"

"We can only guess, Watson. The greatest codebreakers of our age have so far failed to decipher the language these developers use to communicate their mad ideas. For all we know it may just be a shopping list."

"Or one of the Dead Sea Squirrels," ventured I.

"Scrolls, Watson, Dead Sea Scrolls." The great detective sighed as though my presence was one cross too many he had to bear, then continued to examine the journal in detail. "But I hazard you are right. Observe. But a few pages later Jonathan Head pens this most extraordinary entry:

So, after spending 3-4 months on that, I scrapped it and started over using a database-driven approach. And in the midst of working on this CMS — and releasing new stacks, theme updates, etc. — the monster earthquake of this past March slammed us right upside the head. I don't need to go into detail about how much that blew our development schedule to smithereens, but we kept pecking away at it, refining the details, improving the backend - in short, creating the CMS we would want to use at RapidWeaver users. To enable it to do stuff that made sense to an RW user without revealing all the incredibly complex coding required to actually get that stuff working.

"Good grief, Holmes! Does that mean what I think it means?"

"You can bet your puckered sweet posterior it does. This is no fiendish weapon created by Moriarty to wreak unimaginable havok on the civilised world, this is a Content Management System of the highest order. You can login online, create new pages and have them added to your RapidWeaver site automatically — all without needing RapidWeaver at all — from any computer with a web browser and internet access. You can use it as a blogging platform, complete with comments, and with tags and categories coming later. You can create, add and edit posts — or save drafts — all served with the same code as RapidWeaver's own Blog page type, so that it utilises the same blog design theme developers have integrated into their products."

"Good God, Holmes!" uttered I. "How on earth could you deduce that from such a fleeting examination?"

"RTFJ, Watson, it's all here in black and white. And what's more, it appears you can add new users with specific roles and upload media files directly to your hosting account and integrate them in your posts and pages. You can reset your password, and even add some sidebar content to your newly create pages."

"Good grief, Holmes! Does this confounded prototype have a name?"

"Armadillo," replied the great man. "I suspect it describes the product's compact, self-contained and custom-built characteristics."

"But that's preposterous!" ejaculated I.

"Quite so. But we must not forget that these boffins inhabit a cerebral world far removed from our own. Not for them the mundane thought processes of mere mortals like you, Watson. Theirs is a cognitive reality that bows to no unbottled law or master, yet often soars to inconceivable intellectual heights. Perhaps like Icarus our noble Nimblehost flew too close to the Sun..."

"You astound me, Holmes! How on earth can you wax so lyrical before we have yet to break our fast?"

"Time is short, Watson. The end of this story approaches and we have yet to reach a logical conclusion. I suspect we may have to resort to that plot device so favoured by Euripides."

"Deus ex machina? My dear fellow, have you gone utterly insane? Do you not realise that such a contrived device implies a lack of creativity on the part of the author and severely undermines the story's internal logic?"

"We've no time to worry about our readers' suspension of disbelief, Watson, the Time Machine is due at any moment. Jonathan Head is planning to release Armadillo as a stack and is already working on a plugin version. The game is afoot. We must hasten to warn him before Moriarty gets his devillish hands on the prototype."

"But surely Moriarty could just enter the RapidWeaver Central Festive Giveaway and win a copy?"

"Shut it, Watson, and start up the Time Machine."

icentral-ad

The Randomiser

Stacks4Stacks

The Randomiser is a nifty new stack which can can display a single stack at random, from a group of stacks. Reloading or refreshing the page displays a different stack each time at random.

This makes it ideal if you want to display a random quote, featured products, customer reviews, advertising banners or a photograph each time a user visits the page.

Using multiple randomiser stacks on the same page enables you to create a richly dynamic and fluid website for end users, which constantly changes to display different content each time the page is reloaded.

You can also @import Randomiser stacks into non-stack pages using the PlusKit plugin, or embed randomsied content into other parts of a page like the theme header or an ExtraContent container.

For users seeking to introduce some basic advertisment banners on a webpage without the need for third-party advertising agencies, the Randomiser stack offers a great entry-level solution.

You can use standard HTML image tags to pull advertisement banners in from a central folder on your web server. Then setup Urchin campaign monitoring for each advert image, so that your clients can accurately record their advertisment campaigns and keep track of click-throughs in Google Analytics or Gosquared Livestats.

The Randomiser includes several style settings and an option to have the random content fade-in on page load. The stack is compatible with all major web browsers, including IE7, IE8, IE9, Safari, Opera, Chrome and Firefox.

It works with most RapidWeaver themes, and a free demo version is provided for you to download and tryout before purchase.

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Yabba Dabba Doo!

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In case you haven't heard, YabDab have recently released three great new Stack sets for Stacks 2. Designed for the intermediate to advanced Weaver, these stacks give you total control over the elements and are designed to work together and play well with other Stacks.

FormSnap builds forms with drag and drop simplicity inside a Stacks 2 page. Unlimited layout possibilities - add columns, media and custom backgrounds to your forms.

TabSnap creates easy tab nav bars inside your Stacks 2 page. Simplify long pages by dividing content into nicely organized tabs.

