Christoph Polus
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Smile Score: +28
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burypromote
+22

ChrisPolus reviewed on 30 Apr 2011
I worked in web business for some years so my review does probably not reflect the opinion of people who casually work on their own website. I think RapidWeaver is a solid application that lets you build simple web pages. But many of the designs included with the app look quite dated. All the nice and clean designs you know from today's modern websites come from 3rd party developers who charge you extra for it.

Same goes for the structure of pages that you can build in RapidWeaver. The website says you can easily build stunning websites, but the included page templates (the structure of a page as in: first a heading, then a text, then again a heading, then an image) you can use are very very basic. Unless you can code HTML, you won't be able to create those stunning sites in my opinion.

If you're a creative, try to include a movie gallery. If you click a movie on your page, it opens an ugly popup, which again feels very dated in times of lightbox, shadowbox and other nice bread and butter features. If you want to create modern web pages you have buy 3rd party plugins. These plugins are in fact capable of letting you create modern looking and stunning websites with lightboxes and all sorts of fancy JavaScript or HTML5 effects WITHOUT you having to code anything. But RapidWeaver comes with almost none of these plugins bundled. You have to buy and buy and buy additional plugins to get there.

In my opinion, the built-in page templates should really be redesigned for a more modern look and feel and at least half a dozen plugins users have to pay for should be included in the default package.

At this stage, RapidWeaver is a great platform for 3rd party developers who like to sell plugins to leverage the default product to a serious level. But I don't know why RealMac hasn't licensed a few plugins such as Stacks (and a few Stacks plugins for that matter) and incorporated this into their default product. Without the additional Stacks plugin, you're stuck with very rigid and boring page templates. Only Stacks gives you the freedom to place objects where you like them without HTML programming. You can also see this by the sheer amount of plugins for Stacks (not for native RapidWeaver). There are looooads of cool plugins that build on top of Stacks. As this is a 3rd party plugin, it DOES feel like an add-on. It could be incorporated so much nicer into the main product.

Overall I think RapidWeaver is an OK product, but if you want to REALLY create modern looking websites, you have to add at least the same amount of money for plugins and designs that you spent for RapidWeaver itself. At least.
[Version 5.1]


1 Reply

burypromote
+2

+28
ChrisPolus replied on 11 May 2011
That's a good question Zx81. I hoped the new RapidWeaver 5 would habe been the tool to recommend so I can finally let my text editor be and use this all-in-one solution instead and still make cool websites the easy way.

Unfortunately, as it stands today, I have no answer to this question. I don't know of a tool that would be able to really create stunning websites out of the box, without coding. Sorry :(

ChrisPolus rated on 30 Apr 2011
[Version 1.3]



burypromote
+2

ChrisPolus reviewed on 30 Apr 2011
I understand people's frustration here about a missing demo version. I kind of bought this software because I've seen it on a friend's laptop and I liked it. I could try it there, so to speak.

I also find the price of 9.99 for an app that just displays the current calendar on the desktop a little steep. But then I also think that useful utilities that make life easier and - after all - only cost about 2 cups of coffee at a restaurant... man, you really can't complain. The App Store has brought a lot of prices down significantly and now, after using the tool for some days, I think it was well worth it.

Sometimes I have so many appointments that I forget I have to go somewhere. Especially when I'm buried in work in front of my Mac (who thinks of opening the calendar all the time - and all the alarms can be super annoying). Blotter helps me remember my appointments and meetings by just displaying the next 7 days directly on my desktop. It works with synchronized calendars like Google or MobileMe, it works with my BusyCal installation, and it works with a second monitor now. I can now choose to display the calendar on the desktop of the second or third monitor.

The latest update also got rid of the dock icon (which was always open - and I don't like utilities sitting there all the time). So in the latest version a nice icon now sits in the menu bar where it belongs in my opinion.

The only thing I don't like so much is the positioning feature. One can only choose between top left, top, top right, mid left, mid, right etc. You can choose between three sizes. A very compact view, a "normal" view where I can hardly read anything from the packed calendar on my 27" iMac or a "full screen" which is again too big. Why not let the user draw the position and size of Blotter directly in the preferences instead of giving him only 9 fixed options? And then call the sizes: compact, customized (let the user draw it), and full screen. This would make much more sense and then I would also give it 5 stars :)

For me it's either too big full screen as I don't like anything tocover up my whole desktop, but normal is too small. I would like to make it a little bigger.
[Version 1.3]



burypromote
+2

ChrisPolus reviewed on 28 Apr 2011
Optimal Layout 2 is a huge improvement over the first version. In version 1 I only used shortcuts to move windows around, as the window manager and grouping windows into groups etc. was too complicated for me. I constantly had to peek at shortcuts as I seldom used these features. All these features were just not sitting right in my workflow.

Optimal Layout 2 very nicely surfaces these features into a new, easy to use UI. To place windows quickly and precisely you can draw into a special area and the window jumps there (sounds strange, look at the dev's videos to understand). Very easy shortcuts help to save a window position you like and then recall this position for later use. You can access these features in multiple ways: either directly via shortcut, or via the window manager, or you can have icons representing the saved window positions in your menu bar on top and simply and quickly click on one of them. Great!

Over all I'm now using much more of the functionality of Optimal Layout, it's much easier to understand than the first version.

The only reason I'm not giving it a 5 star is because I like a feature other window managers are having that's missing in Optimal Layout. Other tools allow you to drag a window to the top edge which makes the window full screen, or to the top right edge to make the window fill the right half of the screen etc. If one could have hot areas (top screen, top right corner, right edge, bottom right corner, bottom edge, etc.) with Optimal Layout and drag windows onto these hot areas or hot corners and the window would fly to a programmed position, it would truly be feature complete for my personal use.

Great work in Optimal Layout 2! I like it a LOT!
[Version 2.0.1]



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