Why RapidWeaver 8 is a Must Have Upgrade

RapidWeaver 8 has just launched, and it's our most significant release yet. It's packed with new features and enhancements, but before we get into the details, I need to warn you; this is an epic blog post with a lot of content.

We had a few goals for RapidWeaver 8, one of those was to add as many user and developer requested features as possible. While not everything made it into this release, I think we did a pretty good job of getting the right balance because the feedback we've had so far has been fantastic — Here's just two of the many stand out comments we've received about RapidWeaver 8:

Congratulations on the launch of RW8! Already published a client site with it and everything worked absolutely flawlessly. Regarding plugins and other addons it’s been a smooth transition like no version before! One can absolutely feel the love which has been put into this version.

— Matthias Ficht

And here's another…

Fantastic job on this update guys. One of the smoothest product updates ever. All add ons and stacks installed without a glitch, made some changes to a website and like magic everything worked right out of the gate!

— Dennis Graf

If you've not yet upgraded to RapidWeaver 8 and want to learn more before taking the plunge, read on to see just ten of the great new features you're missing out on.

1. Refined User Interface

With each RapidWeaver release, we’ve improved the user interface in countless ways, and RapidWeaver 8 is no exception. The app icon is probably the first thing you'll notice. It went through many revisions before we settled on this one. It keeps the essence of what makes the RapidWeaver icon look like RapidWeaver, but it's much bolder and more modern looking.

While we're talking about icons, I thought it'd be fun to look at the last 10 years of RapidWeaver icons. Just for the record, I couldn't locate high-res versions of the first two releases (RapidWeaver Lite and RapidWeaver Plus) as this would have been around 2004, fourteen years ago — Yikes!

We’ve updated pretty much all the icons within the interface; this makes RapidWeaver look great under both light and dark modes in Mojave. You'll have to wait until Mojave is released later this year to get a peek at Dark Mode, but in the meantime, here's a look at the interface in light mode.

You might notice the themes drawer is gone and has been replaced by a modern and more convenient pop-over. Other subtle improvements can be seen in the way the inspector can be detached and re-attached from the main window.

We also added state restoration; this is done on a per project basis. If you close your project with the page inspector open, and the page you're working on selected, it will be in the same state when you open it again. It’s a subtle feature, but something you'll quickly grow to love.

Watch the video below to see state restoration in action.

2. New Resource Browser with Unsplash Integration

RapidWeaver 8 introduces Unsplash integration, and you’re going to absolutely love it. Unsplash is a collection of professionally taken, beautiful stock images that are entirely free to use.

You can search the entire Unsplash library directly within RapidWeaver 8, dragging-and-dropping any image on to your site as you usually would; banner images, stack image drop-zones, and styled text areas. It really is great, and so much fun to use.

Watch the video below to see how Unsplash integration works in RapidWeaver 8.

3. New Addons Manager

Re-written and now available in the Preferences window from within RapidWeaver, the new addons manager allows you to enable and disable plugins, themes, and stacks. You can even manage them on an individual level or by developer, making it incredibly easy to enable and disable addons so you can build websites faster, cleaner, and easier.

RapidWeaver 8 also includes a handy "Export Addon Directory" feature that enables you to easily move all your addons to another Mac, or to just make a backup of them.

Watch the new Addons Manager in action below.

4. Device Simulator

When building websites, it’s now essential that your site looks perfect on all devices, especially phones and tablets. RapidWeaver 8 comes with a brand-new device preview feature that allows you to simulate your site on many devices - be it an iPhone X, iPad Pro, or a 27" iMac, all without ever leaving RapidWeaver.

The Device Simulator also allows you to open multiple windows, this means you can view your site on an iPhone X, iPad Pro, and iMac all at the same time.

RapidWeaver 8 includes a live reload feature (this is really awesome), and it’s one of my favourite new features. As you make edits to your RapidWeaver site, the device simulator will update every device - gone are the days of switching between apps and hitting refresh. Trust me, once you’re used to all previews automatically updating, there’s no going back.

