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Review of RapidWeaver

rapidweaver 8 review

RapidWeaver is one of the long-standing favourite web design platforms of Mac users. Due to its exclusivity to the Apple product as well as its upfront pricing in a world where subscriptions or lesser programs which are free to use are increasingly popular, RapidWeaver has seen some reviewers mark it down.

Having been on the market since 2004, RapidWeaver has established itself at the peak of its field, with each of its new versions and various updates enabling it to continue to deliver a top-class product to its users. This was shown when RapidWeaver 7 was released in 2016, bringing with it a wave of new features which were all very well-received by both fans and reviewers. However, some did note that RapidWeaver 7 didn’t improve on a couple of its existing factors that don’t allow for the easiest experience possible: some users dislike the bifurcated approach to editing, as well as the somewhat limited levels of customisation to colouration and font selection.

A key part of RapidWeaver, and what makes the tool so powerful, is its huge marketplace of add-ons made by third-parties. While there is a massive selection of these add-ons, offering superior options to many of RapidWeaver’s competitors, they do come at a price. Some see it as noble of Realmac Software to allow developers this avenue of creation, while others see the added costs as a blemish on the program.

In the middle of 2018, Realmac Software launched what they hailed as ‘probably the biggest RapidWeaver release we’ve ever done,’ having taken well over a year to develop RapidWeaver 8. So, how does the new RapidWeaver fare, what new features did it bring, and how much does it cost?

Excellent new features for avid Weavers

Excellent new features in RapidWeaver 8 for Mac

RapidWeaver 8 brought in many new tweaks and features that make it an even better web building tool. While the Realmac Software community continues to be a key part of the program, delivering add-ons, stacks, themes, and plug-ins which the host software wouldn’t be able to handle on its own, RapidWeaver 8 has integrated some important new features which have gone down very well with its users.

Quite possibly the biggest new addition is the device simulator. With RapidWeaver being an Apple product and mobile devices continuing to be very popular for web browsing, the program needed a way of previewing the website on many different devices. So, Realmac Software included a new device simulator which shows how the website appears on as many as ten different device screens, including various Macs, iPhones, and iPads. The website builder has been dropped marks before for its bifurcated approach to editing, but with the device simulator, all changes can be seen in real-time across all of the opened device windows, allowing for quick and easy checks across the many forms that the website will eventually take. There is, however, still an element of hopping while editing and previewing, which has been a niggling feature of RapidWeaver for some time.

One of the most used upgrades in RapidWeaver 8 will be the integration of the royalty-free image service Unsplash. Many web designers will use their own images to place on the website, but most of the time, you’ll just need another image to make the page brighter, add more appeal, or simply fill space, which is when you’d usually need to scroll through countless pages of potentially blurry images to find one that’s free to use. With Unsplash integrated into RapidWeaver 8, it’s quick and easy to find an image of your liking through the search function and then drag and drop the image into your project. One of the best factors of this integration is that users don’t need to sign-up to the photo service, they don’t need to download images individually or complete a CAPTCHA test, and all of the images are of high-quality and stylish, making the whole process as quick, easy, and classy as possible. It’s also very easy to import your own images from your library or designated photos folder to incorporate the exact images that you want on your website.

The device simulator and integration of Unsplash are the most notable editions to RapidWeaver 8 and will likely be the most used and appreciated by Weavers, but there are also many other new features built into the program. In keeping with making the process of web building as smooth as it can, the inclusion of a new resources manager certainly helps, as does the added support for a pop-over privacy notice to ensure that your website is GDPR compliant. The user interface is in a much better state as well, not that RapidWeaver 7’s UI was in bad shape, but everything seems much smoother and more intuitive for Weavers. One of the greatest elements of RapidWeaver is the huge array of community stacks, add-ons, plug-ins, and themes available to integrate into your website with ease. RapidWeaver 8 has made it even easier to manage all of these additions with the add-ons manager, allowing you to add, remove, enable, and disable them with ease.

RapidWeaver 8 for one set price

Other web design apps may come at a lower price, for free, or as a subscription service, but given the vast array of features available to Weavers and the program’s links to the Realmac Software community, RapidWeaver’s one-off price of $99 to get the whole program is a good deal. Better still, they reward their continued users, allowing RapidWeaver owners to upgrade to 8 at a reduced price of $69. As new RapidWeaver versions only come along every couple of years, with updates in between, you certainly get your money’s worth before the next version is released.

RapidWeaver 8 gives users all of the tools that they need to make a grand, modern website to suit their needs. However, a big part for many Weavers is the use of the community add-ons, which do need to be paid for separately. Some of the biggest and most popular add-ons charge as much as $50, but there is so much choice within the community of developers that you should be able to find add-ons which suit your needs and budget.

Bottom Line: RapidWeaver 8

RapidWeaver 8 has all of the functions and features that any web designer could need, featuring a huge range of customisation options and a deep pool of community add-ons to use. Thanks to the many video tutorials and helpful articles, anyone can build a great website with RapidWeaver 8, provided that they own a Mac.

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