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A goal of mine throughout the re-imagining and re-engineering of Foundry was to examine what each of the tools within Foundry, as well as its add-ons, provided users and see if those features could either be combined with other tools to make something greater, or if they could be split out into smaller, more modular one-use type tools to add greater flexibility.

"Sorry, Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower."

One example of combining tools would be the new Background tool. The thought was that there were several tools in Foundry 2 (and the add-ons) — Banner, Jumbotron and Backdrop — that were accomplishing very similar tasks, but each offered something slightly different in their feature set.

So I took these tools and re-worked their general feature sets to combine them into one: the Background tool. This isn't to say though these tools were just all mashed together though.

I was very thoughtful about their feature sets, and since everything was being completely re-written, I took this time to prune some features that weren't seeing much use as well as add quite a few more. Now with one tool you can build beautiful banners, stylish call-to-action sections, footer backgrounds, and much more!

This not only made one tool that could accomplish the task of several different tools, it also means that this new Background tool brings with it features from optional add-on packages right into Foundry itself. This also means you won't need to buy an additional pack of tools for those features.

Here's a sneak peek at the Background tool's Tutorial video:

"It takes a lot more than just fancy flying."

On the flip-side I also worked hard to split tools out into smaller, more modular tools where possible. This was an effort to make things more versatile and lightweight.

A prime example of this is the Spacing tool. In re-engineering Foundry I streamlined the code for each tool by making them "inline" Stacks addons through the Stacks API. This means the Stacks add-on won't add extra, superfluous code around each Foundry tool on the page. This not only improves speed and cuts down on DOM elements, but allows for more flexibility, too.

It also means that Stacks won't include code and controls for padding, margins, backgrounds, borders, etc, on every single element on the page. Thus we're only ever adding that extra Margins and Padding code in places we need and want it when we use the Spacing tool. Additionally this also helps to make Edit Mode slightly smoother and more lightweight as well.

Here's a look at the tutorial video for the Spacing tool:

"I feel the need, the need for speed."

In addition to giving Foundry users more options through a more modular, versatile workflow I also wanted to lighten Foundry up when it comes to its page loading. This has been done in a number of ways.

One improvement, and probably the biggest, is the removal of jQuery throughout. Previously Foundry 2 loaded jQuery in the Control Center for all of the Foundry tools.

Now in Foundry 3 there is only one out of 70+ tools that uses jQuery, and it isonly loaded it if that tool is on the page. Instead for all of the other tools I'm using vanilla javascript, and doing so more sparingly than before. This provides enormous improvements in page load time.

I've also included the ability to use modern, lightweight image formats such as WebP and SVG, in addition to all of the normal formats such as JPG, PNG, GIF, etc. This helps to decrease page load times greatly as well, which also helps with page load times.

"Every time we go up there, it's like you're flying with a ghost."

All of these things lead to faster, more efficient web pages for you and your visitors. Many search engines, like Google, say that they take the page speed into account for their indexing purposes. While we shouldn't be building our sites solely to do well for speed test sites like Lighthouse, it definitely does not hurt.

By incorporating elements like modern image formats, as well as removing jQuery from pages, you should see improvements in page load times.

"Remember boys, no points for second place."

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention that Foundry 3 does something else far faster than its predecessor that I think will be a welcome change — Foundry now downloads and installs updates much faster via the Stacks Updater. We've cut the overall size of the Foundry Stacks add-on in half. This means updates will both download and install faster when updating to the latest incremental versions from within Stacks.

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