Everything you need to know about installing new RapidWeaver addons

RapidWeaver (developed by Realmac Software) is the core application you install on your computer. You will normally see its icon in your Applications folder or within your Mac OS Dock at the bottom of the screen. You can only install and use RapidWeaver addons after first installing RapidWeaver on your computer. This is what the main application typically looks like:

Because RapidWeaver is a modular application, you may need to install additional ‘addons’. Such addons could include themes, page type plugins, stack elements (for the Stacks page type plugin) or code snippets.

The whole setup is similar to software like Adobe Photoshop; whereby traditionally you would install the software first and then install additional addons later on - like extra brush sets, clipping shapes, fonts or patterns. RapidWeaver and its relation to addons is not much different.

Most addons for RapidWeaver are distributed in compressed .zip packages. You would normally download these files using links in an email sent to you or via links you click in your web browser software (like Safari, Chrome or Firefox).

Downloaded addons normally arrive onto your computer, within your Downloads folder in Finder. But addons might download somewhere else, if you have opted for your web browser to save files elsewhere.

The time it takes an addon to download depends on the speed of your internet connection. Sometimes if a website or particular download is very popular, the download might take longer than normal. Many addons are commonly less-than 15 MB in size.

Most developers use Paddle, E-Junkie or CartLoom for the checkout systems. Normally you buy an addon through the website and get sent a download link by email, once the transaction has completed. If you do not receive an email receipt after a short period of time, carefully check your spam or junk mail folders.

If provided, always make use of free demo versions provided, so you know exactly what you are buying. Only buy addons from genuine websites. Some addons are provided for free or on a ‘pay what you want’ basis.

Most of the time, your computer will automatically un-compress or un-zip the .zip file package after the download completes. If this does not happen, then double-click on the .zip file with your mouse.

The easiest and most reliable way to get your addons into RapidWeaver is to single-click the addon with your mouse. Then drag and drop the addon onto your RapidWeaver dock icon:

RapidWeaver will then display a message on-screen to tell you what is about to be installed:

A second message is displayed soon-after, confirming what has been installed.

Sometimes if you are trying to replace a free demo version addon with a full version or replacing an older version of an addon with a newer one, RapidWeaver might prompt you with a different message and ask if you want to continue.

It is a good idea to quit and restart RapidWeaver. Sometimes an addon does not show in RapidWeaver until after RapidWeaver is restarted (even if RapidWeaver claims the addon was successfully installed).

RapidWeaver addons are installed on your computer. Within RapidWeaver preferences, you can optionally change the location where RapidWeaver stores your addons. Be sure to choose a location that is reliably always available to you.

Different RapidWeaver addons are selected for use in different places within the main application. Themes will be listed under your Themes selection panel. Stacks are available in the Stacks Library. New page types get listed under the ‘Add’ button. And code snippets will be listed in the RapidWeaver Snippets window.

Sometimes an addon you install might not be shown in RapidWeaver. There are a number of possible reasons for this, including:

  • The addon is not compatible with your setup. Check the system requirements on the website carefully for the addon.
  • You might be looking in the wrong place for the addon. For example, themes will not be listed in the Stacks library or snippets window.
  • Have you chosen to hide or filter certain addons? Plugins like Stacks let you create ‘favourite’ lists and suchlike, so new addons may not be immediately visible until you change your viewing preferences.
  • Some addons have dependencies on other software or plugins. For example, stack elements are only available to use if you have the Stacks plugin installed in RapidWeaver.
  • Has your RapidWeaver addons folder changed location or moved to a place (like a disconnected external hard drive or NAS) where it is no longer available?
  • Are you dragging and dropping the addon onto the correct version of RapidWeaver in your Dock? In recent years it has been possible to install and use multiple versions of RapidWeaver on the same computer.

Addon developers are not normally to blame for addons that do not install correctly! The actual mechanism for installing new addons is a core component of RapidWeaver itself; and not the individual addons you are trying to install. Most addons are a package of files and contain no executable code. So if problems persist, you should raise a support ticket with Realmac Software.

Managing addons in RapidWeaver is easy too. Click RapidWeaver 8 > Preferences in the main RapidWeaver menu bar. In the new preferences window that opens, click on Addons (the pink button with a 2-pin plug).

All your addons are sorted into folders, by developer or company. Open a folder to view its contents. The name of the addon, its icon and its version number are shown to you. Right-click an addon and select either Reveal, Delete or Visit Developer options.

Of note, from the RapidWeaver Preferences > Addons window, you can also click the Reveal in Finder button to collectively access and view all your installed addons. Or use the Export Addons Directory button to move all your addons to a backup or another computer.

The exact steps for installing and managing RapidWeaver addons has changed between versions. These instructions are written for RapidWeaver 8. Some of the things discussed are applicable to RapidWeaver 6 and RapidWeaver 7 too.

Addon installation is still one of the most confusing things for novice RapidWeaver users, and can be a frustrating first hurdle to get over. So I hope this information can be of help to you.

-Will.

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To me is unfortunately not clear the difference between addons and plugins.
Can someone please shed some light on it? Thanks in advance

@Sharky Addons typically encompass anything extra that can be installed into RapidWeaver - themes, stacks, page types, snippets - basically anything you add yourself that is not a part of the core software.

Plugins traditionally were referred to as the ‘page type plugins’ that could be plugged-into RapidWeaver, like Stacks, Blocks, PlusKit, Sitemap Plus, Kwix, Columns, Code Complete, RapidCart, Stash, WeaverPix and those like that.

But nowadays there is much cross-over in the terminology. The meanings of addons and plugins have blurred somewhat and are both used interchangeably.

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@willwood Thanks a lot for your explanation. Helpful like always

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