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How it Hooked Me, and How it Keeps Getting Better
RapidWeaver has become one of the most recognised pieces of web building software, with its exclusivity to Mac devices even convincing some people to switch from PC to its Apple counterpart. I encountered the software many years ago now and, I have to say, that its ease of use and flexibility took me by surprise. Even though I could, and still can code myself, the software won me over, becoming my go-to tool for creating websites.
On the 19th of November 2002, Dan Counsell founded the independent software company Realmac Software with the purpose of creating products and applications for Apple Macs. Over the years, Realmac integrated themselves into the Apple Mac community, which moved from being somewhat of an indie computing device with a cult following to becoming a widely-used, high-end computing product.
One of the ways that the Brighton, England-based company has been able to establish itself as a highly-regarded name among Apple users is through the release of RapidWeaver and the tool’s continued updates. In 2004, Realmac Software released the template-based website editor RapidWeaver, delivering a tool to help Mac users establish themselves on the increasingly important internet. Other programs followed, such as EventBox in 2009, the to-do list app Clear in 2012, and photo editing app Analog in 2013, but they’ll always be remembered for RapidWeaver.
From its release in 2004 to the middle of 2018, Realmac Software has released eight versions of the iconic platform, featuring many updates to adapt the tool to modern trends and new operating systems, to make it more powerful, and to add even more features for its users. In August 2018, RapidWeaver 8 hit the virtual shelves, 27 months after RapidWeaver 7 thrilled fans with its newfound power and flexibility for modern website building, marking what was hailed by the company as the biggest release in the history of Realmac.
RapidWeaver is a web design application, hailed by some as the very best web design platform available, despite its seclusion to Mac. Realmac has created the program to be perfect for Mac users, and now includes methods of previewing the website on other Apple devices – not that a RapidWeaver website would be secluded to only Apple-device viewing when it goes live – such as on iPhones and iPads. With countless other features, functions, and refinements made to the platform and made available to users, it comes as no surprise that RapidWeaver is still hailed as a titan of web building by Mac users.
I was just your run of the mill web designer trying to distinguish myself from everyone else by using my coding skills. I would create customised websites for clients, adhering to their specific needs by creating new code. It took a lot of time to write and test all of the code before eventually delivering a final product; I often found this to be one of the enjoyable challenges of the job, but sometimes it would become a tiresome and frustrating affair. This was when I was a devout PC user, seeing Mac as little more than overpriced white casing with a half-eaten fruit on it.
Unfortunately, my PC died, leaving me without a tool to ply my trade. My friend from university, who also studied computer science, convinced me to join the Mac craze. It was difficult to get used to at first, given that I had never swayed from PC, but eventually I got the hang of the Apple way of computing. To help me get accustomed, I decided to browse the many apps and programs now available to me on the Mac, which is when I stumbled across RapidWeaver. It sounded like a good platform for me to base some small web designs on and something that would help me adjust to creating on a Mac instead of on PC. As I became more familiar with the software, I realised its immense potential for me and my business, with its templates, features, and ease of use potentially making my job much easier.
After using RapidWeaver to complete some smaller jobs, I was then tasked with taking on a rather large job for an affiliate website. This was no ordinary affiliate website; the client wanted a huge range of features and options included, similar to the scale of SlotCatalog in many ways. SlotCatalog boasts a huge database of slots, online casinos, and bonuses which are updated regularly and easy to access but, above all else, the website delivers key information in an easy to view way, which is what my client needed.
Also like the slot database website, my client needed to be able to integrate a lot of information, images, videos, and regularly updated features. For example, the page for Starburst at SlotCatalog ranks as the top slot in the UK right now, but their calculations and analysis may result in another slot like Gonzo’s Quest rising up in the rankings in the future. Both are classic NetEnt titles from 2013 with RTPs of 96 per cent or greater, but as trends change, the website needs to be able to easily adapt and change the rankings page as well as the rankings that it shows on each game page. The affiliate website that I needed to design needed this level of flexibility as well as many of the user-friendly methods of displaying key information that are now synonymous with websites like SlotCatalog.
It was for this affiliate website that I decided to go with RapidWeaver, trying to really stretch the software to its absolute limits to see if it could become my go-to tool. Not only was I able to implement all of the features that I needed to, but despite my relative inexperience on the platform, I managed to design the website much faster than if I were to use other methods that I had used in the past. It was a milestone moment for me, and now, a couple of versions on, I can create even better web designs on RapidWeaver.
When RapidWeaver 7 hit the virtual shelves in 2016, my fellow Weavers and I went berserk, especially as Realmac Software graciously offered the software upgrade at a reduced price for existing users than requiring us to purchase the new software at full price. While its predecessor was still getting the job done, I was excited to see the new capabilities of RapidWeaver 7.
While some do complain about a few niggling issues that have stood for a long time in RapidWeaver not being addressed, and the need to buy additions such as Stacks, I’ve never minded because the tool is so useful and reasonably priced anyway. RapidWeaver 8 brought with it a tsunami of new features, functions, and improvements, with the integration of Unsplash and the new resources manager being particularly helpful, as well as the welcomed inclusion of even more new themes.
Some reviewers will put a mark against RapidWeaver for being exclusive to Mac as well as its price in an increasingly ‘free’ or cheap subscription-based world of web design software, but for me, it’s a grand tool which has helped my work a great deal.