Joe's Blog

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Social Redirects via htaccess

I host a RapidWeaver Community page on Google+. As you may know, Google+ community urls are pretty much gibberish and impossible to remember. Check it out…

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111498543804519819953

Pretty horrible, right? In order to give my community a nice URL that could be remembered, I used gplus.to to create an alias that would redirect to the community page: http:gplus.to/rapidweaver. That is so much nicer, right?

All was going great until gplus.to forgot to renew their domain on July 17th. Obviously my nice pretty url no longer worked! Most likely, gplus.to will fix their issues and make sure that it never happens again.

However, what if you wanted to take matters into your own hands? It’s insanely easy to set up your own pretty URL redirects to wherever you want using Apache’s .htaccess file!

Redirect 301 /gplus https://plus.google.com/+JoeWorkman
Redirect 301 /twitter https://twitter.com/joeworkman
Redirect 301 /facebook https://www.facebook.com/joeworkman
Redirect 301 /vimeo https://vimeo.com/joeworkman
Redirect 301 /rwplus https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111498543804519819953

If you place the above code into your .htaccess file on your web server, you will now have nice pretty URLs to all of your social networks. My RapidWeaver community page can now be access via http://joeworkman.net/rwplus.

You never have to again rely on a service to create pretty urls for you!

Now there is nothing stopping you from using this for redirecting to any URL that you want. Maybe you have a not so easy to remember affiliate URL that you want to create a redirect for. This is a great use case for that as well.

Foundation for RapidWeaver is here!

Well I am releasing 3 months after my initial estimate but the day has finally come! After 5 months of work and 71 beta releases, I am proud to finally ship Foundation for RapidWeaver.

Foundation for RapidWeaver is a stack based theme that really take the website building experience to the next level.

I leverage the open source Foundation 5 framework from Zurb. It is the world’s most advanced responsive front-end framework. Its mobile first philosophy provides faster websites for all devices. This theme and stacks set brings all of that power directly into RapidWeaver.

Feature Highlights

  • Contains over 70 stacks for layout, navigation, content and more.
  • Build your own theme with stacks. Make the website that you envision!
  • Site Styles is a new awesome way to style your site.
  • Global templates allow you to configure supported stack once and have those settings be reflected across all instances of that stack in your project.
  • Flexible Navigation allow you to augment the menus with headers, dividers and dividers. You can even define only portions of the menu to be displayed.
  • Font Awesome and Animate.css libraries are baked into the theme. Use them anywhere you like!

There is so much that you can do with the Foundation theme, I encourage you to get more info at http://foundation.joeworkman.net.

Thank You

I want to say thank you to all of the testers that have been using and providing amazing feedback on Foundation over the past few months. Without them, Foundation would not be as awesome as it is today.

Sample Sites

Since Foundation is a blank canvas, sometimes its great to have some inspiration. The Foundation website was built 100% with Foundation. When you purchase Foundation, you actually receive the actual project file that was used to build that website.

User Sites

Starter Questions

How much is it?

The Foundation theme is free to download. I did this so that there was zero barrier to making sure that users could easily update the theme. I have even added an interesting feature into the stacks so that it will alert you when there is a theme update.

The Foundation stacks come in three different packs in order to make it more affordable. However, there is a 20% discount when you buy all three packs for $99.95.

Can I use Foundation stacks with other themes?

No. The stacks that ship with Foundation have been made to work directly with the Foundation theme. The reason for this is speed. Normally a stack contains all of the HTML, CSS and Javascript required to to make it work. However, with Foundation, the theme contains a vast majority of the code. The stacks contain the least amount of code possible to make them function. In many cases, the stack is ONLY HTML. This means that your websites built with Foundation will be leaner and meaner!

Can I use my existing stacks inside Foundation?

Absolutely! All of your existing stacks inside Foundation. They should work just like they do in all other themes. Although you won’t get the speed improvements that come with the Foundation stacks.

Can I use non-Stacks pages?

Since you build your theme using Stacks, if you want to use other page plugins, you would need to use something like my Global Content stacks to import the other pages into a Stacks page.

However, I cannot guarantee how other page types will look of function after they are imported. And this is not supported.

Will there be more Foundation stacks?

I have added a 3rd Party add ons directory to the Foundation site. There are already a few add-ons outside of the Foundation packs that have added support for Foundation.

There is even a new WeaverPix theme to create awesome slideshows!

In the future, as I release new and updated stacks, you will start to see Foundation versions of my stacks that I will ship as a free addition to that stack. This way you will get the best of both worlds!

I have already talked to a few other stack developers that are interested in building stacks for Foundation. I am pretty excited about that.

How does Foundation compare to Freestack or Bootsnap?

First off, let me say that both products are great and have been very influential for the community. Also, I have never built a single webpage with either of these products. Without getting too far into a tangent, I don’t like being influenced by other people’s products. I like to build products the way that I envision them. This way I can ensure that they are 100% my own.

