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Ask the Readers: Your EE 2012 Wishlist

Ask the Readers We’re nearly a week into the new year and it’s already been a little crazy. I’m just now thinking about my ideas for ExpressionEngine in 2012.

The last two years have been pretty big for ExpressionEngine: EE 2.0 beta, EE 2.1, all of the problems in between, and then the big EE 2.2 and 2.3 releases. There’s certainly a lot to be happy about and all of us probably wish for something else.

I am not into predictions but I do have wishes. And I certainly have wishes for ExpressionEngine. But I’m just one person. You, dear readers, are multiple persons. What’s on your mind?

What do you want to see from ExpressionEngine in 2012?

Posted on Jan 06, 2012 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Ask the Readers

David21:05 on 01.06.2012

I want to see a better forum module that is easier to customize.

Ryan Irelan21:14 on 01.06.2012

David, are you using some else as an alternative until you see changes in the EE Forums module?

Carlo Laitano21:52 on 01.06.2012

My first and most important wish: Member/Profile/Message/Error templates with the same template engine as everything else. I know everyone is on board with me on this one.

Paul04:42 on 01.07.2012

I’d particularly like to see improvements to the Safecracker module. I have to make a number of modifications to get it to perform what should be simple tasks - custom/multi-language error messages, individual output checkboxes and radio buttons, etc.

Boyink07:50 on 01.07.2012

If I had to choose one thing?  The upgrade process.  EE2 takes 3x as long to upgrade as EE1 did.

Yannick09:41 on 01.07.2012

iPhone/iPad apps for posting on EE.
Revamp posting form.
New wisiwig like Wordpress.

Wordpress 3.2 is realy user frendly and it’s a referance.

Brian09:58 on 01.07.2012

Boyink, I’ve found 2.x easier to update as long a third_party and config folders are symlinked outside of the system folder. What part about the upgrade do you see that takrs longer? But heather upgrade wizard has been very flaky for me, especially when using a custom config file.

Rob10:11 on 01.07.2012

Here’s hoping for improved category custom fields and category file custom field type!

A wider range of member custom fields would be really good as well, and if member templates could be integrated into the normal tagging system that would make my day.

Jorix11:37 on 01.07.2012

I would like to see at least one developer at EllisLab thinking about EE 3.x. A fresh start with less add-on dependency in mind. A smaller code base, less bagage.

Boyink16:00 on 01.07.2012

Following the upgrade instructions to the letter for EE1 vs. EE2 is what I’m talking about - for those of us not advanced enough to know how to work with symlinks..wink  Is that part of a version-controlled upgrade process?  That’s great for the advanced folks (and learning that is part of the reason for me my Windows to Mac move) but the upgrade process should just be simpler overall.  EE1 didn’t have you downloading the entire site first - that’s a major part of it since the EE2 codebase is so much bigger.

Jorix - I’ve heard some EL folks mention EE3 in passing, but would be amazed if it were a complete do-over.  That killed them on getting from EE1 to EE2.

Spamschlucker17:06 on 01.07.2012

one-click-upgrade-process!! i HATE upgrading ee2, it’s a big uploading-orgy and shivering if all addons will work afterwards.


Ben Seigel17:28 on 01.07.2012

* Make Zenbu an integral part of EE2.
* Automated upgrade process.

Gary19:49 on 01.07.2012

Kinda small, but it would be nice if you could upload files directly to an upload directory and have them display in the manager instead of having the manager only display those files that were actually uploaded thru EE.

Oh, also a 1 click upgrade.

Spamschlucker19:54 on 01.07.2012

I forgot:
I am using Assets as filemanager, this works to complete satisfaction.

but hey: a professional system like EE should have a good integrated filemanager itself. even the s9y (serendipity)-filemanager is better!

Brett22:44 on 01.07.2012

1. 1-click update process for both EE and its plugins (like WordPress)
2. Consolidate the publish date/time tabs and the categories tab onto the main edit tab
3. Option to force password resets for all users at a given interval (e.g. Quarterly, monthly, annually, etc.)
4. Option to disable persistent cookies set by EE
5. Continue the hard work each of you do every day to make this already amazing product amazing-er

Brendon Carr22:48 on 01.07.2012

Here’s my feature request: EllisLab absolutely must move more quickly at incorporating feature requests into ExpressionEngine. Ryan says the request for an automated update process is the clear leader among his 2012 feature requests. True dat. But it was also a clear leader among the 2008 feature requests. Yes, FOUR years ago it was clear this was necessary, and still EllisLab hasn’t acted.

I’m really curious to know who is the obstacle to progress over there. There clearly has been a problem. From my perspective, despite tentative, small moves toward the light, it appears there is still a problem.

Yes, the product was far, far ahead of the pack in 2006, and remains very strong six years later. But essentially, six years later, there hasn’t been very much development progress.

