This is the celebrated journal of Mr. Simon Collison A.K.A Colly

EE 1.4 and FREE Core Released

19th December 2005

My beloved Expression Engine - the world’s greatest CMS (it’s unfair to call it a blogging tool) - now has a FREE version, called Expression Engine Core. Whilst this free version admittedly isn’t quite as feature rich as the full version, it has to be said there are now no excuses for not giving it a whirl. And that’s not all…

As for the full version, the EE team have just released version 1.4, which has a million new features to the already polished system specifically aimed at professional web development, essentially making this tool more important to me than anything else I use. The EE team have knocked a third off the personal license (now just $99), and are still giving licensed users the best customer support I have ever experienced.

If you’ve never tried EE, do at least give EE Core a go, but trust me, if you build professional websites, you’ll soon want to upgrade to the full version. If you’d rather wait, the Blog Design Solutions book will be out in February, featuring my chapter all about EE, which will get you rolling in no time.

I’ve said it before, as have other great EE users (see Mark Boulton, 31Three and Lea), EE takes some getting used to. Still, once you get the hang of it, you wonder how you ever lived without it. Basically, with EE I can answer ANY client demands instantly. Now that’s power. Two years in, and I’ve never looked back.

There are quite few new CMS tools coming out at the moment, but believe me, many are taking ther inspiration from EE, but falling short of emulating it’s common sense approach and reliability. I know because I still evaluate most new tools that appear. Get on over to the EE site and check out the feature list. You won’t regret it.

Responses

# Lea responded on 19th December 2005 with...

Yes, it’s almost unfortunate that I can’t speak about ExpressionEngine without sounding like some horrible fangirl. :-)

I do remember an initial learning curve that I was slightly intimidated with, and part of that is because of being used to other blog software, but once I got it, it really is the closest thing to amazing. It’s not perfect, but it’s up there. :-D

I’m a designer first and foremost, and I don’t really want to get into the nitty gritty of programming anything; but EE makes it simple for me to integrate a million and one things out of the box without having to hire another programmer and of course, make it easier for me to say “yes, I can do that for you.”

Also, a lot of blog software communities like to say that probably their biggest strength is their own community because it’s so large (like MT, WP), and while EE’s community isn’t as sprawling as theirs, it’s still ridiculously active and very responsive. I remember a member made a plug-in for me within 24 hours of me requesting it. I now use it in a client site.

I also find that their documentation is very thorough, as is their wiki, and their forums. Their customer service is also top notch. Hey, I’ve even had Rick Ellis, their CEO, e-mail me personally. Can’t get better than that.

# Martin Smith responded on 19th December 2005 with...

!!!....  are they paying you?  I was half expecting the really quick disclaimer text at the end of the post.  ;-)  EE has had me curious for a while, core just might tip me into experimentation.

# Daniel Oliver responded on 19th December 2005 with...

I’m launching a new version of my site in the new year and that is powered by Expression Engine. I have fallen in love with it over the past few months. It’s allowed me to take on numerous new projects that before hand I would have had to turn down, not really being a back end developer.

This is now my CMS of choice for clients and I am doing some excitting new projects with it right now. I would recommend people to give the core version a go as it is free and there are still a decent amount of features included. The speed in which you can develop sites is another thing worth mentioning.

I was lucky I had Steve Sharpe holding my hand when I first jumped onto the band wagon, otherwise I wouldn’t have given it a second look. There is much more there the meets the eye with EE and I two would recommend it to anyone.

# Simon Collison responded on 19th December 2005 with...

Martin: Ha. No - they’re not paying me. Think of this post as early book promotion for BLOG DESIGN SOLUTIONS...

Daniel: “Love” eh? It’s a beautiful thing…

# Mike Stenhouse responded on 19th December 2005 with...

Colly, I don’t think I ever properly thanked you for letting me read your chapter for that book. There are loads of things in EE that really don’t make sense to me and I’d never have figured out on my own. Thanks, I owe ya!

Have they added better conditionals to 1.4? I ended up hacking in with PHP blocks combined with EE tokens to get decent if…then…else.

I’ve definitely warmed to EE - it does seem incredibly powerful, but they really need to sort out that admin interface. It feels like at least some of it has been driven by technical issues instead of user experience. Where are categories again? I have to go searching for it EVERY time.

# Simon Clayson responded on 19th December 2005 with...

I’m about to make the plunge myself. As good as it is, I’ve taken Movable Type as far as I could on a recent project. The amount of templates and plugins employed, I could have just hard-coded the lot and be done with it. We’ll see what 2006 brings.

# allgood2 responded on 20th December 2005 with...

I love EE. And EE 1.4 rocks. I was lucky enough to beta, and boy was it hard not to get online and say how great this or that new feature is.

I consider EE a major tool in my web solutions arsenal. Forget training, clients how to do FTP or use Dreamweaver. I now just start most of my clients off with EE. I always feel effusive when reading about it. I feel like Lea, EE joins the list of technologies, I’m willing to fawn over, and that includes€my PowerBook G4, my iPod nano, iMovie, iTunes, FileMaker, BBEdit, and Delicious Library (note the number of Apple products).

It really is a great tool. While it may not be perfect for every job, its a swiss army knife for 75%-85% of the jobs I get.

# 0103media responded on 21st December 2005 with...

I’m a EE virgin and looking forward to having a play with it over xmas. wish me luck.. :D

# Nick Tatt responded on 24th December 2005 with...

We’ve just used EE for the first time on one project and I have to say that I can see us using it more and more.

I think one of its greatest assets is the flexibility it offers, in particular for non-techinical clients to use. Having used several CMS/blogging tools this was one of the simplest to pick up from scratch and get to do what we wanted.

I’m looking forward to the next project that needs it.

# dm12dm responded on 29th December 2005 with...

I have been developing in php for a few years now. For each project I have done I have created particular cms tailored to each application, thinking that there is no cms system that gives me the control that I need..but I think I am gonna look into EE and see if it can save me some time.

# ysbl responded on 7th January 2006 with...

free you say??

well I just might have to try it out now…wish me luck.

# Marilyn Langfeld responded on 8th January 2006 with...

Does EE allow liquid design, or fixed width only? And what do you do for a client that needs a shopping cart? I don’t believe there’s a shopping cart available.

I’m going to try out the Core, to see how it goes, but do hace these other questions.

# Simon Collison responded on 8th January 2006 with...

Marilyn: Any design you like! The templates are created in the admin panel, but they are just the same as any HTML file, so they have a head, a body, and you link to CSS files you create there too. Absolutely NO restrictions whatsoever.

I believe that they are testing an eCommerce module at the moment, but not sure when that will be released.

# Marilyn Langfeld responded on 8th January 2006 with...

Thanks for your reply. I’m downloading the Core right now, to try it out!

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