Shaking the Habitual — Introduction

Shaking the Habitual
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Quizzer Stack

£12.00

Quizzer is a great way to create multi-question quizzes for Rapidweaver that look good straight out of the traps, and feature a range of different answer types, including radio buttons and checkboxes.

You’ll need to create the quiz itself using a text or code editor like Text Edit, Atom, Brackets or – our favourite – Sublime Text. This is because you’re actually writing code and creating what’s called a JSON file which will provide all the information necessary to create the quiz format, questions and answers. If that sounds likely to put you off, then it shouldn’t, because the vendor supplies sample files which you can tinker with and tailor to your own requirements – and the ‘language’ used to create the Q&As is really rather straightforward. The stack is clever enough to assign the correct formatting to the correct question type – so for example, a question with a single correct answer will only allow you to make a single choice via a radio button, while one with multiple correct answers will be displayed as a series of tickable checkboxes. Elsewhere you can use the same file to create an introduction to your quiz as well as a mark or final score which the JSON file will calculate automatically, based on the answers given. 

Once you’ve created the JSON file you can either drag it into your project’s resources or FTP it to your web server, then link to it from the settings inside the stack. After that, you can preview and you’ll see that the quiz appears, fully formatted, picking up the characteristics of your chosen theme, complete with buttons for submitting answers and moving on to the next question. It’s very neat. 

You can edit the button text and assign colours to them as well as changing various other bits of quiz ‘furniture’ – the font size, heading assignations, final score and more; you can even add social media buttons to the results page so your score can be shared on social networks quickly and easily. 

If you’re prepared to have a go, you can also edit the code itself using a few basic bits of HTML to make text italic, bold, coloured and so on, as well as adding links to videos and images, so you can add visual elements to your quizzes.

Quizzer is the best way we’ve yet come across to add quizzes to a Rapidweaver site and for anyone who’s not put off by a bit of simple coding – and it’s really very simple – it’s a great value purchase which offers a unique way to engage with visitors to your website.  

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Inverter

£14.00

This Inverter stack alters the scrolling behaviour of your web pages so that instead of moving from the top of the page to the bottom, they move from the left to right. This makes it something of a specialised stack but one that could be useful in a variety of different situations – for example displaying wide images like a map or floor plan, or perhaps for producing a timeline or a set of instructions like a recipe.

Once the main stack is in place, Inverter allows you to drop in Inverter Blocks – containers into which you can place pretty much anything from your Stacks library, though they’re best suited to displaying relatively small amounts of content, especially when being viewed on small screens. In this way you might produce a side-scrolling timeline that tells the story of a company, or perhaps the development of a product or service. The stack has offsets so you can position your stacks at various points across the horizontal scrolling plane.

In addition you can drop in a background image and a foreground image to sit on top of it – and when you do, the stack cleverly applies a subtle parallax effect, so the scrolling page feels like it’s got genuine depth. We found some of the positioning to be a little tricky to set up but with a bit of perseverance we were able to create professional-looking side-scrolling pages that can handle the kind of content that a traditional top-to-bottom page might struggle to display effectively.

Inverter is yet another distinctively different stack from this developer and offers an inexpensive way to display wide content in an attractive and innovative way.

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Charter

£16.00

The Charter stack is an easy, effective way to add good-looking, responsive charts to your Rapidweaver websites. It’s simple enough so that you can create a straightforward animated bar chart showing relative sales of – say – apples, pears, bananas and oranges – over a six month period, but  sophisticated enough to read in complex data from CSV files stored inside your project, on your web server or brought in from a Google spreadsheet.

Charter supports eight different chart types – line, horizontal and vertical bar charts, pie, doughnut, polar, radar, and mixed line/bar charts. This range of charts makes it suitable for presenting all kinds of different information in an attractive and highly visual way. 

Putting together simple charts is easy enough – you just pick your chart type, define the number of labels (for example the aforementioned apples, pears, oranges and bananas) and then give each one a value. 

All chart types – whether using data you type in yourself or data pulled from an external source – can be styled in a variety of ways. By default, each new data set is given its own colour, but you can edit these or change the line styles, fills, individual data point colours, set a hover effect, colour arrays, fills and so on. You can also specify the height of the chart on mobile and desktop, set a breakpoint for small screens, choose fonts, add padding, set bar and border widths, display axes, legends, a title, tooltips; there’s even an option to describe the chart using text so that visitors who can’t actually see it can still understand the contents. The result? Web-based charts that look as good as many of those  produced in paper reports; and certainly as good as we’ve seen in Rapidweaver before. 

If you want to use some of the more advanced features in the Charter stack, we’d recommend you check out the project file which includes all of the different chart type examples and is a great way to understand how best to produce charts that – for example – use multiple datasets or pull in CSV files from an external source like a Google spreadsheet. It will also save you a bundle of time when it comes to producing charts that use custom colours, for example. 

If you need to add attractive charts to your Rapidweaver websites, then the Charter stack will be a superb addition to your Stacks library. It’s extremely versatile, not expensive, and produces great-looking responsive charts that work well across all devices, and – courtesy of the CSV/Google Sheet feature – can be updated without using Rapidweaver. Highly recommended. 

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Loremer

£4.00

Every website needs text. When the site is live, it needs text so that you can explain to visitors what the site is about (and so that search engines like Google understand what it’s about as well) but even in the development stage it needs text so as to balance out the visual elements on the page so you can get a sense of the space and the flow of the design. Normally you’d drag a text stack out onto the page and then another and then another and so forth; or copy existing text stacks and fill out the page that way. 

That works, but it’s a bit long-winded. Loremer allows you to add words, sentences or paragraphs to populate your page as you build it so that you can get a clearer picture of how a finished page with content might look. Just drag the stack onto the page, specify the number of words, sentences or paragraphs you’d like to insert using the settings and Loremer will do the rest. It’s also possible to specify whether you’d like Loremer to use standard paragraph text or any of the H1-H6 header styles. 

This is helpful in itself, but the feature we found most useful was ‘Randomise quantity’ (you might set this between ‘1’ and ‘5’, for example) because with a few previews you’ll be able to see how your design will look with more or less content, without having to keep switching stacks in and out; it’s a small thing, but a real time-saver. 

You can set Loremer to display upper case, lower case or sentence case, as well as setting the alignment; finally, you can also flag the fact that you’re using dummy content by pre-fixing your Loremer stacks with a neat ‘signpost’ heading. 

Sure, you can do some of this yourself by using standard text stacks to create different kinds of dummy content and then saving them as partials, but for £4.00, Loremer does it for you and if your business is in creating websites for other people, that’s probably a price worth paying.

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.

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