Bj05:41 on 01.08.2012

A completely rewritten template parser which provide reliable results (less WTFs!) - ie. a proper parser not a regexp search/replace solution like it is today—and drop the whole advanced/simple conditionals pita. For backwards compatibility this could be a setting in the backend where the user chould choose the template engine (same set of tags ofc). Yeah I know, never going to happen but this was a wishlist right? grin

Also, all custom fields everywhere. All fieldtypes should be available for channels, categories, members, etc.

Boyink07:27 on 01.08.2012

Gary - you are aware of the synchronize files option?  Upload files at the file leve, come back into EE, do a sync files for that directory and they should show. Yes, it’d be nice to happen automatically but at least this lets you do a big load of images etc for clients.

Brett - have you looked at customizing the Publish Page Layout to get the categories and date fields onto the main publish tab?

Brett07:42 on 01.08.2012

Whoa! I didn’t realize the publish page layout could be customized! Can you point me to a tutorial? That’d be worth taking a look at. Thanks!

Boyink07:44 on 01.08.2012



Gary10:25 on 01.08.2012

I was not aware of that, thanks Boyink.

I’d like to add that it would be nice if channel fields were available to reuse across multiple channel field groups similar to the Gypsy extension.

Robson Sobral13:17 on 01.08.2012

Incorporate some simple funtions. Some of them, already available on plugins:

- switch/case to templates;
- update notifier to plugins;
- search using GET;
- move all the plugins files to the same folder outside EE system folder;
- new fieldtypes, like URL;
- set custom RegEx to validate fields;
- image resize on demand, not on upload, so we can backup just the original image files;
- move SafeCracker outside the third_party folder;

And something really hard:

- more than one url-title per entry, for multi-language sites;
- entry required fields by status, so the user can save a draft with blank required fields;

Erwin Heiser14:26 on 01.08.2012

- An easier way to upgrade EE installs smile (WP has got EE beat in this department).
- Improved publish layouts, it’s one of the unsung killer features of EE but its current implementation is incomplete and very buggy.
- Have to agree with Carlo: Member/Profile/Message/Error templates with the same template engine as everything else. I know there are good third party solutions, but this really should be core.
- Faster follow-up of feature requests, some of them have literally taken years to implement. Image upload for category images anyone? smile
- PLEASE don’t wait to improve the current control panel before launching EE3.

Spamschlucker14:31 on 01.08.2012

NO EE3 in the next 2 years.

Everybody here is talking about EE3. Firefox was 3.6 in the beginning of 2011, now it’s v9. Every two weeks there is a bigger update, I install it and all addons get broken.

So please, Ellislab, don’t start to go for EE3 and EE4 because the people feel good if they have a new name.

Laisvunas03:19 on 01.09.2012

My biggest wish for 2012 is that EL will finally listen to requests of developers to return the lost hooks and introduce the new hooks. Most of such requests are very easy to implement: the hook consists just in couple lines of code.

Perhaps the worst thing in EE2 CP was removal of all hooks allowing to add columns to Edit Entries list table. I mean edit_entries_additional_celldata, edit_entries_additional_tableheader hooks. There were other hooks allowing modify edit entries list which also gone: edit_entries_decode_date, edit_entries_extra_actions, edit_entries_modify_tableheader, edit_entries_modify_tablerow, edit_entries_search_fields, edit_entries_search_form, edit_entries_search_tables, edit_entries_search_where. Using those hooks it was possible to add additional selectboxes in the edit entries search form. There were in EE1 popular add-ons as Filter By Author and Filter By Sticky I published extension Filter By Comments and Filter By Edit Date Now all those add-ons are unportable to EE2 because of the lack of hooks. Instead of flexibility we now have on Edit Entries list page unneeded ajaxy whiz-bang.

Tom Stoecklein04:31 on 01.09.2012

I’d probably kill for a change to the license agreement that allows us to release altered versions of the admin cp. We’ve done some things internally that really make a world of difference (even compared to Leevi Graham’s Morphine + Override.css combo, which was the inspiration for our initial toying) that we’d love to develop further if we knew we could release them to the community.

Heck, if EllisLab were interested, we’d even assign the rights over to them. Maybe I’ll polish some things up and release some screenshots to get people excited (at least, that’d be the plan).

Beyond that, I’ll second Bj

Nick Benson12:10 on 01.09.2012

Fixing publish layouts so they work reliably (so you don’t have to reset whenever you add/remove a channel field) would be dandy.

How about an “enable” parameter for the channel:entries tag, which mirrors the functionality of the current “disable” parameter?

Jim Wyse12:13 on 01.09.2012

Find a way to get rid of the site_pages array (especially with Structure!!!). There has to be a better way.

Ronny12:34 on 01.09.2012

I would really, really, really love true multi language support, that is not “hacked”.

Ryan Irelan16:08 on 01.09.2012

Thanks everyone for the great feedback and suggestions. I know the team at EllisLab follows along, so they’ve probably read all of this. A huge, huge thank you for keeping it (mostly) constructive and positive.

This isn’t the end of the thread…if you have more, please add it in here.

