New Developer, Bryn Owen

Bryn Owen

Last year saw a number of stacks developers leave the playing field. We can only surmise that while some are frustrated at the lack of sales in a highly specialised market, others have turned their interests to more time consuming occupations.

As such it is good to see new developers enter into our circles. Last year we saw Dominic Koponen [dk stacks] and Jannis Rondorf [Instacks] arrive on the scene. And today, I’d like to introduce you to another newcomer. A name doesn’t get much more Welsh than Bryn Owen, but Bryn is based in Southern California. His main speciality is an area that baffles most RapidWeavers – PHP.Bryn has hit the ground running and it’s difficult to decide where to begin the introduction to his assortment of fourteen stacks. Perhaps in alphabetical order… 

Cat will display the contents of an external text file, spread sheet or HTML snippet on your stacks page and could easily be utilised as a simple CMS solution. It is interesting to note that nothing (including error messages) will be displayed, if no file is found at the stipulated source. Requires PHP.

Comment appears as a simple text container when first placed on a page. Any text entered into the container will be hidden from view when the page is published. Alternatively there is an option to add stacks to Comment, in which case the stacks will be hidden. Note that the content is hidden, but not removed from the HTML.

FlexCanvas. At some point, we’ve all inserted a Horizontal Rule into our code, right? FlexCanvas is a completely new take on the horizontal rule. Once you’ve dropped it onto a stacks page, you can spend hours setting up different shapes and sizes for your dividers – there are eighteen different shapes to choose from, and three points can be set for gradients. However, FlexCanvas doesn’t stop there – you can also add a line of text and a logo to your “hr” and even set a link.

FlexClock is a digital clock for your web page. Or is it? FlexClock will display the time in a twelve or twenty-four hour format and will optionally display the date. The days of the week can be customised so, for instance, the display for Sunday could be set to orange, while the rest of the week is Blue. There is also an option to display a stack for each day of the week or, better said, two stacks – one before and one after 00:00 — the clock can then be switched off. An interesting option for scheduled publishing.

FlexContact is a stack that will harvest mail addresses from a CSV or from an HTML file. The mail addresses may either be listed within the stack or replaced with a mailto: link. When clicked the link will automatically open a new mail addressed to all of the addresses in the list. PHP is required.

FlexTable will let you build flexible tables. The tables can be made up of text, of course, but FlexTable’s flexibility lies in the fact that the table contents may also be stacks or an imported CSV file. Whilst FlexiTable is responsive, it will not break; this means that multi column tables with larger content won’t display well on smartphones. However, I have it from a reliable source that there is an update due that will make FlexTable completely responsive.

HitCounter will register and display the number of visitors that visited a site or a page (in increments longer than 10 seconds and up to one year) and display that number. HitCounter can be set to ignore multiple consecutive visits or to ignore a single IP address completely after an initial visit. The counter can also be hidden from prying eyes. Requires PHP.

LinkList. We’ve all seen multiple page reviews etc. that have active page numbers which will load the next page when clicked. If you’ve wondered how to set up such pages, LinkList supplies a solution. Set the number of pages and choose an option for the buttons (images may be used for the buttons). Once you’ve set the base URL, you’re good to go. Requires PHP.

PostDebug is a debugging aid. Once added to your page with debugging enabled, you’ll see information passed to the page from forms, parameters, etc. PHP is used to dump all super globals such as _GET, _POST and _SERVER. Requires PHP.

PostSwitch will display content based on GET POST. An if / else argument is defined, the argument is then passed on from the URL or from the form, is decoded and used to display, or hide, specific results. Debugging mode can be activated to catch errors. Sounds complicated? Bryn insists that it isn’t. Requires PHP.
RandomQuote will display a – wait for it … – random quote each time a page is loaded or cycle through a list of quotes every n seconds. The list of quotes may either be typed into the stack directly or can be loaded from a CSV file (an example can be downloaded from the product page). There are four different settings for the quote’s background and a choice of nine different characters for the quote symbol – Double Qote, Guilemets, etc. Requires PHP.

RandomStacks. Add a seemingly unlimited number of sacks to your page and have different stacks loaded each time the page reloads. The display is not limited to a single stack, any number of them can be displayed at any one time. The stacks are cycled through in order when RandomStacks is set to not display duplicates. Duplicates may, however, be enabled. The display is then random. Requires PHP.
ShowHide. If (width > 600px) {stack} else width < 600px {stack}. I’ll let you guess what this stack does. There is a slider to set the width and debugging can be activated.

WinMac uses a very similar argument to ShowHide. If MS Windows is detected a stack will displayed. If not, the second stack will be displayed. As simple as that.

Some of Bryn’s stacks are more complicated than others and he is in the process of producing video instructions for them. I know that a number of Weavers will find the stacks very useful. We wish Bryn many years of success and look forward to seeing more of him.

Marten Claridge

Founder of RapidWeaver Central, Developer of WeaverThings, Author of Books, Marten's highly unique skillset has established him as a leading RapidWeaver, Web Design and Wordpress consultant with a worldwide client-list and highly dysfunctional sense of modesty.