Foundry announcement regarding StacksPro and RapidWeaver Elements

I recently posted a thread regarding some of the new features I’m working on for Foundry’s next big update, where I talked a little about a couple of the new tools I’m building as well as a couple of the many new improvements and upgrades. If you haven’t seen that post yet, go give it a read when you get a chance. I’m still working hard on these features and more for the next release.

Today I want to talk about something I’ve been thinking a lot about – the direction of Foundry 3 as it relates to RapidWeaver Elements and Stacks Pro. To do that, I’m going to back up a bit and then work forward to today.

When Realmac originally announced RapidWeaver Elements and YourHead Software announced StacksPro, I chose to support both platforms and allow users to determine which platforms they’d like to use Foundry with. Stacks Pro was the easiest one to support, as the promise is that any existing Stacks-based addons, such as Foundry for example, will continue to work as-is with no substantial updates needed. Perfect.

Likewise, Realmac has made it possible for developers to port their Stacks-based addons over to RapidWeaver Elements at their choosing. So, while a little bit more work, it is still pretty easy to do for the most part. I have a few corner cases within Foundry that require some manual changes to get Foundry working in Elements. But that is likely because of the complexity of what Foundry is and does.

With Stacks Pro, any new features Stacks Pro delivers over what the Stacks addon currently offers will be available to Foundry and other Stacks-based addons. Unfortunately, this is not the case with RapidWeaver Elements. Their API only allows their new and improved features to be used with native Elements addons. Ported Stacks addons will not have access to these new API tools. That is not something I had expected, to be honest, but I maybe should have.

So, why not convert Foundry to use the new Elements API, you ask? It is possible. But would require re-writing Foundry from the ground up. As it is just me doing all of the work, it would mean well over a year’s worth of work at a minimum to re-build everything from scratch in an unfamiliar API. Not to mention that your current Foundry-based sites would then need to be re-made from scratch as well. Far from ideal, to say the least. Also, I don’t currently have access to said API as of yet. Right now, the only people with access to the native Elements API are Realmac.

Additionally, Realmac is developing their own framework for RapidWeaver Elements. It is unclear yet whether this will come completely bundled with or integrated in the app, or if it will be a product they sell alongside of Elements. Either way it would be in direct competition with Foundry. The good news for Realmac in that respect is that they have a huge leg up on me and other developers because, as I mentioned above, they’re currently the only ones who have access to the API. Whether that be because it is too rough and unfinished, or that they’re holding it close to the vest, it is still the case that they’re the only ones able to develop native addons right now for their upcoming new app.

So where does that leave Foundry, and what do I recommend to you, the Foundry user?

Foundry is definitely going to be available for Stacks Pro. It is business as usual there as I don’t have to rebuild Foundry completely. As for Elements — I will not be porting Foundry 3 to Elements. While I want to support your choice as an end user, I don’t see any added benefits to porting Foundry or my other addons to Elements. It would bring nothing new for Foundry customers. As I mentioned, I don’t have access to create native Elements addons at this time, and in the case of Foundry it would require over a year’s worth of work if I started right now, which I cannot.

So my recommendation to Foundry users?

Stick with RapidWeaver 8 or RapidWeaver Classic. Stacks is still as strong as ever there and those two apps are solid web building platforms with the Stacks addon. But I don’t have to tell you all this as you’re already rocking Foundry in that setup now. Foundry will continue to work there unless Realmac chooses to end them, but I don’t see why they would, and my next update for Foundry, which I’m hard at work on now, will work perfectly there. When StacksPro rolls out, give it a look and see if it meets your needs. If so, Foundry will be available to you there as well.

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I think you made the correct choice. I followed the videos of Realmac on the development of Elements. A lot of what they are implementing looks like what Foundry already adds to Classic. So the need for a framework like Foundry looks superfluous in Element. Maybe apart form some specific options.

Now I am working with F3 and it is even smoother than with F2 : )

Succes!

