Theme details

Theme name: Tornado
Theme designer: Will Woodgate
Current version: 4.4
Last updated: 26th Aug 2019
First released: 21st October 2014
Compatibility: RapidWeaver 7 & 8
GDPR / DSGVO / CCPA compliant: Yes
Responsive: Yes
Doctype: Valid HTML5
Font Awesome version: 5.10.3
Bootstrap version: 4.3.1
Usage agreement: Click for details
Example website: View online
Download example website: Click here

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Despite the name, this is a theme that doesn't suck! The Storm RapidWeaver theme has proven to be very popular and a common feature request from many people has often been for a 'fixed' sidebar on the left and support for scroll-spy. Unfortunately due to the mechanics of how Storm works, this sort of configuration has never been feasible. So the decision was taken to branch Storm out into a brand new theme called Tornado. This vertically-orientated theme is absolutely perfect for smaller websites like personal homepages, photography portfolios and simple business, marketing or e-commerce websites.

Tornado is fully responsive and uses mobile-first rendering for unbeatable loading speed on a broad variety of devices and web browsers. A FreeStyle banner container located at the top provides the ideal placeholder for eye-catching photographs, slideshows, overlays and even embedded video. The navigation container on the left is permanently fixed in-place and features an animated fly-out menu style. Alternatively the standard page navigation links can be disabled and replaced with a scroll-spy setup, for building single page websites.

Altogether Tornado is a simple theme; but in that respect it's also a theme that's easy to work with. Aspects like SEO and print output certainly have not been overlooked in this theme. Lots of style and colour settings are included, so you really can "make it look like your own". Bootstrap, Font Awesome icons, built-in lightboxes, ExtraContent, retina image support, responsive video and embedded web fonts give you a really impressive feature set to build brilliant websites with.

Mobile first

Tornado is a mobile-first RapidWeaver theme, meaning that we target smaller devices (like smartphones and tablets) with style and layout code first, before moving onto larger screen sizes. This ensures the fastest, the most flexible and the most efficient webpage rendering for all of your website users; of paramount importance now that handheld devices makeup a significant share of website traffic.

On smaller tablets and smartphones, the navigation container is rendered above the banner. The block navigation links are reformed at the top of the page, as a simple toggle open / close accordion unit. Aspects like the banner, sidebar and content containers resize to fit the screen. The free demo version of Tornado provides an excellent insight into what this sophisticated theme is capable of, on a variety of screen sizes.

CMS friendly

Are you building a website and want others to have the ability to login and edit it? Tornado is one of the most CMS-friendly themes available to build with. CMS stands for 'content management system', and is a method of updating content outside of RapidWeaver. Tornado works with all the popular CMS solutions available for RapidWeaver, including (but not limited to) RW/Writer, PageLime, Armadillo and the warehouse module in WeaverPix. This is great news if you want to remotely post new blog entries to your website or periodically update your photographic galleries while on the road. CMS systems like Armadillo are able to reuse aspects of the theme (like the navigation menu) and dynamically populate them with your page navigation links.

Banner container

Tornado comes supplied with 40 example banner background images (numbered 1.jpg - 40.jpg). As always, you can use any of these example banner background images in your projects or use your own images in the banner instead. To use your own images, place an image in ExtraContent3 or use the FreeStyle banner technique (detailed in the theme user guide). Your banner images will be scaled responsively and can also be enhanced with title and ALT attributes for the benefit of search engines. Another trick you can perform is to enable the Banner Content Box in the theme settings; which displays ExtraContent4 as a semi-transparent box over the banner image; great for social networking icons or important messages.


Tornado uses the recently announced RAFT 2.0 (responsive adaptive framework for themes) plugin, for the website navigation. On mobile devices, the website navigation is presented in the form of a simple toggle / accordion style menu, to conserve screen space and allow users to easily tap and drill-down to lower levels of the website. On screens greater than 768px wide, an animated fly-out menu is used. The fly-out menu is able to support links than span multiple lines, Font Awesome icons and automatically displays a chevron icon against all links with subpages available. The navigation menu has been carefully crafted to facilitate ease of use on all screen sizes.

Many aspects of the navigation menu can be customised, using the provided theme style settings. Font Awesome Icons can be used against navigation items, as we’ve done in the demo.


In this RapidWeaver theme, the sidebar is rendered as a simple block, below your main page container. The sidebar will inherit the same text styling and font faces, as the main container above.

Site title & slogan

Tornado has options to position the site slogan above the navigation links, within the FreeStyle banner container (default) and above the page content container, within a coloured box. Your site title can either be displayed above the navigation links or within the FreeStyle banner container. Options are provided to change the title and slogan colours. There are also some different logo positioning options you can choose from.

Single page websites

A unique feature of the Tornado RapidWeaver theme is the ability to create a single page website with navigation buttons that scroll you to the correct part of the page when clicked. Much of the code to achieve this is already built into the theme, so there is little work you have to do. You can view a live demo site of the singular page configuration here and download the actual project file here to copy the code or build your own single-page website from. The single-page effect makes use of Bootstrap Scroll Spy, so as you scroll down the page, the links change to indicate what section you are currently viewing. Plugins like PlusKit or the Global Content Stack can be used to merge multiple pages into a single page (please note that these plugins are an optional extra and not included with the purchase of the Tornado theme).

Print output

A lot of RapidWeaver themes fail really badly when it comes to printing; frequently resulting in horrible messy printouts which are as good as useless. Tornado includes special CSS code for printing. This code hides nonessential items like page navigation links. Complicated layouts like columns, sidebars and floats safely degrade to a single column. Easy-to-read font faces and colours are applied, together with extra features like displaying URL's after links (so people receiving a printout of your website can go back and visit the links later). It's these small details that can make a big difference to a website.

Other details

Tornado uses valid HTML5 markup; for the best possible performance on modern web browsers and excellent compatibility with a wide range of RapidWeaver addons. This theme has been tested and confirmed to work reliably in IE9, IE10, IE11, Edge and the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Yandex, Safari, Maxthon and Opera web browsers.

Work has been done in the theme to optimise page loading and reduce the overall bandwidth of pages. Internal theme components like stylesheets, Javascript and images have been optimised for the smallest possible file sizes. We call files like Javascript at the end of pages, so that your content loads first. This gives pages a fast and 'snappy' feel to them. jQuery Javascript code within the theme runs inside its own namespace and closure, to greatly reduce the risk of conflicts with other scripts added to pages.


The free trial version of Tornado can be downloaded using this link. There is no time limit imposed on the demo version, but page navigation links are disabled in the demo version. Watermarks may appear in parts of the page (like the banner or footer). Purchasing Tornado provides you with a licensed copy of Tornado; without any demo restrictions applied.

Clicking this link will take you to a sample website published using Tornado. This may give you a better insight into how this theme looks and behaves. If you're interested to see how the demo website was built, the same project file can be downloaded here and opened in RapidWeaver. Feel free to use this file as the basis for a new website.

If you have any other questions about Tornado, please don't hesitate to get touch.