Impact Stack

Impact stack | Joe Workman | $24.95

Impact is one of the most versatile sliders for Rapidweaver that we’ve seen so far, able to mix and match images and video, run at full screen, at a pre-defined aspect ratio and with flexible or fixed heights, transitioning between slides with oily smoothness (and no site background show-through) and with the ability to display – and animate – stacks content on top of each individual slide.

Impact cleverly makes decisions for you when handling images – especially ones that fill the height of the browser – to achieve the best balance between filling the space and preserving as much of the image as possible to achieve a ‘best fit’ no matter what device your visitor is using.

You can have the same content displayed over every slide – perhaps a header, some text and a call to action button; alternatively, it’s also possible for each slide to have its own unique overlaid content, so you can tailor whatever’s included to fit the image or video being used for the slide. Add the ability to animate each individual overlaid item and the result is an incredibly flexible slider, in fact one that over time may come to rival those WordPress sliders like Layer Slider and Revolution Slider that we’ve coveted for so long.

Although the stack only provides two types of transition – fade and slide – the ability to animate content over the top means this doesn’t feel restricting and there are plenty of options elsewhere to control your slideshow. You can have it start automatically or not, repeat or play once, set the slide duration, transition speed, initial fade and cross-fade speed. If you’ve got a lot of large images you can define a custom image to display immediately while the actual slides load in the background or display a spinner to let the visitor know that things are happening behind the scenes and that they need to be patient.

If you’re using Impact as a full screen hero slideshow you can also add an animated scroll button to indicate that there’s more content below the fold and you get lots of ways to customise the look and feel of the arrow button. Similarly, if you want to add paging and arrow controls to the slideshow there are stacks of colour controls that will allow you to tailor it to match the look and feel of your website. If you use Joe Workman’s Total CMS there are hooks in Impact that will make it easier for clients to update a slideshow for themselves.

Video slides look best suited to short clips of a few seconds – rather than embedding a full Vimeo or YouTube style player in the way that some other slideshows (for example Freestyle 2 and Superflex 3) do. Should you wish to support older browsers, the settings give you the option to specify paths to videos in WEBM and OGG format, to go along with MP4.

We were able to build slideshows to match the ones provided in the demonstration file without any problems – though we did notice that some of the caption animations didn’t behave as they should; this is apparently due to the animation only becoming visible when it enters the stack’s wrapper boundaries and while this can be gotten round with some CSS, we look forward to it being fixed in an upcoming release.

Given that you can mix and match images and video, add animated overlays to each slide – and set an additional delay on a per-slide basis to allow your animations to play out, you can use Impact to create some of the most sophisticated Rapidweaver slideshows to date – and the smoothness of those transitions has to be seen to be believed.

Rob Beattie

Rob Beattie is a freelance copywriter who designs sites using Rapidweaver. He's been reviewing computer hardware, software and web services since 1981. Yes...that long. And he's also the author of 101 Things to Do in a Shed , Fishing: A Very Peculiar History , and The Bluffer's Guide to Fishing