PaySnap creates custom ecommerce catalog pages for PayPal Checkout. No template restrictions - design each individual product layout for the ultimate online sales experience.

Please note that Snaps requires Stacks 2 and RapidWeaver 5.

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Year Of The Boffin

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I asked resident Boffin Greg Barchard to reflect on his tumultuous year but he said he was too busy working on a new project. So I blackmailed him. What follows is his annual review. If you find yourself affected by any of the topics raised, RapidWeaver therapists will be standing by our helpine to take your call.

WeaverPix the 'little' slideshow plugin that could, has been rapidly growing up. 2011 proved to be a strong year for the plugin where we saw a lot of fun and exciting new features. For instance, 2011 brought new Flickr enhancements (v2.7.0 -- due soon!), the ability to generate thumbnails from warehoused images (v2.7.0), and automatic thumbnail resizing for Picasa and Flickr (v2.5.0). WeaverPix is ready for 2012 and I am excited to deliver improvements and features to the (dare I say, best?) slideshow plugin for RapidWeaver.

WeaverBox has been making steady strides to be the best drop box solution for RapidWeaver. Version 2 officially debuted on January 4th with an entire rewrite that included a new uploader, customized email receipts, admin page, and themes. The awesome new uploader supports File chunking - the ability to upload files in pieces which are then reassembled on the server. This gets around a lot of PHP installations and allows users to upload large files (750MB files have been tested successfully with a theoretical limit of 2GB!). WeaverBox will be seeing a lot of new updates and improvements in 2012. Look for some of the first updates to roll out in early 2012!

WeaverFM hit a huge milestone in 2011, version 1.5.0. which added support for an entirely new and improved front and backend. WeaverFM is now easier to use, has more security features baked in, and is compatible with more hosting environments. I can't stress how big v1.5.0 is and I look forward to continuing work on weaverFM in 2012. Version 1.5.0 will allow add many more features that were never before possible and I look forward to taking advantage of all of it!

This year has been an awesome year for Stacks. The RapidWeaver community has seen a Stacks explosion. Stacks v2 debuted and has taken the community by storm. My Stacks Image Box, Image Expander, Image Magnifier and Image Slider have all been updated to take advantage of the new Stacks API. Best of all, these updates are free for existing users!

Additional Stacks are planned for 2012 — and some are already in the works!

One of my more exciting projects of 2011 is JavabeanHosting. JavabeanHosting aims to be a new take on shared web hosting. Gone are the days of slow servers, restrictive PHP settings, and 'No you can't do that' from your Host. Javabean aims to bring the essential services that you need for hosting - speed, reliability, great customer support (hello, it's a RW developer answering your emails!), daily backups and GZip Compression (the ability to send compressed versions of your site for faster load times. What's in store for 2012? I'd love to tell you but this is uber secret. Sorry.

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Viva El Presidente!

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El Presidente, the only Rapidweaver developer who moonlights as the leader of a fictitious country, tells me that he is excited to announce that all of the stacks in his El Stacko  store have been updated to play nicely with Stacks 2.0. There are some shiny new new versions of javascript under the hood, and of course, Stacks 1.4.4 users will still be able to use them as well. El Presidente assures me that all the stacks in the store are El Mucho Friendly-o with both versions of Stacks. 

Of course, we all know how much El Presidente loves a reason to celebrate with a barrel of Tequila so he is holding a RapidWeaverCentral Fiesta!!  

Through Midnight December 28, 2011 (Mountain Standard Time) readers of this newsletter are entitled to a 25% discount on everything in the store. Just use this discount code at checkout: RWCENTRALFIESTA

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MegaMenu Reborn

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Some time ago the team of Lowe (JustRight Web Design) and Bristol (KTI Productions) brought a stack called “MegaMenu” to the RapidWeaver marketplace. It was a popular stack with a good following of faithful users chomping at the bit to get the next version.

The good news for all concerned is that Chris and Tom have now been assimilated into the seyDesign collective and are proud to be releasing MegaMenu version 2 under the seyDesign flag.

MegaMenu can help your visitors make more sense of your site’s architecture by offering them a glimpse of what lies ahead on other pages. When visitors hover over a link in your MegaMenu they’ll be treated to a rich experience of info, content, imagery, additional links or just about anything else you see fit to present them.

MegaMenu now has an all new user interface and is easier to use with the now consolidated repeating MegaContent stack. To learn more about MegaMenu and see it in action, check out the MegaMenu product page

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Wesley's Addon Value

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Wesley's the kind of guy who'll crawl out of his sickbed to offer our readers some great prizes for our Festive Giveaway. Thanks, Wesley!

3D Carousel
This stack adds a 3D photo carousel to your page with optional reflection and auto-rotation.

Slidorion
A combination of an image slider and an accordion.

Portfolio Zoom Slider
Display your portfolio with an optional zoom and lightbox effect.

CSV + XLSGrid
Display your CSV or Excel data in a sortable, pageable and searchable table. CSV files can be created easily from within Numbers or Excel (spreadsheet programs).

