Is this even possible?

Hi friends - I was just about to relaunch my revamped non-profit site when the free software we recommend to our clients was recoded to deliberately corrupt our files on loading and prevent them from working. Since we work in the area of health, and the Chinese authors see us as unwanted competition in their bid for global control of our area of expertise, we had to quickly devise a way to get our work into their new software.

This involved recruiting a task-force of users to make two interface screenshots and a copy-and-paste text file for each of our 1,750 files. This is now underway. Here’s the plan:

  1. We build an alphabetized list of 1,750 files - click on an A-Z letter to display a list of files that begin with it, or enter an illness or pathogen name into a search field to display all related files.

  2. Clicking a file name opens a window or new page which displays the two screenshots one at a time as Facebook does with an image series - plus a scrollable text window that can be copied and pasted from.

  3. Users then open the compromised software and manually enter our screenshot settings into it, plus paste the text info, then save their newly built file. So no file import ever takes place, and the authors cannot prevent users from building their own files since this is a major purpose of the application.

We’re having our own software written currently which will be streets ahead of the Chinese stuff, but we need to support ill people in the meantime, and to send a message to the authors that westerners are not as dumb or as helpless as they apparently believe.

So, is what we propose possible? I’ve used Foundation for the site, but I also have Foundry. I imagine that some server database wrangling may be involved, and our technical admin can handle that. But he’s not familiar with RW, or even Mac.

Your comments will be much appreciated.



My initial thoughts are:-

Firstly, don’t panic! There possibly are some viable options available to you. Many of the people on this forum are true experts and will help you and your client get through this disaster.

Short-term, use SiteSucker to clone the whole website and preserve the links. Assuming that the website is still online and working. Then you always have a copy nobody else can trash. SiteSucker used to be free. I can only see paid versions of it now. Free alternatives possibly exist, if you don’t have the money to spend on it right now. SiteSucker is great at what it does though, and a valuable tool for any web designer to own.

Assuming these are 1,750 webpages - each one with two screenshots and some text, this is possibly getting too much for RapidWeaver to handle. There is no ‘red line’, but RapidWeaver tends to choke at about the 500 page mark. After that, things can get crashy and just very sloooooooow…

What if instead of 1,750 webpages, you had some-sort of custom stack that would let you feed-in the data / pictures for each item and display it as a lightbox? Not difficult to use some jQuery Javascript to filter / sort lists and display a lightbox. As a custom stack, it would be feasible. That would save the potential problems of RapidWeaver needing to generate 1,750 webpages - which I am doubtful it could manage.

If we started building something now in a primitive CSV database / table format, potentially what you build interim for RapidWeaver could be imported into an SQL Database later-on. You mention already having a server admin to take things further forward after RapidWeaver. He or she would like you, if the same data did not have to be re-entered twice!

If items did need to be on their own pages (so you have 1,750 webpages) I would consider building the website with concrete5. Because the website would be database / dynamically built. concrete5 does a great job of enabling site-wide searches and building navigation lists that can easily sorted into alphabetical order. I have built websites with concrete5 in the past, that have been able to handle several thousand products and combinations, without breaking a sweat.

A couple of ideas for you to consider. I am sure others might chime-in with some of their own thoughts.



What are these file? Web pages? Blog posts?

Hi Will, hi Jannis - I haven’t been clear enough, I’m afraid. I don’t want 1,750 pages - just one. On that page, I want a slideshow with two images to appear when an illness name is clicked - each slide is a screenshot of appropriate settings for the user to enter into their software.

Alternatively, I can concatenate the two images as one which is less overhead and database tracking.

Our text must be selectable for copy and paste, so it’s probably easier to make 1,750 downloadable plain text files rather than try to do a slideshow-type display.

To be honest, I’m starting to doubt whether what I’m looking for is possible with so many files. I may have to categorize illnesses by organ, body system, and pathogenic organism, then make size-optimized PDFs and distribute via downloadable zip folders.

Either way, there’s a huge amount of work involved.

Thank you both for your time and attention.



My approach would be:-

  1. Name and number all the images sequentially, so they are in their matched pairs like this:
  • illness-0001-a.jpg
  • illness-0001-b.jpg
  • illness-0002-a.jpg
  • illness-0002-b.jpg
  1. Create a CSV file that stores all this data in a simple format like this:

    Illness Name | path/to/illness-0001-a.jpg | path/to/illness-0001-b.jpg | Description text
    Illness Name | path/to/illness-0002-b.jpg | path/to/illness-0002-b.jpg | Description text
    Illness Name | path/to/illness-0003-a.jpg | path/to/illness-0003-b.jpg | Description text
    Illness Name | path/to/illness-0004-b.jpg | path/to/illness-0004-b.jpg | Description text

  2. Have some PHP code that will read the CSV file (a bit like PlayLister or ProGallery does) and generate a list of all the illness names. Each illness name would be a link. Clicking the illness link will open a lightbox. The lightbox contains your 2 images and the description text for each illness. The description text would be ready for copy and paste. There is no reason why a button could not be added to aid the copy and pasting of the text, to make things even easier for the end user.

I cannot think of any combination of existing Stacks for RapidWeaver that can do this. It would more than likely have to be built as a custom stack. Turnaround time would probably be about 7 - 14 days, start to finish. Pricing, I’m happy to discuss privately.

Again, it might be best to see if anyone else can arrive at an alternative solution for you, perhaps using existing stacks.

I keep thinking about StackApps, but they are old and a few people have commented about difficulties using them.

Regardless of the technical solution, it’s more interesting how you break down the 1750 “topics” into smaller main, and sub categories.

How are your “users” able to find the “topic” they require?

Hi David,

Yeah, I can see why you are stressing - lots of hidden to-dos & functionality in all that ;)
If you can be patient EasyDB will be launching a new module - FreeForm Pro in a few weeks, which should be able to handle most of what you are looking for. If you want to talk further, feel free to email me bill at stack-its dot com

Thanks, Bill