Stacks Pro Update

Is there any kind of update on StacksPro? I visited the RW forum for the first time in about 4 months. The RW forum is filled with people struggling with Stacks. It appears mostly because Classic has broken or altered things. People are also having problems getting support. Is Isaiah doing okay physically and mentally? Just becoming a bit concerned that the user base loyalty is burning down while the wait is getting long.

I’m active on the Weavers Space forum and I don’t see people ‘struggling with stacks’. RW v 8.9.3 and 8.9.4 and RW Classic all work perfectly with Stacks 5 and I’m not aware of anything being broken or altered. Realmac continue to support Stacks 5 in Classic and in fact Classic is only a minor update from RW 8.

With regard to support, we are all there on Weavers Space forum ready to answer any questions users have. We’re mostly users and not developers, but there are devs active on the forum.

Isaiah is working away developing Stacks Pro as I’m sure Realmac are with RW Elements. Neither of these is going to be released in the near future, but that isn’t really a problem as RW 8 and Classic continue to work well and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

I will almost certainly swap over to Stacks Pro when it is released, but in the meantime RW, Foundation and Stacks continue to work well for me.

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Agree.

RM recently wrote themselves a lovely but delusional End of Year Wrap-up: 2022. They appear to think this has been a fantastic year for Rapidweaver and " RapidWeaver Classic received seven updates containing stability improvements and plenty of fresh features."

No mention of Elements which was announced in late March, when it was apparently weeks away from demonstration.

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Same here on RW4All, not?

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Just some vague “but we also have some big surprises planned that we can’t wait to share with you in 2023.”

Yes, I’ll bet RM does have some nice surprises. @Isaiah could probably attest to some 2022 surprises as well.

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You bet, great support here on RW4ALL

How do we get the people who are posting in RW Forum the answers? I can’t help but think and see that Stacks is taking a beating or bad mouthed in a passive aggressive way from the forum owner. The cards are really stacked against the Stacks user, so to speak. It’s RW’s choice to do what they want. I’m just concerned about saving the Stacks ecosystem. At least until it is released and allowed to thrive or dive on its own merits.

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I rarely see people struggling with Stacks itself. It’s more users having issues with a particular independently made stack or trying to achieve something that’s beyond their current knowlege. The instructions for some stacks can be virtually non existant even from some of the well known stack makers out there.

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You’re right and that happens regularly and is clear for all to see. E.g. Currently there is a PDF download issue thread, that when you look at the posted URL you can see it is a resources issue. However, Stacks gets a good kicking for it, yet surely the purpose of a support forum is to solve the actual problem and not make it an opportunity to take another stab at Stacks.

I really hope so but don’t know. Isaiah is not evidently active on the Yourhead Software Discord group, which is fast going off topic and turning into an opportunity for some devs to promote themselves or their new stacks.

The Stacks Ecosystem has lost a lot of momentum and will continue to do so until significant things happen. We have lost many devs and new devs are not being attracted because of Realmacs last “big surprise”. Yet, if you choose your framework and stacks wisely, use RW7 or RW8, you can build great sites.

Today however, I can’t see any reasonably intelligent web building customers would compare RW Classic (+ Stacks + Framework + stacks) with Blocs5, and come to the conclusion that RW would be the one to buy.

IMHO when StacksApp does appear, it will have to offer a lot more than just replacing RW, to be successful. The twisted irony, is that when Classic appeared, it restored the Stacks dynamic, because the Stacks universe was realigned with the coninuing future compatibility inside future RW versions.

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Yep, seen this a lot myself. It’s blatantly obvious and just rubs me raw every time I see it. That’s why I don’t frequent any of the RW ecosystem forums much anymore. Sales bashing.

The announcement of RW Classic was shrewd and Isaiah fell for it hook-line-sinker. I know the Stacks and stacks developers need to make money but this rabbit trail has done nothing but delay the inevitable by taking the pressure off.

Stacks will need to have some kind of default framework and honestly do “out of the box” what many of the other frameworks already do. I’m not sure pure freeform design/building is going to be a fast enough website creation method to compete with BlocsApp or Wordpress or any other website creation app. A designer/webmaster is going to eventually want a framework to get them into the game and then tweak the design from there.

BlocsApp is cheap for all it does. Many hundreds of dollars less than RW just to get started. Potentially thousands of dollars if you go all in. BlocsApp is complete except some special needs which Add-On Developers discover and provide for. BlocsApp has been kicking butt polishing and tweaking to make it world class at the little things that make a website standout from the rest of the internet. These are all things Stacks has to compete with if as you said, “reasonably intelligent web building customers would compare…”.

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All of this is true, but there is also another side to it. To give Dan credit for once, there really has never been a better time to build sites with RW. It’s a good enough holder for Stacks, and Stacks is a good enough holder for the thousands of brilliant stacks out there. We can actually do incredible things with stacks. I’m not going to knock Blocs — it looks like a stylish, well-thought-out web builder, but can it do all those things? It’s nowhere near that yet. As an example, what Stuart did in creating a LMS — which we were talking about here the other day — just shows the power that can come from intelligently combining the stacks we have.

The only real threat this environment faces is becoming orphaned by technology changes. There isn‘t really any prospect of that at the moment, as both RM and YourHead remain committed (as do most stacks devs) and nothing Apple has up its sleeve gives us cause to worry. Some plugins and stacks have been left behind with changes to PHP and JQuery, but they’re in a minority — and there are newer solutions doing more and better (e.g. Rapidcart is now pretty much obsolete, but Vibracart Pro and other RW/Stacks ecommerce solutions are amazing). Stacks based on HTML, CSS, vanilla JS and recommended PHP practice will likely be good forever.