Copy Paste Attribution
This stack lets you customize the user's clipboard text/html when text has been copied from your page. (Free)

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Some of you will know him as Bill Adelstein and others as Bill (the info guy) from RWVault.  Now he's got a new identity as Bill The Stack-Its Guy, serving up fresh new stacks for the RapidWeaver community.

First on the bill (pun intended) is Searcher. As Bill explains: "Searcher offers a cool compact search feature allowing visitors to search for and view only the content they're interested in. You might recognize its cousin, the advanced search boxes used in Theme Gallery, but this is the next-generation with smooth animation, a compact design and and ton of improvements under the hood.

Searcher provides a powerful and easy to use search box, autocomplete assistance to help narrow down choices as you type, auto-generated selection choices in a nice drop-down menu, smooth animation and the ability to place the controller and searchable content anywhere on the page. It comes ready for Stacks 2 and works in Stacks 1 as well."

Be sure to check out the free demo here to experience all of the functionality offered.

Second on the bill (no pun intended) is Initialis. If you're looking to create a stylish starting element on your page, then Initialis allows you to easily create a stunning drop cap initial for your starting paragraph.

Start with a custom letter or symbol, choose from three different packs, each offering a selection of twenty dramatic google fonts, choose from eight shadow styles, assign from the six border styles, background color and transparency, position the main letter and the body text to your heart's content, set up a backgroud image if you wish and there's even more.

Be sure to check out the free demos here to try out all the options.

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Blueball Confidential

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Charlie Lockhart tells me in the utmost confidence that not only will his Blueball site redesign go live next month, but also his new FreeStack Add-Ons Pack #2 will be released, with #3 right behind it. January 2012 will also mark Charlie's 8th year selling Rapidweaver products and word on Weaver Street is that he'll be celebrating the occasion with a big 1 week sale.

Big recent news was the complete update and release of Blueball FreeStack theme v6.1 for Stacks 2. Also released the FreeStack Add-Ons Pack #1 stacks bundle update for Stacks 2 as well.

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Our Mega Festive Giveaway

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This year's Festive Giveaway promises to be just as exciting as last year's. Already we have 105 great prizes to be won, with more on the way. In no particular order, here's the list as we go to publication:

1 lucky winner gets a (Mac App Store) licence for Realmac's Courier
1 lucky winner gets a (Mac App Store) licence for Realmac's RapidWeaver
1 lucky winner gets a (Mac App Store) licence for Realmac's LittleSnapper
1 lucky winner gets a (Mac App Store) licence for Realmac's Analog

15 lucky winners get a Tsooj Media stack of their choice.

5 lucky winners get a WeaverAddons CSV + XLS grid stacks
2 lucky winners get a WeaverAddons 3D carousels
2 lucky winners get a WeaverAddons Slidorion stacks
2 lucky winners get a WeaverAddons portfolio zoom sliders

20 lucky winners get a RWMultitool licence

4 lucky winners get a copy of Greg Barchard’s Image Slider
3 lucky winners get a copy of Greg Barchard’s weaverPix 2
2 lucky winners get a copy of Greg Barchard’s Image Starter Bundle (which includes weaverPix, Image Slider, Image Box, Image Magnifier)

5 lucky winners get a stacks4stacks stack of their choice
5 lucky winners get a Themeflood theme of their choice

1 lucky winner gets a Stack-Its Searcher stack
1 lucky winner gets an Stack-Its Initialis stack pack

3 lucky winners get a copy of Armadillo

1 very lucky winner gets all NimbleHost desktop themes
1 very lucky winner gets all NimbleHost stacks (minus Armadillo)
1 very lucky winner gets the entire Nimblehost mobile theme collection, including our Mobilize plugin[/url]

2 lucky winners get a Henk Vrieselaar Blow-Up theme
2 lucky winners get a Henk Vrieselaar XXL-theme
2 lucky winners get a Henk Vrieselaar Magnetic theme

3 lucky winners get all inKarma's Facebook Fanpage Themes

3 lucky winners get the Blueball FreeStack theme
3 lucky winners get the FreeStack Add-Ons pack

2 lucky winners get an El Stacko stack of their choice
1 lucky winner gets a license to MotionComposer

1 lucky winner gets a Yabdab Snaps bundle

Entries as usual via our Contact page — make sure the subject is Competition — and state your first and second choice prizes.

Please note that this year those who Like our Facebook page and post a comment there will stand a much better chance of getting the first prize of their choice if they win!

Entries close Midnight Wednesday 28th December. One entry per person. All multiple entries will be disqualified. Winners will be announced in the New Year.

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Find Us, Follow Us, Join Us!

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If you really want to stay ahead of the RapidWeaver and webdesign game, then RapidWeaver Central has exactly what you need.

Because now that we've unhooked the Resource Train from the Newsletter, it means you'll be receiving inbox goodies every two weeks.

A fortnight after this newsletter you'll get the Resource Train… and a fortnight after that, as long as there are no leaves on the track, our next newsletter. But that's not all...

Your Daily Resource Train Tweet

Our regular resource train TWEET now departs the RapidWeaver Central platform every day, bringing you the best two resources or articles we can find. We also post these on our vibrant Facebook page here.

You can climb aboard and follow us on Twitter here.

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