RapidWeaver project files are the files you open in RapidWeaver, often ending in a .rw7 or a .rw8 file extension. These project files contain all your website content and vital data about your website, like website settings. Newer versions of RapidWeaver have the ability to copy all your site resources into the project file, therefore your project file may also contain images and other resources you have added to your website in RapidWeaver.
The project file will be stored on your computer. Most commonly, it will be stored in a location like your Documents folder. You can often use Spotlight on your computer to search for project files.
On computers without RapidWeaver installed, the project file displays as an ordinary folder, containing many hundreds or thousands of files. It is only on a computer that has RapidWeaver installed, that the project file becomes a file you can double-click to open in RapidWeaver.
Project files, documents or sandwich files?The terminology used to describe the website you open in RapidWeaver has changed a couple of times, over the years. Most commonly, it is now simply called the "project file". RapidWeaver 6 had a trend of calling it the "sandwich file". Before that, it was called either a "document file" or "project file". The "project file" terminology seems to be what persists the most nowadays.
Sending a project fileA RapidWeaver developer or work colleague may request to see a project file. Then they can open the website in RapidWeaver on their computer; either to help you or to continue building your website.
If you are contacting a developer to request help and they ask for a copy of your project file, it is best to supply a simplified version. In other words, don't send a project file that is potentially hundreds of megabytes in size, when a single page might be all they need.
Therefore it is wise to duplicate the project file in Finder, give it a new name, and open this duplicated version in RapidWeaver. Delete all the pages and resources that are not required, to create a more compact and simplified project file, ready to send to the developer. Then it is much easier and quicker for the developer to assist you.
RapidWeaver project files behave like regular files on any computer with RapidWeaver installed. Therefore you can refer to existing Mac user guides if you need help with using Finder and duplicating, copying or moving files on your computer. There are many good written tutorials and video's available to find online that cover these topics in detail already.
Always compress a RapidWeaver project file as a .zip package, when moving it between computers. If you do not know how to compress a file as a .zip package, then watch this short video tutorial. As stated already, project files contain potentially hundreds of files. Using .zip packages will make the project file transfer a lot quicker and there's less risk of it become broken or corrupt during transit.
Small project files of a few megabytes are normally okay to send via email. Just be aware that over-zealous spam filters will often remove attachments from emails. It is often quicker and safer to send project files using a free file sharing service like Dropbox, Firefox Send, We Transfer, iCloud or one of the other many file sending services available. For RapidWeaver project files greater-than 5 MB in size (compressed) it definitely is essential to send them using a third-party file sharing service.
Backing up project filesIf your project file is lost or damaged, you will likely need to rebuild your entire website again. So it is vitally important to always keep reliable backups of your RapidWeaver project files. All Mac's come supplied with Time Machine, which is more than adequate for keeping backups of all your files. You also have other options like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner for creating more advanced backup solutions. Project files can be stored on any compatible media, including flash drives, SD cards, CDs or DVDs and external disk drives.
RapidWeaver 8 introduced a new setting that copies the project file to your hosting server, each time you publish your website. This offers a secondary backup that could help you, in the eventuality that your project file is lost or damaged. To recover this backup, you would need to login to your hosting account via SFTP and navigate to the directory containing your website. You should see the latest .zip project file listed in your home directory, ready to download.