Introducing FaqMaker

Hi All,

I'm happy to finally be able to talk openly about my newest plugin FaqMaker.

This plugin is a case of me 'scratching my own itch'. While I love my customers the third time you answer the same question you start wondering "How can I make this better". I started by doing FAQ's in styled text but somehow that didn't work for me -- For instance I wanted a way to show which items were new or modified and I thought it would be neat to provide a RSS feed so people could monitor as I added new items (Apple does this and it's quite effective)

Finally I wanted linkability -- I wanted every entry to have a link that I could send to people to answer questions and I wanted ever entry to be directly linkable from within RW. Initially built for internal use I've been enhancing and adding to it over the last months and It's ready for a broader audience.

Key Features:

  • A variety of output styles
  • A variety of built in 'themes' or build your own (by the way, I left out the zune theme but if you really want it let me know and I'll send it to you!)
  • Automatically generates RSS Feeds and a PDF version to go on your site
  • Built in integration with the fantastic js-kit for entry ratings & comments

If you have to put information on the web (well, I guess that's all of us) it's a great way to generate FAQ's to help people find information (and to help minimize the number of times you answer the same question!)

Ok, enough talk. To get FaqMaker cruise to my
FaqMaker site.

The 'free' version allows 4 faq entries. Of course since it's still in 'beta' (after a verrrrry long alpha) I'm offering a special RW Forum 25% off coupon
EASYFAQLABOR But wait, theres more, until Tuesday september 4 if you buy FaqMaker and use the coupon EASYFAQLABOR you can add any of my other plugins and get that same 25% discount -- Just make sure your cart includes FaqMaker and the whole order is 25% off with the coupon code.

Finally I wanted to share that I'm not done with it yet. There are some things that I still need to be added such as greater control over the content & size of the 'tooltips' option as well as a at least one more output 'type' so now is a great time to let me know what you think.

Comments (2)

When the Real world meets the Rapid world.

Well, our very own famous Ninja/TUAW/Blogger/musician Nik Fletcher is on Holiday in California -- And as it turns out I live in California. Thanks to some creative scheduling we were able to meet up for Fajitas. photo.jpg


My brother just gave me a tip that I can't believe I didn't know.
option -tab to do a list
One of my great frustration of most mac text editing apps (including RapidWeaver) is the difficulty in making lists.  Option tab will start a list. 
It sadly doesn't work in but at least in works in RapidWeaver

new iSuite -- A winner

I've had the new iWork and iLife for a few days and so far I have to say, they are a winner.

Specifically the new iMovie is stunning -- I took about two hours of footage that has been sitting around and in literally 20 minutes I had it worked down to a 5 minute video with nice titles & transitions. 5 more minutes and it's up on youtube.

To be sure I could still 'tighten it up' and the camera work is clearly amateur but I finally have a hope of actually doing something with the video (and honestly, when you use the new iMovie to upload to youtube the quality on youtube is much, much better)

I love the new events feature in iPhoto -- very slick. I have 22K photo's and it's always been pretty painful to navigate in iPhoto. the new skimming in 'events' really works well. I also appreciate the borders you can put on prints (sometimes handy) and the new keyword (tags) system seems much improved.

I haven't tried the new garage band or iDvd though.

Now on to iWork.

With the new pages I see only one reason to buy microsoft word. If you are in a corporate envioronment that requires it (even if you are the importer and exporter seem pretty solid). The new pages having two modes (page layout or document) really make it all the word processor you need (as far as I am concerned)

Keynote has always been better than powerpoint and continues to be so -- very slick.

And finally numbers. I have a special thing about spreadsheets -- in my day job I use them all the time but in my 'night' job much less so. I'm very impressed with Numbers, the layout features are amazing and having multiple sheets on a canvas is very nice.

Having said that I found it a tad pokey on what I think is a reasonable current machine (24" iMac, 2.16GHz core2, 2GB of ram). Also they are missing some features that I tend to use a lot (pivot tables) and finally excel exported spreadsheets don't seem to upload to google docs (but perhaps that's a google problem) -- it's a very nice 1.0 effort and very usable but it's still clearly a 1.0 product (and won't displace excel anytime soon in my opinion) however for most folks it's plenty.

Finally .mac -- As some of you may know I cam to the mac platform about 3 years ago having never used a mac (always a PC user) -- I've never, ever, used .mac and honestly didn't feel the need to but I broke down and purchased it yesterday (it arrives on Friday). The reason?

