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Stack Maniac has been acquired by Stacks4Stacks

Stacks4Stacks Stack Maniac Logo

I'm pleased to confirm that I've taken over ownership of Stack Maniac. Aaron Marquez started the website exactly 4 years ago and created 16 brilliant stack elements for RapidWeaver. Owing to other commitments, Aaron has decided to focus on some projects beyond RapidWeaver. Following several weeks of negotiating and detailed planning with Aaron, I'm pleased to confirm ownership has now passed over to myself. Aaron posted some information here about his decision:

I've been a long-time admirer of the stack elements Aaron has created. Like myself, he's focused on quite a few quality addons dealing with images, audio and video within websites. I had been wanting to expand the choice of audio and video stacks we provide via Stacks4Stacks, so the opportunity to acquire StackManiac is one I've taken seriously and with long-term plans. We already have some exciting ideas for taking things forward.

From now until 6th September 2015, will remain online and operational. We've added free demo versions and purchases are now handled via Paddle. Support links will redirect to Stacks4Stacks. On 6th September 2015 all the stacks will have been moved over to Stacks4Stacks, updated and rebranded. New stacks will be available for the ones that have been discontinued.

As part of the acquisition, I'll be taking full responsibility for all Stack Maniac customer support enquiries and updates from this day forward. This will include all testing and any updates in readiness for Stacks 3. A table has been published here with details of what's happening with each stack and the progress of the free updates:

It's not just stacks which I'll be adding to my RapidWeaver addons portfolio! Aaron previously took over ownership of several RapidWeaver themes from a former developer, by the name of Jeremy Blaze. It's perhaps fair to suggest these theme designs were not terribly successful; in reflection of the limited customisable settings and lack of customer support offered. Now the themes are in my ownership, I'll be updating and re-releasing all these designs. Each of the themes will be updated to our normal ThemeFlood standards and feature sets. A bit more information about these theme designs (like some screenshots) is temporarily published here:

So as you can see, we have enthusiastic plans going forward. I'm positive this acquisition will bring many benefits for all.

New WeaverPix themes available for RapidWeaver

Here's the link you'll want:

As you may know, I do some work for Greg at Chillidog; helping with customer support at peak periods and with development / testing of some of his RapidWeaver addons. WeaverPix has always been a project I've been enthusiastic about. This stems from the fact I'm fortunate to be in contact with many creative experts; and I believe that RapidWeaver + WeaverPix are one of the simplest, perfect synergies for getting professional-looking image galleries online. Especially due to the emphasis in recent times of ditching Flash and making everything more mobile friendly.

I've had several WeaverPix themes in 'Beta' status for too long to remember! Today I'm releasing the first 3 addon themes for WeaverPix. Timeline and UltimateGallery are paid themes. UniformGrid is a freebie. I invite you to read about these themes, try the live examples and download them if you're interested. More WeaverPix themes will be added over the coming weeks. Please contact me direct if you have any questions about these new RapidWeaver addons.


And... We're Back!

A follow-up message to say that the Stacks4Stacks and ThemeFlood websites have largely returned back to a normal operating state. There are still a few links being changed and snippets of documentation being edited, but for the most part everything is back to normal. If you're about to embark on new RapidWeaver projects for 2015, now is the ideal time to stock-up on new themes and stacks.

I've switched shopping cart providers to a new company called Paddle. The checkout process should be a lot faster and more pleasant now (no need to enter the same information twice and get redirected between different websites). Also if you're purchasing from Europe, everything is "good and legal" from a VAT perspective. As of yesterday, it's now a legal requirement for digital downloads and electronic services sold to EU customers to include VAT (at the rate set where a customer is buying from). Everyone has to comply, regardless of where they're selling from. I can confirm my online businesses meet these new requirements.

A few changes have taken place on the ThemeFlood website to simplify the website. Both free and premium themes are now listed on the same page. The old 'resources' page is now gone. The support page has been reorganised to bring the most popular links further forward and the old user guide is now gone. As of October 2014 when RapidWeaver 6 came out, I've setup a Wiki for all theme-related documentation.

A couple of the free themes like Darkness, Pixie and White will be updated and reinstated on the website over the next few weeks. I've decided to cull a lot of the free themes because many of them had not received any updates for several years and were showing their age. We'll probably retain about half a dozen of the most popular free themes and get them updated to a very high standard and released.

Speaking of free themes, both the Basic Blue and Blank themes have received significant updates and have been re-released today for download. These themes are now fully responsive and include a lot of expert features and functionality usually only associated with premium themes. Things like Nivo Lightbox support, Font Awesome icons, Bootstrap, FitVids and retina.js.