I think those of you who have a dual monitor set up will find this particularly useful as you can have RapidWeaver open on one screen and the live-reloading device simulator on the other. It’s a big time-saver and will speed up your workflow immensely.

Watch the video below to learn more about how the Device Preview works.

Oh, and If you're ready to upgrade to RapidWeaver 8, just head on over to the Realmac Store and purchase your copy now.

5. Five New Themes

RapidWeaver 8 comes with five beautiful new themes that are modern, GDPR compliant and perfect for a wide range of uses. Each theme comes with a tonne of customisation options, meaning you can change the look and feel to fit your requirements.

All of the new themes are built using a fully responsive framework and backed by modern, cross-browser tested, rock-solid code (and, if you're an advanced user, you have the power of Bootstrap 4 at your fingertips).

If you're not sure where to start, we've included five example projects that will help you get started even quicker and give you an idea of what each theme is capable of.

Watch the video below to see these great new themes in action.

6. Web Icons

RapidWeaver 8 now supports a broader range of favicons. Including iOS home screen icons, Safari Pinned Tab icons, and custom coloured SVG icons.

If you drop a large image onto the "iPhone Retina" drop-zone in the Web Icons area, RapidWeaver 8 will offer to generate all the other required icons for you (apart from SVG as that's a different format and needs to be a vector).

Watch the video below to learn more about web icons in RapidWeaver 8:

7. GDPR Compliant

RapidWeaver 7 was already an excellent choice for the privacy conscious, but we’ve gone even further with RapidWeaver 8. All built-in themes use local resources, and this means none of them makes requests to third-party servers, you seriously can't get better than that.

Watch the video below to learn a little more about GDPR & RapidWeaver 8:

8. Social Media Meta Tags

RapidWeaver 8 now generates social media meta tags for you. This is three features in one as it works globally for all pages, on a per-page basis, and individually on each blog post.

These meta tags help describe your site in more detail when pages are shared on social media and messaging apps. RapidWeaver will automatically generate meta tags with information about your page, however, you can customise these meta tags by providing a custom title, description, and image for each page and blog post.

Watch the video below to learn how to add Social Media tags to your website:

9. New Snippets Manager

The Snippets window has seen a considerable upgrade. It now supports two different types of snippets; HTML and Rich Text. Each snippet now has a title field, making it even easier to find what you're looking for using the new search functionality.

Watch the video below to learn how to use the new Snippets Manager.

10. htaccess Editor

RapidWeaver 8 introduced .htaccess file editing, directly within the app. Editing .htaccess files are not for the faint of heart, but if you're feeling brave, it can be beneficial for setting up redirects or password protecting areas on your website. Don't worry if you do mess things up though, RapidWeaver tracks edits and allows you rollback to a previous working version.

To edit your htaccess file, visit the Publishing area and click the "Edit .htaccess File" button. This feature is destination independent; meaning you can manage the htaccess file for each of your destinations, which is perfect if you have different locations for your testing and production servers.

Watch the video below to learn more about editing .htaccess files.

So Much More

There are so many other small things, that add up to RapidWeaver 8 being a must have upgrade for every user. If you're still hungry to learn more about RapidWeaver 8 we've got plenty of new tutorial videos available, and you can read more about the features on the official website.

Here’s a fun fact, and one I find hard to believe; RapidWeaver has now been supported and developed for over 14 years! RapidWeaver even launched way before iWeb, and has outlived it by a long shot (so, I guess RapidWeaver got Unsherlocked?).

Developing and supporting RapidWeaver is something we’re super proud of, even though 14 years is a long time, it still feels like we’re just getting started. We have so much we want to add to RapidWeaver over the coming years, it really is an exciting time to be a weaver.

So yeah, the development hasn't slowed down, in fact we've already released RapidWeaver 8.0.1 and 8.0.2 and are now hard at work on RapidWeaver 8.1 - we plan to ship this in-time for the launch of Mojave, and yes it will support Dark Mode!

If you've not yet upgraded to version 8, now is the time!