Marcus Neto16:26 on 01.09.2012

Keep it coming.

Tom, can you email me at would love to talk to you about your CP changes.

J16:39 on 01.09.2012

Managed to boil it down to wishes

- Member/Profile/Message/Error templates working with the same template engine as everything else (adding my voice to Carlo’s and Erwin’s here)
- Fix conditionals to make them work in all cases (regexp parsing is no good in some situations) and parse early (adapt/integrate Mark Croxton’s if/else and switchee?). Bj

Noah Stokes18:04 on 01.09.2012

I would like to see a way to manage multiple instances of EE across several environments. Localhost to staging to production. If EE could track all my local changes (new custom fields, new settings) and allow me to run a script to “push” those to my Staging environment and then Production, that would be an incredibly powerful too.

In nearly all of our client situations, the production database is not in sync with our local in terms of user input/content/copy/etc so we can’t simply do a db dump when we do major feature additions.

Seamus Holman18:25 on 01.09.2012

1. Better CP homepage. Maybe a dynamic publish form and simplified edit content table view right on the homepage. As is, I barely use it for anything other than the nav.
2. Drop-down menus that are harder to lose focus on.
3. Template manager with fixed position update/preference buttons.
4. Consolidation of options under admin.
5. One single Add-On page to browse all installed add-ons and show if updates are available.
6. “Accessible” CP theme with better contrast, larger type.

Also, what Spamschlucker and Noah said.

Tyler Herman18:32 on 01.09.2012

I’d like to see the system become more friendly for end users.

Make Global Variables editable from the front-end (i.e. MojoMotor). There is currently no simple way to let clients edit little bits of information that may be strewn throughout a website.

Improved file upload with built in file search and support for non image file types (word, pdf, excel, powerpoint) all in one common upload feature.

Easier way for clients to link to internal pages within a textarea field.

Built in WYSIWYG that doesn’t suck (Wordpress is not too shabby)

A way for clients to deal with navigation/breadcrumbs/pages without relying on several paid add-ons. This is a common features of most CMSes.

Easier ways to tweak and fine-tune the control panel to remove things the client doesn’t need to see.

Florian Schroiff18:36 on 01.09.2012

It was mentioned earlier: More stable and reliable publish layouts.
It would also be great if I could export publish layouts as a file and reuse them elsewhere. I use them constantly, especially with multi-language setups.

Andrew Gunstone18:54 on 01.09.2012

I’m not going to repeat the same as everyone else… although I’d like to do a +1 on almost all the requests above.

I’d like to see some really really really simple changes to the CP that quite honestly should be able to be done in the next release.  These are no brainers… but seem to have slipped through the cracks:

1. On the Content -> Edit menu, add the channel drop-down list like on the Content -> Publish menu. Why we still have to use an Extension such as BN Edit Menu to create this functionality is beyond me.

2. Make labeling consistent throughout the CP.  In the top menu we refer to creating a new entry as “Publish”, yet on the CP home page it is called “Create”!!  Same with “Edit” in the menu, but “Modify” on the CP home page.  This sort of inconsistency happens all through the CP… including with icons (ie a trash can is used to delete in some places, and the word “Delete” in others!

3. Better (more consistent) breadcrumbs throughout the CP.

4. This is a small one… but something that does bug me (sorry but it is a wishlist!! ha ha)... I’d like to see an “Register new member” button on the “View All Members” page.

5. A *native* method of saying where you want to send the user after they save an entry.  There are currently a few add-ons that do this, but like point 1 above, this shouldn’t require an extra add-on to provide REALLY basic functionality (I won’t open up the WYSIWYG debate here! ha ha).

I think that something we really need to remember this year is that the EE CP isn’t really for us developers… we already know how to use it, where to find things, etc… it is for our clients who are generally not tech savvy, and can’t ‘guess’ at where or how to do things.  I think that my biggest wish for 2012 is that the CP is natively improved (ie without the use of additional add-ons), and aimed at our end users/clients, and that we give them the best experience possible.


Bryan Garrant19:39 on 01.09.2012

1. I would like to see a built in WYSIWYG editor in EE.
2. A email results function for SafeCracker would be a big help as well.
3. I am hoping the EE quality assurance team starts testing EE more thoroughly in a Windows hosting environment. There seems to still be a few issues with path slash direction that crop up once in a while.

Jamie Poitra19:45 on 01.09.2012

Just a few as I’ve not spent enough time with EE2 yet to be fully versed in the nitpicking:

1. Massively improved/simplified update process for existing installs of EE2 from version to version.
2. Return of many of the great hooks that were available in EE1 and seem to have disappeared in EE2.
3. Some additional hooks at the template rendering level (i.e. BEFORE template rendering starts and AFTER it’s finished as well).
4. I find some of the CP interface changes nice.  Others I find incredibly obtuse.  Either way it needs work still.  I know EllisLab recently hired someone who I believe was intended to focus on that aspect of EE.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results.