What I can say is that the feedback has been amazing from my testers. So let me quote one of them…

"If you want to create modern, responsive sites with RapidWeaver without the use of a theme, we now have three attractive possibilities, of which I consider Foundation for by far the most powerful and advanced solution."

New Goodies for Stacks 2.5

Stacks 2.5 is the most exciting release that we have seen in over a year. It really has some killer features that you are going to love! I am not going to review the new features here. But I recommend that you check out shows 18 and 19 of the WeaverCast podcast for a full overview.

Now what is a new version of Stacks without some new goodies?!?

Font Awesome

Font Awesome Stack by Joe Workman

Font Awesome icons are an amazing way to display icons on your website in leu of a bunch of small images. Because Font Awesome is a font, you can scale the icons to any size without losing quality, even on retina displays. This stack set is the feature rich. You can style your icons beautifully with ease. There are also handy stacks for creating paragraph and list accents.

Visit the Font Awesome product page

Footnotes

Footnotes Stack by Joe Workman

Footnotes makes the entire process of placing footnotes onto your website completely painless. Footnotes has two different themes. Your footnotes can be displayed as a tooltip or styled content box that animates at the bottom of your page.

Visit the Footnotes product page

SoundCloud

SoundCloud Stack by Joe Workman

SoundCloud is pretty awesome. Its basically YouTube for audio. This stack allows you to easily embed songs, playlists and user streams directly onto your webpage. It works beautifully across all of your devices, even mobile.

Visit the SoundCloud product page

Placeholder (free)

Placeholder Stack by Joe Workman

Placeholder is an awesome way to throw in placeholder images onto your webpage. It supports two different image services: PlaceIMG and Placehold.it. There are tons of great options that let your customize the images so they look great in your mock-ups.

Visit the Placeholder product page

WeaverCast podcast is back!

If you have been around the RapidWeaver community long enough, you may recall that I started a live webcasts and video podcasts back in 2011. Sadly it only lasted about 4 months. Doing the live web broadcasts always had horrible technical difficulties every week. On top of that, editing the videos afterwards took forever because the shows were always 60-90 minutes long.

I wanted to bring back the WeaverCast podcast because it’s definitely a great resource for the RapidWeaver community. However, I decided to change up the format a bit. This time, the goal is to provide quick and concise tips for making you a better weaver. Episodes will never be longer than 10 minutes!

How to subscribe

There are several way to watch the podcast episodes.

WeaverCast 14 - Font Awesome

Today, I released episode 14. It’s the first episode with the new format. I review Font Awesome and how you can use it within your projects. If you have an extra 7 minutes in your day, it will be well worth it! :-)

Playing nice with Font Awesome 3 & 4

I am sure that most of you are aware that Font Awesome v4 was released a while ago and it’s not at all backwards compatible with v3. I have very mixed feelings about this. It makes migrating to the new version very labor intensive. I personally think that this was a bad call. However, there is no reason to cry over spilled milk. The new version of Font Awesome is really, well, awesome! It has a lot of great new features that you should really check out.

Sort-of-Backwards Compatibility with Font Awesome 3 and 4

For those of you that don’t know what I do, with my work, I don’t have control over the entire webpage and when else is added to it. So learning to play nicely within the sandbox becomes very critical. I want to start using the great new features in FA4 but what happens when FA3 is first? Since the font-family definitions has not changed in FA4, FA3 will win if its loaded into the DOM first.

Let’s look at the syntax difference between FA3 and FA4.

Font Awesome 3:
<i class="icon-twitter"></i>
Font Awesome 4:
<i class="fa fa-twitter"></i>

Therefore my cool new FA4 syntax flat out will not work and my icons will never be displayed if a different version of Font Awesome is loaded before me.

How do we fix this?

Assuming that we will be using FA4 moving forward, the solution is pretty simple! You simply need to add both the FA3 and FA4 classes to their icon elements.

<i class="icon-twitter fa fa-twitter"></i>

If you are using FA4 then this code will work regardless of the version of Font Awesome that is loaded!

There are edge cases where this won’t work obviously. Such as if you are trying to use one of the 11 new icons in FA4. In this case you could provide a FA3 fallback class. There may also be caveats with using some of the other new animation classes in FA4. I have not tested those yet. In theory, they should still work though.

CDN Soapbox

I’ve said this before and will say it again here… it’s really the best for our visitors if we all use the FA CDN. Font Awesome is BIG and loading it multiple times will really make a performance hit on a webpage. So if we all use the same CDN, our webpages won’t have this bottleneck. You can always get the most recent CDN details from the Font Awesome Getting Started page. However, as of this writing, the minified version is not displayed by default. I highly recommend that you use the minified version (see below). I’ve submitted an issue to the FA team so that they can hopefully fix that.

<link href="https://netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/font-awesome/4.0.3/css/font-awesome.min.css" rel="stylesheet">

I hope that this helps everyone!

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