Many clients and developers ask us: “why ExpressionEngine?” Let’s crack open the hood and talk about why it’s our platform of choice.
This is the first of two articles explaining why we’ve standardized on EllisLab technologies.
Since standardizing on ExpressionEngine last year we’ve fielded questions from both clients and developers wanting to know, “why ExpressionEngine?” Well, I’m going to lay it all out there for you, so strap yourself in.
ExpressionEngine (EE) is the flagship product of EllisLab, the cool cats also responsible for the CodeIgniter PHP framework (CI) and EngineHosting. It’s a full-featured, infinitely flexible Content Management System (CMS) that makes both clients and developers bow down before its awesomeness.
I’m going to divide the class into two groups. You must choose, but choose wisely:
What makes ExpressionEngine different from other, similar products, like WordPress?
EE nails the killer CMS app: managing content! It’s really amazing how difficult it is to create and edit content in some CMSs. This is where EE shines. Creating and editing your content is a snap. With just two clicks you’re typing a new entry. With one more it’s saved and published. Done.
It can be configured to store any kind of information you want to publish. Need to publish recipes? Piece of cake. Book reviews? Order up! Your firm’s portfolio? Piping hot and coming right up.
If that’s not enough, EE has an overwhelming array of additional features: users, groups, member management, forums, newsletters, simple ecommerce through PayPal, and lots more.
As for WordPress, it’s a blogging platform whose goal is to make publishing a blog as simple as possible, and it succeeds wildly at doing so. However, it’s not a full-fledged CMS. In short: if you need a blog, WordPress is great. If you need to manage a site whose content doesn’t fit into a blog-shaped mold, EE might just be for you.
EE is designed to power any kind of site you can throw at it. We haven’t received any complaints from our clients and we bet you’ll love it too.
Why should I spend my hard-earned greenbacks on a CMS when there are free options?
Because you get what you pay for.
EllisLab’s bread and butter is EE. If you’re not happy, they’re not bringing home the bacon. Everyone at EllisLab is incredibly passionate about EE and they work tirelessly to make it better. And because they’re paid to do it, you can be guaranteed your questions and issues, rare though they’ll be, will be answered promptly.
EllisLab has also built a vibrant and active community around EE — currently 52,000 members and counting. The community’s open and friendly — you’ll often never need to speak directly with EllisLab about an issue because the members are so helpful and knowledgeable. Plus, with such a large community, you can rest easy knowing there’s a large pool of EE-experienced designers and developers you can tap when you need someone to work on your project.
I need my site to do ______. Can ExpressionEngine handle it?
EE comes out-of-the-box with a ridiculous amount of features, but if you need something extra, you’re covered. EE features a sophisticated add-on architecture that allows for the creation of just about any kind of functionality. The EE development community has already created more than 135 add-ons, and if you have an itch one of the existing add-ons doesn’t scratch, just ask in the forumsor the EE job board.
If you have an existing developer or development staff, they’ll love EE’s flexibility and robustness as a programming platform. Plus, with the announcement of EE2.0’s integration with CodeIgniter your developers need only learn one technology to work with your EE site, EE add-ons, and custom applications. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.
What makes ExpressionEngine different from other CMSs?
EE lets you store any type of data you wish. For each data type, you can create as many custom fields as you want — text inputs, text areas, select drop-downs, date/time fields. No more shoehorning round content into a CMS’s rigid, square holes — simply create the fields you need and go.
EE also works right away with your existing code. You create EE templates by simply adding some special EE tags to your usual HTML. The EE templating language is one of the best — simple, robust and powerful. You won’t feel shackled by limitations; rather, you’ll feel empowered and wonder why it hasn’t always been so easy.
Why should I invest time in learning another technology when I already know ______?
EE is very much akin to an application framework. It provides you a simple yet robust template language and says, “Have at it!” It doesn’t impose a rigid structure on your templates; rather, it provides the tools you need and then gets out of your way. It truly makes the process of CMS integration a pleasure.
To make the deal even sweeter, EllisLab recently announced thatEE2.0 will be powered by CodeIgniter. This means you can learn one technology and have the skills to develop EE sites, create EE add-ons, and write your own custom applications. Even better, if you’re a CI developer, simply drop EE2.0 onto your CI app and you’ve added all the power of EE to your custom app, with no fuss. How cool is that?
Once you experience how easy and enjoyable to work with EE is you’ll never want to use another CMS. Seriously.
I’m developing a site that needs to do ______. Can ExpressionEngine do it?
Sure — just tell it how. EE is an object-oriented MVC-ish platform and features a robust add-on development environment. If you’ve done any work with CodeIgniter you’ll feel right at home: CodeIgniter’s bulk was extracted from EE. Now, with EE2.0 being a full-bore CI app your CI skills can be immediately put to use crafting EE add-ons. With one toolset you can now
We’ve even saved the best for last: it’s well documented. That’s all I need to say about that.
Hopefully I’ve given you some insight into why we love EE so much and why you, as a client or developer, will love it too. Stay tuned for part two: Why CodeIgniter?
Tony was the proud owner of OnWired, the web design agency he’s raised since birth in 2001. A designer-entrepreneur with a nose for trouble, he keeps his peeps on their toes and his sights focused on what’s next.
Since 2001, OnWired has delivered beautiful websites that make your business known. Don’t be shy, check out our work.
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