In the coming few days I'll be releasing major free updates for the Filter stack and the Lookup stack. Meanwhile the Media theme and Dusk themes will also be getting updates shortly.

Advance notice of website downtime and some changes ahead to my theme and stack sales

A quick post to say that the Stacks4Stacks and ThemeFlood websites will be offline periodically 11.59PM GMT 30th December 2014 until 11.59PM GMT 2nd January 2015. There may be periods when parts of the websites don't work or appear very slow. There may be some broken links and other general weirdness going on. Be rest-assured that normal service will resume soon, so please don't bombard me with tweets or emails!

This week has been chosen to do this essential work, because statistically it's one of the quietest weeks of the year; therefore the impact will be minimal. A lot of people are offline for the holiday season and sales are typically slow. There are a few major changes happening to the backend of the websites and some subtle changes to the way some of my addons are listed and priced.

New global trade and taxation laws coming into force on 1st January 2015 require VAT to be charged on all digital downloads sold to European customers. The amount of VAT applicable depends on where the customer is buying from. All traders worldwide are legally required to collect the correct amount of VAT for every purchase and send it back to Europe via a system like VAT-MOSS every four months. As much as I detest the new law, I do not wish to expose my loyal customers to tax avoidance and the risk of being prosecuted for buying something and not paying the correct amount of tax on it! So therefore I'll be fully complying with the new law. Buying from me will ensure every transaction is handled ethically, quickly and securely.

The cost of some stack elements will be increasing. This is basically so that I'll be able to absorb the new VAT costs of up-to 25% if you're buying from some European countries. Plus all the other normal, associated costs with handling payments and selling digitally. So you can expect to find the stack elements currently listed for £5 will be increasing to £10 each. Bundle discounts will be temporarily suspended and reviewed. A number of free RapidWeaver themes will be cut from the ThemeFlood website over the coming weeks; although several new or updated designs will be added in their place.

If you are a VAT registered business, charity or non-profit in Europe, you will be able to claim back any VAT you pay on my RapidWeaver themes or stacks purchased from me. So potentially you can claim back up-to 25% on every purchase. When you buy from me, you'll be issued a full invoice and purchase receipt. This will provide you with sufficient evidence and details for submitting a refund claim to your local tax authority or department.

Some free updates for some popular RapidWeaver themes and stacks are planned for release sometime in the next few days. I do also have many other exciting ideas for other RapidWeaver addons to develop and release in early 2015.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2015! Laugh

All things RapidWeaver 6

In case you didn't hear, RapidWeaver 6 has been released today. RapidWeaver hasn't had any major updates in two-and-something years, so this is definitely welcomed news by many and a very exciting update to see! It will be interesting to see how this update is received by the public and what further updates Realmac Software might decide to introduce over time. In the meantime, there are several things I want to talk about today in this blog post. Read More...

An update on all things happening...

Hello everyone, just a short blog post to conclude the month of July, on what has been yet another very hectic month with lots going on!

I've taken some time to update this website to remove some old and outdated pages. Some of these were pages relating to projects I'm no longer involved with and a few others were duplicates of articles I've since re-blogged. The website has been upgraded to use Snow 2.4.

A new page has been setup called Projects, which outlines all the projects I'm currently involved with and some other companies I'm working on behalf of. I'm often asked what my job role is or what it is I do, so this new page might help to provide some answers!

There is also a new page called History, where I've attempted to writeup a narrative essay all about my family history, stretching right back to the 1500's. This history page is very much a work in progress. My aim was to type-up various notes I was handed-down and get them out into the public domain for others to see and possibly learn from. It's certainly proved to be a fascinating journey and I look forward to going to visit some of these places in person and contribute more information over time.

Things are a bit quiet in RapidWeaver land currently. I'm not currently working on any further free theme updates at the present time, in anticipation of the release of RapidWeaver 6. I thought about strategies carefully and felt that it may be too much of an upheaval to release lots of updates now, only to have to perhaps make more updates later on. However I can confirm that there are a couple of brand new theme designs in development right now, so there is plenty to look forward to. I'm also part-way through revising the theme user guide and I'm considering switching it over to an open source wiki-style platform.

I can confirm for the first time tonight that I'm building a new audio and video stack for RapidWeaver. This will be by far the most customisable stack of its type available. A few builds went out last week to some industry experts, and feedback has been extremely positive. I'm aiming towards a mid-August release on this new one. The bulk of the work is done, and I'm mostly at the stage of fixing iOS scaling bugs and refining the editing interface a bit more. I'm certain this will be the go-to stack for anybody serious about embedding self-hosted audio or video files in RapidWeaver-built websites.

