Many Rapidweaver users have long felt the built-in blog to be underpowered and under-developed, and have cast longing glances towards the kind of columnar, masonry-style blogs that are commonplace on WordPress sites. Instacks’ Poster stack delivers this distinctive look and feel and enables you to create a Stacks-based blog with categories, tags, social sharing buttons, a lightbox and more.
When used to create a blog, the Poster stack does two things. First, it creates a list of abbreviated blog entries which can be arranged in a single column or across multiple columns, laid out in a grid. When a visitor clicks on one of the blog items in the list, it opens the full blog entry.
When you first drag a Poster item out and into the main Poster stack by default the list view and the full blog post are exactly the same. With a couple of clicks however, you can add a summary content box and (a little confusing, this) a header area which initially contains placeholder text but is actually more useful for displaying an image for the blog post. In this way you can create a list of blog post summaries with pictures and summary text which, when clicked, open into the full blog entries. The Poster stack allows visitors to move back and forth between the list and the individual entries or scroll through the full blog posts using the built-in Previous Post/Next Post links.
Having created a basic – though attractive – blog, you can refine it in various ways, for example by adding buttons which let visitors share your posts with popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or replacing the included Read More and Back links with buttons (you’ll need a button stack for this); the stack also includes support for the Disqus commenting system and includes the ability to override almost any of the default settings for margins, padding, background colour, hover colour, max width, pagination type and so on, all of which makes it easy to give your blog a distinctive look and feel.
But where Poster really shines is the way it allows you to deploy third party stacks, either to the blog summaries or (more game-changingly) to the individual entries. So you could add a gallery or a slideshow or a table, price list, annotated map, video or pretty much any stack you can think of.
This is where Poster becomes even more interesting, because the ability to add third party stacks like this means it can be used for much more than just creating blogs. Remove the more obvious ‘bloggy’ elements (like the date, categories, tags and so on) and Poster can become the basis for a product gallery or an About Us listing of key staff and their responsibilities; you could use it to display rooms in a hotel, holidays abroad, educational courses… anything where it’s useful to display a list of summaries that allows your visitors to drill down to the individual entry to get more information. Use it in conjunction with something like Yuzool’s Cart set of stacks and Poster makes a great, simple online shop.
What’s missing? At the moment there’s no support for RSS feeds and no way to search the blog, though of course you can filter posts using categories and tags. Both features however, are on the developer’s road map and the speed at which this stack has been updated thus far, suggests they’ll be along soon enough.
The Poster stack may have started life as a modern alternative to the built-in blog but it’s actually an extremely elegant and versatile way to present all sorts of content and is highly recommended.