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ExpressionEngine 2 Week: Interview with Brandon Kelly

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 Sarge has already been replaced by FF Select (bundled with FieldFrame), Snitch will be discontinued, and I haven’t quite figured out what to do with Editor yet.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!

Posted on Oct 27, 2009 by Kenny Meyers

Filed Under: ExpressionEngine 2 Week

Wes10:20 on 10.27.2009

“The sooner we all get on board, the sooner EE 1.6 will become history!”

I agree with Brandon. I think that as developers, we are often too accommodating to the late adapters and it really hurts our industry as a whole.

If we continue to cater to the late adapter needs, we are punishing the early adapters and the normal adapters (? for lack of a better term) and the late adapters have no reason to adapt at all. We need to let natural selection take place. People need to change or get left behind.

The sooner we all move past 1.6.x, the better it will be not only for us, but for 2.0 in general. Unfortunately, I probably can’t move on myself without playa.

Jack Brighton10:29 on 10.27.2009

Just a comment on the Editor extension. It’s really needed! As someone who supports users in both the EE and the Drupal world, I see users prefer to just hit that Edit button on the page/item they want to edit. Navigating thru the CP to get there is more than some people can easily manage. Drupal does this but EE doesn’t natively. As someone who loves EE, I wish it would but an extension is just as good.

Luke Dorny10:38 on 10.27.2009

Heh, good points and I don’t disagree about progress. Was just poking fun I guess. 

About Editor, it seems like such a feature should be native to any CMS, but adding a logged-in tag pair inside an H2 or what have you isn’t very difficult either for such a maleable engine as EE. Meaning, the power is there, but that’s odd that EE mostly needs upwards of 15-20 add-ons to truly kick the jams, so to speak.

John Faulds11:52 on 10.27.2009

Gypsy not being ported to June - I may have to wait before taking up 2.0.

Paul Frost13:10 on 10.27.2009

I only recently got into Gypsy fields, but would not want to be without them now.
It will be a major block to upgrading to 2.0.

Jim14:24 on 10.27.2009

Hmmm - I was really looking forward to upgrading to 2.0 but there is no way I can do it without Playa and Gypsy.  Dangit, that just added 5 months to my wait time, wah wahhhh.

Robin07:47 on 11.07.2009

No Gypsy till June! Damn there goes my development plans. Gypsy is the most essential add-on to date.

mirkob16:52 on 11.11.2009

I just discovered the amazing Gipsy! But I want EE2.. Gipsy or EE2: that is the question…

negs11:14 on 12.28.2009

Oh Wow Playa in April, eh? I was just about to update but I think I have to hold off - don’t want to use EE without Playa.

Luke Hardiman03:53 on 01.14.2010

This schedule of yours is turning me into a late adopter Brandon. I need Playa, without it I’m an EE 1.6 guy.

Luke Hardiman03:54 on 01.14.2010

By the way, will you be ditching the serialized data approach for the EE 2 version of Playa?