It was recently announced that Brandon Kelly’s FieldFrame would be adopted for ExpressionEngine as a fieldtype API. Brandon was kind enough to sit down and talk with us about it.
When were you first approached about FieldFrame?
Late July. D’Jones sortof hinted at the possibility of implementing a fieldtype API into EE 2 in an email, and I got behind it right away. Fieldtype development has come a long way since the days of Mark Huot’s Checkboxes, et al., and has certainly proven itself to be a legitimate EE add-on type. FieldFrame does a good job abstracting all the nitty-gritty code that traditionally went into developing a fieldtype, but there are still issues that only a native fieldtype API can really solve.
The technical implementation of the fieldtype API is still forthcoming. Is there anything you’d like to see in it?
Just the basics: global settings (like extensions), field settings, and the actual field display within the Publish form. Field validation would also be nice – something I’ve been meaning to add to FieldFrame since the beginning, but never actually got around to.
I’m curious to see their solution for template tags. EE 2 add-ons will be delivered in a package format, where multiple types of add-ons can be bundled together into one big folder. So it should be possible to just bundle a plugin with your fieldtype without adding another step to the installation process. On the other hand, modules have built-in template tag functionality, so maybe it would make sense to make it a part of the fieldtype API as well.
What happens to the FieldFrame extension now?
Obviously it won’t be ported to EE 2. I’ll continue supporting it for EE 1.6, and release maintenance updates when needed, but I don’t see myself adding any new features to it.
Your addons are very popular, and in many cases now, a vital part of EE Development. When will we see the 2.0 versions?
I’m aiming to have Matrix and the rest of FieldFrame’s bundled fieldtypes ready for EE 2 on day one. Wygwam will be ready in January, Playa in April, and Gypsy in June.
At this time I’m not planning on porting Sarge, Snitch, or Editor. Sarge has already been replaced by FF Select (bundled with FieldFrame), Snitch will be discontinued, and I haven’t quite figured out what to do with Editor yet.
What do you think of 2.0 from a developer’s perspective?
I honestly haven’t had much time to play around with it yet, but it looks very promising! You’ll have to ask me again after I’ve finished porting everything over.
Can we expect to see anything built specifically for 2.0 in the future?
Of course. I’m going to reduce my involvement with EE 1.6 to supporting and maintaining existing add-ons; all new development will target EE 2. The hope is that other add-on developers will follow my lead here. The sooner we all get on board, the sooner EE 1.6 will become history!