I had lots of positive feedback about my most recent Stack video's I published on YouTube relating to the ButtonMaker stack and the free BuilderStack. This is definitely an area I want to expand on and have some fun ideas for some new video's focused around some of my work. Not only are these short video's a powerful promotional tool, but I find they are a fun way for people to get involved and learn. I've decided to participate in something called SSS-VEDA. This stands for 'Savy Sexy Social - Vlog Every Day in August'. This is led by Amy Schmittauer of the Savy Sexy Social blog, (who I've previously sent quite a few of you along to, for excellent SEO, marketing and social networking advice)! I thought that the idea of putting together a short video every day throughout August would be something fun to try. I certainly welcome all suggestions of things you want me to chat about on-air and I'm sure we'll have a good laugh along the way!

SSSVEDA August 2014

I think that's all the news for now. I certainly look forward to any feedback or comments you may have.

All Packt eBooks and videos just $10

This month marks 10 years since Packt Publishing embarked on their mission to deliver effective learning and information services to IT professionals. To celebrate this huge milestone, Packt are offering ALL their eBooks and Videos at just $10 each for 10 days – this promotion covers every title and you can stock up on as many copies as you like until July 5th.


If you’ve already tried a Packt title in the past, you’ll know this is a great opportunity to explore what’s new and maintain your personal and professional development. If you’re new to Packt, then now is the time to try their extensive range – and they're confident that in their 2000+ titles you’ll find the knowledge you really need, whether that’s specific learning on an emerging technology or the key skills to keep you ahead of the competition in more established tech.

To take advantage of this excellent offer, click here. Your discount is applied automatically at the checkout.

Goodbye IE7, IE8 and Windows XP

Incase you didn't hear the news, Microsoft has abandoned support and updates for Windows XP today; including IE7 and IE8. Generally this should be treated as good news from a web development perspective. It's news that's long overdue. Both IE7 and IE8 have become very outdated, compared with many other web browsers available. There's numerous things IE7 and IE8 could not handle, plus a myriad of unfixed rendering bugs and critical security flaws.

Traditionally building websites that could support IE7 and IE8 has always been a difficult process. On average I've found it's added about 20% extra time and cost to a project, and I've nearly always had to pass that cost onto the client. Plus the difficulties of trying to run versions of IE on different operating systems (like Mac) via virtualisation software. Now that extra time can be avoided or budgeted towards other things in a project.

Of course usage of IE7 and IE8 is not going to dry-up overnight. Like with IE6, there's going to be a small minority of individuals and businesses (currently about 3%) that continue to peddle older versions of IE and will take longer to wean-off. Going forward, we will not really be able to help people who choose to use older versions of IE. If they choose to use broken and unsupported web browsers, then that's their choice we have to respect. They have to accept the consequences of that decision.

I've been asked by a couple of people about what this 'switch off' means for my area of work; in particular RapidWeaver addons (like themes and stacks) and various other projects I've completed in the past. The simple answer is that everything that was made to work in IE7 and IE8 is probably going to continue to do so for a while longer. I have no intentions to start purposefully ripping-out IE7 or IE8 specific code and disabling conditional comments (as much as I would enjoy the opportunity)! However future project work and testing is highly unlikely to include IE7 and IE8 support. The economics of supporting IE7 and IE8 just don't add up; and it just boils-down to common sense at the end of day. This will mean that future RapidWeaver themes will only be including jQuery 2. Many of my addons will move towards mobile-first rendering; while at the same time omitting conditional comments and 'hacks' for older browsers.

It's worth pointing out that several major websites have already ended IE7 and IE8 support. Google, Facebook and Twitter ditched IE7 a while back and I believe some services like Google App's no longer support IE8 either. So the tide is definitely turning. This notion of ending IE7 and IE8 support most definitely is not limited to just a couple of bitter and twisted web developers! It's a practice many are adopting in this industry, in attempt to promote healthy evolution of the internet.

If you want a subtle message to display on your website to warn users that they are browsing using an older web browser and should expect problems, then my free Conditionals stack is a good RapidWeaver addon to use, for composing a friendly and informative message. Or you can use the free Browser Reject stack by Joe Workman.

As always, if you have specific questions about browser compatibility relating to any of my RapidWeaver addons or custom work I've done for you, just drop me an email. It's a complicated topic, and I'm happy to discuss things in detail with you.