  1. Syncing. I have a desktop and portable and I've never been happy with the syncing solutions available -- I hope this fixes it (from what I hear it will)
  2. Movie and Photo sharing. Yes I hav youtube, Yes I have flickr but the integration into .mac seems really tight. PLUS I love the idea of automatically uploading multiple size movies from within iMovie.
  3. Backup -- I know, I'll be hearing howls of pain but honestly I have pretty simple backup needs (for the most part) There is probably 2GB of stuff that if I lost would really really hurt -- stuff I change a lot that I need to have backed up. the 10GB gives me enough room to keep this super critical stuff backed up. I have another 30GB of stuff (mostly photos) that I also want but I have a system for that and it doesn't change as often as the critical 2GB
  4. Web Galleries from my iPhone -- Yes this was what put me over the edge.
So we'll see -- it's $80 at Amazon so the investment isn't huge.
Comments (1)

iDay - random musings

One of the advantages of living near an Apple store is that sometimes they get products the day they are announced. This, to me, is amazing and while it doesn't always happen I was pleasently suprised when I called today and they confirmed that yes, they do have iLife '08 and iWork '08 in stock. So I now have them in my hot little hands -- I won't be able to play with them for a few hours but I'm excited to see whats new (and I'm really excited at the new iWork suite -- I've been needing some more office type apps for various reasons and while I really had admired Pages and keynote I didn't want to spend the money on such long in the tooth applications. Anyway I rushed down and I'm not the proud owner of iLife 08, iWork 08 and .Mac (I've never really used .mac so thought I would give it a try) I'll report later what my thoughts are once I've played with them. On the way to pick up the iLife suite I saw this, a truck (or Lorry for those of you across the pond) trying to go into a parking garage. Of course I had my iPhone so I snapped this photo and mailed it to my flickr account. Bad  day Finally a few thoughts on the iPhone. I'll start by saying I love, love, love it. It really exceeded my expectations and I'm oh-so-glad I picked it up. Having said that it's not perfect -- One of the things people keep on saying is "It's the best iPod ever" which is patently untrue. As a audio iPod is only middling good (it is a great video ipod). The biggest thing I hate is no scroll wheel -- I loved being able to fast forward and navigate through the scroll wheel and on the iPhone you really can't do it without concentrating on the phone. Finally if you are still reading I wanted to share that I'm working on a new plugin, FaqMaker, for doing Faqs. It's getting closer to being released so keep an eye out for it.
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Looking for a few brave souls

Hello All,

I've been working on a new version of RapidBlog and I need a few folks to help me test it out. Currently I only have one other person who has been kind enough to test it and I'm ready to expand it out a bit.

Before you volunteer I need to make one thing clear. This version is not backwards compatible. What this means is after you upgrade to 1.2 you can't go back to 1.1.

While I'm commited to working with everyone to make sure it works for them please don't ask for a 1.2beta unless you are willing to 'stick with it' and are willing to have something potentially broken on your blog with the only way to fix it is for me to send you a new build.

If you are interested drop me a line using the usual channels.
Comments (1)

I am so weak

I told everyone who would listen "I'm not going to get one". Way overpriced and my treo does everything I need it to do.

I am so weak.
I'm so weak
Comments (3)

Thanks Apple

I just spent the last 3 days pulling what's left of my hair out. A few customers were having weird PlusKit problems -- The symptoms weren't always exactly the same but similar enough for me to know that something was afoot -- The problem was everything worked great for me, I saw absolutely no problem.

The problem? Safari 3.0 beta. When Apple packaged up the safari 3.0 beta the installed a brand new WebKit framework in the systems folder. What does this mean? It mean's anything that uses WebKit will use the new (beta?) version of web kit.

A freakish amount of apps use WebKit including RapidWeaver with the result that you are now using a untested configuration of RapidWeaver. It turns out that PlusKit uses one small webkit function to help convert HTML entities to UTF8 characters that is broken in the WebKit beta which was the root cause.

I just pushed up a new version of PlusKit (1.04) that should work regardless if you have Safari 2.0 and Safari 3.0, it's highly recommended.

Comments (2)

New RapidBlog

As luck would have it Blogger changed their feed in a way that broke RapidBlog today. I've been at WWDC all week and pretty tied up with those sessions so it was a shock when I logged into email and discovered the problem.

I'm sorry for anyone who had a problem -- I've pushed a new version up (1.17) that you can find in the
usual places. It's recomended for all users -- Just make sure you mark the RapidBlog as needing an update and republish to get the fix.


Going Quiet

I've been working on a major overhaul of RapidBlog -- Before you get too excited I need to be clear that (so far) the changes are all internal -- I'm completely re-doing my syncing & back end communications to blogger. The old engine actually worked pretty well but I had a defect come in (the dreaded 404/resource not found) and I spent about two days looking at the code for the best way to fix it. It was then I realized that
  1. I was scared to touch the code
  2. There were sections that were there for reasons I don't remember why I did it.
This was a sure sign to me that I needed to do what we call refactoring. Basically I decided to re-do the entire engine taking all of the learnings I had to make it into something more stable & robust. The upshot of this is that I have had my head down pretty low working on the internal guts -- I hope when 1.2 comes out to add a bunch of new/requested features but for now at minimum I want to roll out my new engine. -John
Comments (1)

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