Massive Bloat

Okay, I’m puzzled. I wanted to know why the project I produced yesterday (which has only one page and a half-dozen images size in total about a megabyte) is a whopping 49.6MB. What exactly did RW put in there?

Well, it’s easy enough to open up. And mostly it‘s a collection of small Plist files and the said resources. But then, in ‘SharedPluginData’, there is a YHStacksPlugin folder. And that is 46.9MB in size. What does it contain? 45 images, of the most bizarre kind, including one which appears to be a JCB at a (suspiciously British looking) holiday cottage. WTFFF? There is also the mother and father of plists — 29.3MB! This appears to consist of… the same images copied in there.

I’m doubting — I may be wrong — that Isaiah considered it a good idea to include all this irrelevant stuff in our projects. It’s not like they need ballast. And without it, my project would be 3MB rather than 49.6MB.

Maybe it’s this febrile climate of suspicion that is affecting the RW/Stacks world, but I know whose responsibility it is that this pile of irrelevant garbage is pumped into our documents: the programme maker.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it — check it out. Control click your RW files open as folders, and dig around. Maybe it’s something I did — perhaps I clicked that box which said ‘include massive bloat’, and I’m just getting forgetful. It’s possible. But I doubt it.

Okay, I made a duplicate file, ctrl-clicked it open as a folder, deleted the YHStacksPlugin folder (and, to be on the safe side, deleted the reference to it in the parent folder’s Plist file — see screenshot). It still showed 49.6MB. I then opened it in RW — no problems, nothing missing — and saved it from there. Now it shows 4.1MB! The images were not restored.

As I wrote before, WTFFF! ‘Twice shy’, I make lots of backups of my RW files as I work. And I was wondering why these files are all about 50MB. Today, my curiosity about what RW puts in there got the better of me — and I’m glad it did.

Call me a cynic, but when RW Elements is sold on creating files that are 1/10 the size of RW8/Stacks, it won’t be a down to it being written in Swift.

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I keep an eye on my Projects and have never seen any file as large as yours. We are probably working in a different way somewhere along the way.

I hardly ever use anything except about 20 stacks in total and no Externals or Templates. I do however find open files from other users and seem to inherit their Templates or Externals (can’t recall which) which can build up.

It would be good to get more feedback on this to see how these large files can be reduced.

As @Webdeersign says. I also can’t remember if the issue is Templates or Externals. As I remember it the “devil” is externals. If I have the project I’m working on open … and I also open something that contains damned externals … then the “stuff” from the externals jumps the ship to my current project as well. It’s completely crazy. So I’m guessing you opened something besides your current project and “stuff” moved over.

Since discovering this I never have more than 1 project open at a time … unless I absolutely know that the 2 projects are both completely “clean”.


Interesting. I just checked some of my older project files, for larger sites, that I know can often sit on my desktop open for days as I work on them and others. And yep, same, lots of random pictures.

Now some I know belog to other projects I have on my Mac, but some I don’t ever recall seeing before.

Interestingly, most of the images are the same across all the projects checked. This one in particular is a real mystery to me…

I’ve no idea where that came from!

EDIT: Just checked some more projects, this time of sites I hardly ever work on, and yep, same folder containing almost exactly the same images. So it seems many (most?) of my projects are packed with the exact same random images, from where I do not know! The foolder is typically 22mb in size.

Yes I got that too in a 347mb project file of mine 😂 I also go a picture of Marten… some photos of some building in some nice landscape, that I definitely did not use… some nice paintings also… my goodness, how is this even possible?

Gary, I started wondering when I noticed a document I was working on was 46.9MB. It’s a sandbox for a stack I was building. One page, no other stacks, no resources — just a small Plist, a small html template, a small css template and a bunch of tiny icons (I’d be surprised if they amounted to as much as 100kb all together). 46.9MB! What on earth was RW adding to that document that made up for the other 46.8MB? Well, now I know. Every one of my recent RW files — dozens and dozens — contains the same folder of random images which I’ve never seen before. At least now I can reclaim some serious disk space, even if it going to be a laborious process.

I have paintings too! Aside from externals, I have about a 100 templates with a default kind of name and then numbered. When I right click and select to show me the file, there’s nothing. Same goes for the externals, where are they stored physically on the drive, I don’t know.

I’m doing this from memory so may be a little off, but … while it was easy to spot the extra unwanted images they didn’t add up to a ton of disk space. What was huge was 1 or more of the plist files. There are many plist files in a RW project. So you need to check all of them.