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Elements only ever made sense to RealMac. This does not help anyone else.
RapidWeaver is an odd product in that it requires outside developers to work.
Adobe made both software and fonts, and sold fonts before software, and the software became bigger than the fonts. Apple had a similar trajectory where the phone and services are bigger than the computer, and they still have a big appetite to be all things to everyone.
How will this play out?
Nobody wants to believe that major companies rest on the shoulders of a few people, but it is fairly common.
I appreciate your forthrightness and I think you have made the only choice you could.
At some point RealMac will pull the plug on 8 and classic, and I would operate on that assumption and build for elements if it is mature enough to bother (that’s not guaranteed either), as seems fit, but not in a rush.
The separate question of if you can survive competing with your supplier happens frequently. Not a good situation, and RealMac has made its choice, likely based on fear, unfortunately.
I’m not sure this section of the industry is big enough to withstand these choices, but time will tell. Realmac having multiple products and multiple subscriptions doesn’t make sense at all, that’s for sure. (I’ve told him so).
For my part, I’ll stick with you Adam. But who knows what’s next? You may need a subscription model too.

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It’s a tough decision for a lot of designers for sure. Stick with what they know versus jump on the bandwagon of the latest, greatest new shiny thing. I (with Adam’s help from time to time) have been able to accomplish a lot of stunning sites with the present RW and F3. I look forward to checking out the future options and seeing which platform I will eventually graduate to…RWE or Stacks with F4. I can honestly say Adam has built kick-ass, solid products thus far and has been equally great at assisting me a handful of times. Sticking with what I have now for the time being is a no-brainer.

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I also plan to stick with Foundry. It is by far the easiest platform I have used to create my website, and it continue to improve over time. So it looks like StacksPro will be the next option for me as well. I have been a little hesitant about purchasing some great looking stacks because I wasn’t sure if they would be useable in Elements.
I also second the statement of Adam making some SOLID products.

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I’m with you, I’m sticking with Foundry and if it’s StacksPro then I will be going that way too. I am disappointed with the direction RapidWeaver have taken. The subscription model for one something I am strongly against because in reality what RapidWeaver has done is charge you each year for the same product. Yes paying for real upgrades is fine. I have invested in so many stacks etc. over the years that I think RapidWeaver have gone too far. I use Foundry now and RapidWeaver is really just the shell to make it work. Keep up the amazing work Adam.

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I fully understand your decision and will continue to use your solid software in the future, even with a subscription model if necessary, since you provide us always with a fantastic support and regular improvements and updates.
Wouldn’t it be possible for you to make Foundry, Alloy etc. largely independent of RW decisions and strategy??? (Asking this without having any idea of the technical requirements for such a step…)

Well that’s made my mind up then. Was originally going to buy both Stacks Pro and Elements and try both but Foundry not being on Elements is a red line.

Foundry 3 is my go to framework & has been ever since version 1. I also use a lot of Joe Workmans stacks & inStacks by Jannis and both have said they’re going with Stacks Pro.

RW has been acting out of character (of the community) since their whole blow-out/blow-up with Stacks. I was wondering where this was leading. They’ve definitely jumped on the “me too” marketing band wagon.
@elixirgraphics Adam your support and products are fantastic. Everyone on this forum knows it. Even though you’re the only person who does the development. Our business has invested hours and hours of training, trying, testing, working to get what we have with Foundry, so, not looking to move away from that. However, what happens if you decide to move to Unplugged Island and spend the rest of your days with your lovely family? Like we all dream of doing. How will Foundry continue?

@Joe

Are you asking what happens to Foundry if I die? If I die Elixir goes away and so does Foundry. Foundry will continue to work and you can use it until your own end of days or until Skynet takes over. I’m not that old though, despite what you might think, so you have many years left of me being around. Unless you know something I don’t?

If you’re asking what happens if I retire, that is slightly different. Foundry will still work and you can use it until your end of days still. I’d hope that if I retired someone else might be interested in taking up Foundry as a product for themselves and support it as well.

All this said, I have to ask why you’re asking about this? Is there a huge inheritance coming my way that I’m completely unaware of? Did someone buy me a lottery ticket with winning numbers? :rofl:

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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: You certainly helped my Monday start in the right way!

I suppose being a small business owner we often get that, that clients expect a form of redundancy and I was projecting that on you.

But your answer took me completely by surprise, which does not happen very often, I might add. And you’re absolutely right. You’re not as old as what we think you are. :wink:

Anyways, glad to see how committed you are to Elixir and its future. It’s rather refreshing. Looking forward to having many more discussions with @elixirgraphics you and whoever else cares to join in.

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