This is one of those moments when it’s less about more new stuff and more about doing incredible things with the stuff we have. In my experience, these are always the most creative and exciting moments.

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I come back to the original post. I’m not knocking the existing Stacks and stacks. Especially if you are already invested in the system. However there are webmasters retiring/quitting and new ones coming into the industry all the time. If they see the negative vibes at the Realmac forums and then weigh that against the competition, RW and Stacks and stacks is going to loose a lot of those sales.

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I have been getting that impression the last few months, however I am very positive and optimistic that once Stacks Pro app drops it will gain a big momentum, it will be pretty unique in that it will technically be new software, but will already have an extensive catalogue of third party devs and stacks available, it doesn’t need to build that up from scratch. So long as it is marketed well in the sense the type of users that would love it get to hear about it. If it is not intended for the Mac App Store (I don’t whether it is or not) it is worth having it included for six months just to gain an awareness for new potential users. I’m positive, it could be the next big thing for Mac apps if people get to hear about it.

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I don‘t believe that either RW/Stacks or Stacks Pro are going to be runaway commercial successes — not in this economic climate, nor given what has happened this year. They’ll be fortunate to cover the bills. But then I don‘t think anyone is going to be making huge profits on a web app. Certainly here in the UK the web development market is ‘sluggish’, to say the best, at every level. What makes RW/Stacks exciting at this moment is that it is a great set of tools, with the potential to do amazing things. What kind of things, I don‘t know — that’s what makes it exciting. But I suspect we all may find ourselves with a bit more free time than we’d reckoned on, and that’s always good for creativity.

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I fully get what you are saying and you are quite right, the demand for web services can be a more considered decision for potential customers at the moment, I think for myself I mainly focus on a broad range of digital media, animation, digital illustration & graphics and interactive content but use Stacks to wrap it all up, because it handles these things far better than Wordpress, which seems to be the defacto website builder just because it has gained popularity to the average person on the street enabling them to make a website themselves. Putting SVGs in Wordpress for example is a nightmare and HTML5 content is a case of forget it in the most part for true responsiveness. I look back at the time when Flash websites were highly creative and an exciting direction for web content, but then when it was made redundant and Wordpress gained strength where the average person could make their own website and started the trend of websites just being picture/text, picture/text, picture/text. Stacks for me enabled great integration of HTML5 content, SVG content and range of other animation both 2D & 3D interactive content to be handled brilliantly, all this content when embedded in pages retains responsiveness for screen sizes without having to be embedded three or four times at different breakpoints as is the case with Wordpress and even then it is flakey with height settings, you have to always have to create workarounds. I think if people cotton on to this Stacks could gain a strong userbase. I think the Stacks approach is more suited to the creative website developer, which is its strength. It could be the ‘go to’ software for the creatives that want more interactive content, it is already manageable to high level without creating your own bespoke HTML5 content with a borad range of the stacks available. I don’t use Drift as I use HTML5 software, but it is there with Drift for website animation as a stack, 1LD’s Configure is amazing, there are so many stacks to list. But I do not disagree at all with your point, you are quite right, but I do think if the right people get to know about it, it could fly. It’s the best solution for the Flash style websites when used with other tools.

Actually, for about 18 months up until March 2022, was a far better time to build sites with RW and things got a lot worse since then. Potential new users and traditional change averse users are confused and spooked by the talk of change and the uncertainty of new versions, annual subscriptions, escalating annual subscriptions, new bugs in Classic, the real threat of dropping all plugins including Stacks, etc…

The credit due, is that Dan single handedly screwed it all up since then.

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… sell stack addons …

This is really sad. 😞 So many people worked really hard on the STACKS ecosystem. I wish it was different.

For sure, before March 2022 was a better time to sell stack addons, and Realmac did a lot of the damage themselves (but their fateful decision is by no means the only factor in the downturn) . Nonetheless I was being quite specific when I echoed Dan’s point that ‘there really has never been a better time to build sites with RW’. Even since March we have new tools, like Drift — as Tophat says — that we didn’t have before.

The problem up until March was that RW was floundering about without a business model. I’d first come across it pre-Stacks when it was really the successor to Apple’s iWeb. And this idea that it was a simple Mac drag-and-drop web-builder persisted long after Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace etc. had eaten that market. What we had was a product in which some people were building complex framework based sites and others were still populating themes with content. It wasn’t a sustainable situation. Added to this, RW/Stacks (and in many cases, stacks) were too complex and bug-prone to be anything like a beginners’ tool.

Now at least we can look at what RW/Stacks offers that is different from anything else in the market, and the kind of user who would be attracted to that. I agree with Tophat that: “It could be the ‘go to’ software for the creatives that want more interactive content, it is already manageable to high level without creating your own bespoke HTML5 content with a borad range of the stacks available.” For me, it‘s something like the Risograph machine, which failed to become the ubiquitous colour copying machine it was designed as but then developed a cult following because designers really liked the effects it produced. (And the Risograph has even developed a new life through countless Photoshop filters which produce RIsograph effects for people who have never even seen a Risograph machine).

The future of RW+Stacks/StacksPro will be in finding its community. It will never be the LaserWriter of the web, but it could be its Risograph.