Explore something new this Columbus Day with Packt’s biggest ever sale

Just had a quick email through this evening. Packt Publishing is giving everyone the chance to explore its full range of over 1600 DRM-free eBooks and video's this Columbus Day at a massive 50% off. The event runs for 4 days only. Of particular interest to RapidWeaver users, the offer also covers the RapidWeaver 5 Beginner's Guide by Joe Workman.

Simply visit the Packt website using this special link and use the code COL50 in your shopping cart, to apply the 50% discount. The discount code can be used as many times as you want. See the website for details, terms and conditions etc.

Packt claim that this is their biggest ever promotional event. Certainly it's an excellent deal to take advantage of if you've been hesitant about previously buying from the Packt website, or if you're seeking to build up your collection of learning resources ahead of starting some winter projects.

New tabs theme by Henk Vrieselaar

TABS, is a new and responsive RapidWeaver theme by Henk Vrieselaar. Actually the new responsive TABS theme is a 'one-page website'. Your slide show isn't interrupted when you click on a menu-item. And loading is very fast. Design your own responsive menu with the supplied Tabs stack. Add a Title and/or a Font Awesome Icon to the Title. Or choose a minimal design with only a menu-button.

Download a free trial version of the theme.
Read the RapidWeaver Forums about this new theme.

Discontinuation of Twit and TweetBar stacks

Just a friendly reminder that as of today (6th June 2013), Twit and TweetBar stacks are no longer available and may not continue to work in your RapidWeaver projects. I posted a clear warning message on the Stacks4Stacks website about 7 months ago, forewarning about this impeding change. Today is the day when those changes take effect. Twit and TweetBar stacks should be considered 'obsolete' and 'discontinued'. They will no longer be receiving updates or support. So don't bother asking me or anyone else for help! Download links and documentation for both have been removed. The Sparkle update channel has also been terminated. These stacks are no more.

The reason for this change is pretty easy to explain. Twitter wants to open its platform wider to advertisers; in turn generating more revenue. Twitter wants to get more people using its own official app's and get people using the website more. That way, more people can see and click advertising banners or promoted tweets. Twitter is now less keen on the idea of having lots of third-party apps available. It instead wants the ability to target users with advertising through its own channels and take more control over how people use its services.

Don't believe me? Read this blog article by Isaiah Carew in 2011, on the frustrations of developing app's for Twitter and the new limitations being imposed on developers:

To achieve this business model change, Twitter has been gradually killing-off and closing various free API's for many months, which has of course resulted in the noticeable loss of some excellent services and app's (like Kiwi). You may not have noticed, but I did spend time updating the Tweet and TweetBar stacks several times already this year, to prolong their availability and to keep them stable. The fact they remained available for as long as they did was somewhat of a miracle. However it has reached a point now whereby there are no more free or keyless API's left in the bag to use. It's simply not feasible to invest more time, money and other resources into developing Twitter stacks which are given away for free. Twitter has made it clear they plan to close more API's throughout this year and apply further restrictions on what developers can do. So other methods to embed Twitter feeds in websites are likely to be short-lived.

If you want to incorporate Twitter 'follow me' buttons or Twitter feeds into a webpage, the easiest and safest option is to use the widgets that Twitter already provides. These are not very attractive to look at and options for customisation are very limited. But these widgets are easy to setup from your profile page, and should work reliably. Long-term, you should probably reconsider your use of social media in websites and take a look at other platforms like, if you want to embed micro-blogs in a website.

Short survey on a new iOS app

Sure, just about anyone can code a mobile app with the potential of selling it onto a multinational and the potential to make £18 million from it in the process. But if you instead want to help shape the development of a new iOS app capable of photographing multi-million pound yachts (instead of creating them), then here's your chance!

Indie developer Greg Barchard has created a very short survey on Google Docs, regarding an exciting new iOS app he is proposing. He's asked if I can retweet the link. So if you have 60 seconds spare, please complete the survey here and provide your honest feedback:


The survey will be live for the next couple of days. Please go ahead and fill in the form. It would be great to have your feedback, and your input will help contribute towards shaping this brand new app. Details are still very thin, hence the need to poll potential users and get feedback. But you can probably gauge from the questions, the general direction this app is going in. I'll also make sure any comments left below in the comment form get forwarded onto Greg.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passes away aged 56

Sad news this morning that Steve Jobs, who stepped down from position of CEO in August has died at the age of 56. Without question, Steve has inspired millions and had a significant influence on 21st century technology. Steve was always pushing the limits of design and technology. He set ambitious standards for the competition to equal and certainly a world without Apple would be a more subdued place. BBC News writeup: Read More...