More Stacks 4 Videos! Public beta coming soon!

Update: Friday, May 31

  • All the videos are public and free now, links are below.
  • There’s a new beta. The version that will hopefully become the public beta next week. If you’re a $10 patron you can download it out today: Download Stacks Beta 24

Check out all the big features of Stacks. And, soon you’ll be able to get a copy of the soon to be released public beta and help us test Stacks 4 to make this the best release ever.

Feature #5 - (soon - released in a few hours) - Externals and Templates

Feature #4 - Site Images

Feature #3 - New Text Editing Interface

Feature #2 - Library Customization

Feature #1 - Multiple Selection

5 More Things

And one more little reminder… I know there are some folks out there that need early access to developer releases, but aren’t developers… this is for you:


Update: Friday, May 31

  • All the videos are public and free now, links are above.
  • There’s a new beta. The version that will hopefully become the public beta next week. If you’re a $10 patron you can download it out today: Download Stacks Beta 24

@isaiah The Externals video seems to still be patreons only. Can you provide a YouTube direct link:

grumble, grumble

i swear it says it’s public to me… but yes, i checked with another browser and you’re right – it seems to be a patreon bug. i’ll update with a directly link. 😃

gah! and now 5 seconds later it becomes public.
ok, i give up. i should not internet any more today. LOL 🤣

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@isaiah Thanks! Yes, it’s public now.

@isaiah I just watched the Externals video. One key question:

  • can we share templates with other folks?

I’m not sure where templates “live” in the RW-universe and whether shareable or not.

Being able to convert Templates back to an External or Partial is great!

1 Like

Yes, I didn’t go into too many tech details about Externals and Templates, just to keep the videos short enough to be easily watchable. But the answer is YES and it’s really easy.

Here’s two important things you should know:

  1. Where they live
    Externals and Templates live in your Stacks folder (inside the RW Addons folder). They are really just a specialized type of stack.

When you start up Stacks 4 for the first time two new folders get created in your Stacks folder: Externals and Templates.

  1. How Templates and Externals are different
    They’re not!!! 😲
    The only difference is where they’re located. 🗺
    If you take something from the Externals folder and put it into the Templates folder, the next time you start up Stacks that thing will be a Template. And vice versa.
    The rule is very simple: Anything that you put in the Externals folder is an External and can be modified. Everything else is read-only, like Templates and 3rd party stacks.

And to answer you question: YES. You can share a Template with a friend.

  1. Select the Template in the Stacks Library
  2. Choose: Show in Finder from the gear menu.
  3. (optional) Right Click on the Template file and choose Compress.
  4. Send the zip file to your friend.

If the Template relies on some 3rd party stacks, then your friend will need a copy of those too. Images are included.


@isaiah Thanks for the great comprehensive answer! When watching the video I was leary of Externals and thought they’d cause more problems than solutions. Then you explained Templates. That changed my perspective completely. It seems to me that Templates are the magic (in terms of safety).

I look forward to using this near future sometime in June!

at various times during the development i’ve had only one or the other. or just one or the other visible to users. or enabled by prefs.

it wasn’t until i started using them day to day that i knew both were really needed — maybe by everyone. 🧐

while you’re building up a solution, an external that gives you full freedom is essential.

but once you begin to use them across files you really best to lock them down as templates. 🔐

but i also think this will really be different person to person. i suspect a certain group of 🤠 cowboys who like to live by the seat of their pants 👖 will use externals for everything.

i am not a courageous person like that, but i don’t want to keep the YOLO crowd from living their best selves. 😝


I like watching cowboy movies, but not living the cowboy life! Besides the coffee they drink is really terrible. Probably induces them to do inane things (that once in awhile turn out to be fantastic).

However, I can also easily imagine that support issues might go way up for newbies or more “regular” users who end up changing an external and it cascading through all their projects. I’m glad to have the freedom to use externals and templates. The logic of it is clear to me. And sometimes you can’t save a person from themselves. But people will need to be very very clear about the potential downsides of using Externals unwisely.


Take the whisky 🥃 instead 🤠

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the caveat here is that new folks have been very slow to adopt partials. i suspect externals will be the same.

there will certainly be some missing toes – Stacks 4 provides plenty of ammunition (both here and other spots too) to shoot yourself in the foot, but my hope is that it will be very few mishaps and the trade off will be worth it to give power users a new tool they’ve been begging for for years.

at some point i may have a “pro user” preferences checkbox that enables the complex features so that the first-launch experience for new folks can be simpler.

of course, a switch like that can work against you too:

  • too many controls and prefs and i risk scaring off n00b users that need simplicity
  • too few bells and whistles and i risk scaring off new pro users that need power

it’s all about finding a balance. 🤞 that i’ve chosen wisely.