Unfortunately I see now way to elegantly solve this. Deleting “bad” plist files mostly make it impossible to start my project.

I don’t think RW is doing this, I think Stacks is doing this. Or it’s some interaction between the 2 products. At any rate this never happened to me before externals became a feature.

The monster is the Plist which lists the contents in the YHStacksPlugin folder (in the same parent folder that it is). And a Plist shouldn’t be a big file — this is huge because the code for the images has actually been copied into it. The rest of RW’s Plists are small. Doing what I suggested in my earlier comment (deleting YHStacksPlugin, deleting the ‘Subsandwich’ entry for it in the Plist, opening the file in RW and saving it, really does seem to have done the trick (46.9MB > 4.1MB). The images from Hell haven’t managed to find their way back into that file.

But now it is a mystery. Whose images are these? Why are they even there in the first place? None of them add any value whatsoever to a RW file and they take up a huge amount of space. And where are they? They’re not in RW’s ‘Resources’ — they must be hidden away somewhere in either Stacks or RW. And someone needs to own this — I’m blaming RW, but of course it could be YourHead — because unnecessarily adding 50MB to people’s files, for no purpose at all, is outrageous!


I had a look at files sizes and I found some monsters. I was recently sent a rw8 project which I had open when I started a new project that should be tiny in size. To my surprise, that new rw8 file is 95Mb and when I look into the YHStacksPlugin folder, I see 100s of image that must have come from the creator of that original rw8 file. They are certainy not my images.

They jumped ship into my start from scratch rw8 project.

Also I note that none of my rw7 projects have this issue.


Adding my two cents - this has been happening for many many years - as long as I can remember with RW. The contents, including the developers various template placeholder and demo files, of various stacks you accumulate over the years, all get added yo your project. Used to drive me insane tracking down and deleting, only to pop back in next time you do some editing.


My simple guess here is that if you have 2 or more RW Stacks projects open together, that the open project files, share a common folder or folders for stuff such as local images. Then, when any one of those projects is saved, that the contents of the entire shared folder is saved into the evergrowing SharedPluginData subfolder and the plist file inside that folder, is saved into the project file. That’s probably a ver

Maybe @isaiah can shed some light on this. James initial post has a solution and we should all be aware of this when considering opening more that 1 project file.

Good theory, Gary. But the problem I have is that the SharedPluginData folders in my documents doesn’t contain any of my images. They all contain the same set of images (both as separate files, and copied into their Plist — so duplicated in size) which I’ve never seen before. Whose these are, and what they are doing here, I still haven’t been able to get to the bottom of. They are not something I can access from a project file, and as far as I can see they don’t belong to any stack. If some of my ‘resources’ had found themselves into this folder, I might be saying “Ah, well…” But they haven’t. They have their own folder in the document.

This may not be related, but recently I read about an update to Stacks that concerned backing up images. I read no further thinking that this must have been to do with local images, of which I never use. So what you are seeing may be due to having someone elses project open that did use local images, and that these were backed up and then cross contaminated into your file.

This topic has been discussed many times over the years on the “old” RMS forum. There was never a solid solution proposed to get rid of this problem, but the consensus was this:

However, it’s not just local images from other people’s projects that get repeatedly published with one’s project. There are also some icons belonging to some stacks that get published as well. In the end, dozens of those icons are strewn across a published project (in files folders). I use the free EasyFind app to find them and delete them all at once from a locally published folder.

I think @Isaiah is aware of this, so hopefully, we won’t have to deal with this pesky phenomenon in Stacks 5 app.

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This new issue refers only to the project file size. I remember the many discussions about published file size and additional files being published. Afaik that issue was solved.

Aaaaaggghhh, it just gets worse and worse! Not only do all these images exist in my RW documents, thanks to the Stacks update I’ve just found a half Gigabyte folder containing 24 complete sets of backups of them, too! Stacks has just gone bonkers filling my HD with this garbage. I do hope Stacks 5 is going to be an improvement on this, because at the moment it feels like one of those fungi that infects insects and turns them into a spore proliferating mushroom.

And if anyone owns this image, please let me know. Along with numerous others, I now have hundreds of copies of it on my computer — two per Rapidweaver document, plus one in each of the backup folders.

No, not on my computer. Nice photo, though…

What a bizarre situation! I have the latest Stacks update installed, and am not experiencing this issue. However, I only work with my two personal websites. So I never open other people’s projects that could potentially cause cross-contamination.

Maybe it is sabotage? Or a virus? That’s my conspiracy theory. ;-)

I hope this gets sorted out.