Published by Mijingo

All articles filed under “Displaying Content”

Simpler URLs with a Single Template

One of the greatest strengths of ExpressionEngine is its flexibility, so it’s no surprise that there are usually multiple ways of accomplishing the same task. But as you continue to work more and more with EE, you sometimes find better ways of doing things, whether it’s getting something done more efficiently or with less code (or hey, maybe both!).

A good place to start when you’re new has always been with the optional Agile Records site that can be set up with a new installation. EllisLab put together the channels, custom fields and templates in there to help beginners understand how EE works and allow them to become familiar with the template language. But like anything else, you need to be able to run before you can walk, so while the Agile Records site is great for starters and allows you to build a quite capable EE site, there’s certainly room for optimization.

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Simplifying How Content Works

When building a website it’s easy to get focused on the stuff that’s under the hood. You want to minimize database queries and find smart ways to use your markup and styles. Those things are absolutely important, but what’s also important is to make sure the site makes sense for those running it. With this article, I’m going to dive into one way to simplify how content works in ExpressionEngine by expanding the use of the Pages module to contain not just static content on a site, but a centralized hub for all those other bits of content that one might need to edit.

When I first started using the Pages module, I looked at it as a handy way to gather “static” pages in their own separate area in the Control Panel. This was an excellent solution for About pages, Privacy Policies and the like. The Pages module filled a gaping hole in how ExpressionEngine works.

Then I started using it for some slightly more non-traditional ways and the usefulness of the Pages module for me elevated to a new level.

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Password Protected Content Made Simple

Every so often I come across a project where part of the spec involves a private area of content accessible via a password. ExpressionEngine gives us a number of ways to protect content out of the box.

One of the basic approaches is to restrict content to member groups thus requiring a member account for each person. If your content is not member-specific another approach is to create a generic user account and supply each individual with the username and password with which to log in.

Each approach would work in numerous scenarios. However, today I want to look at how we can utilize weblogs on a very basic level to manage password protected content very easily. Our goal is to result in a process that uses default EE functionality and that the “average client” can manage with little difficulty or confusion.

We will be using a single weblog to manage the password-protected content. The type of content is irrelevant at this point so let’s focus on how we can achieve this.

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Creating Aside Content

Say you’re building a site for a small business with the following sections: Home, News, About Us and Contact. Each of these sections contains its own static content, blog or a combination of both. But each section also contains so-called “aside” content, with things like quotes, testimonials, call to actions and so on. Aside content is so ubiquitous nowadays, HTML5 has even given it its own HTML tag!

But how do you manage aside content in ExpressionEngine? Here’s one way of doing it using categories and the Low Seg2Cat extension.

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