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ExpressionEngine Conference 2016

The latest installment of the ExpressionEngine Conference takes place October 2-4, 2016 in Detroit, MI.

The schedule is packed full of talks on how to better work with ExpressionEngine and in your business.

Early bird registration is before September 1st and you’ll save $50 off the two day admission.

Posted on Aug 29, 2016 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, Conferences

Ryan Talking CMSes on A List Apart: On Air

This coming Tuesday, August 25, 2015, I’ll be live as part of the ALA: On Air online event series. This event will cover CMSes; learn what we’re excited about, what we love, what drives us crazy, and some things we’ve learned along the way.

CMSes help and hinder; they inspire rapture and incite table-flipping. I’m thrilled to moderate the next ALA: On Air event, where Karen McGrane, Jeff Eaton, and Ryan Irelan will join me to discuss what they love about working in CMSes (administrative UX!), what drives them to frustration (decoupling!), and what meaty problems (integration with design systems!) they hope to dive into next.

The event will stream online (via Google Hangouts) and is completely, 100% free.

Learn more about the On Air event and then register for the event.

See you there!

Posted on Aug 23, 2015 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, Conferences

Anecka: Get Help With Abandoned Add-ons

In what looks to be a useful service offering (and a clever differentiation strategy), Columbus, Ohio-based Anecka is offering a flat price to upgrade an abandoned add-on that you rely on.

There are a lot of add-ons we all rely on and sometimes (okay, far too often) they are stuck in the past. They’re not updated and no longer work well (or at all) with newer version of ExpressionEngine. This is especially true after ExpressionEngine 2.8, which made add-on breaking changes.

This puts ExpressionEngine developers/designers who want to upgrade to the latest version of ExpressionEngine in a tough spot as replacing these add-ons can be an expensive and time-consuming process.

Anecka wants to help you update those old, abandoned add-ons so you can keep moving forward with your project.

(The broader lesson here is: choose your add-ons wisely.)

Posted on Jan 05, 2015 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, Development Tools, ExpressionEngine 2

ExpressionEngine on CMS Chronicles Podcast

Over at Mijingo I started a limited run podcast covering web content management systems and the people that use them. It’s called CMS Chronicles.

I recently released an episode on ExpressionEngine. I had two separate conversations with two veterans of the EE community: Matt Weinberg of Vector Media Group, and Anna Brown of Media Girl, Inc.

During the conversations we covered some basics about ExpressionEngine and how they each use it and have used it to do client work and grow their businesses.

Give it a listen and subscribe to get all future episodes.

Posted on Aug 22, 2014 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community

ExpressionEngine Demo Videos

Marcus Neto of Blue Fish Design Studio has a YouTube Channel with demos of websites built on ExpressionEngine.

There’s also a demo of ExpressionEngine 2.9 (the latest version as of this post) and one of how they built a business directory in EE.

Idea: a community channel of video walk-thrus of websites/features you built on ExpressionEngine.

Posted on Jul 29, 2014 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, ExpressionEngine 2

Boyink on Binh

Or is it Binh on Boyink?

Either way, earlier in June Mike Boyink and his family were featured on the Tom Binh blog about their traveling RV lifestyle.

The Boyinks downsized and began a year-long odyssey traveling the country, towing a fifth wheel. Within that first year, they decided to sell their house and make the road their home for the foreseeable future. The family has chronicled their path to full-time travel on their blog, which they author collaboratively.

This is a great read for the lessons learned and how a shift in perspective (and environment) can help you realize what you really need.

It’s a huge paradigm shift. We are so ingrained in a consumer culture that when you try to remove that goal of stuff ownership people don’t know what to do.

Mike maintains his EE consulting work and training business while on the road.

Bookmark or read the entire interview with Mike.

Posted on Jul 07, 2014 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community

Matt Weinberg on SSL and Cookies

Matt Weinberg (Vector Media Group), who gave a great talk a few years ago on e-commerce and PCI compliance at EECI in San Francisco, chimes in on the EE StackExchange about variable SSL and cookies.

The full set of cookies for matching domains is transmitted by the browser with each page request to that domain, even if the original cookies were set using HTTPS/SSL and the current page is HTTP.

One way around this is by setting the “secure” flag on cookies you set. Any cookies set with the “secure” flag will only get transmitted by browsers when connecting to HTTPS pages.

Read the entire thread on StackExchange

Posted on Jul 02, 2014 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, Stack Exchange, E-commerce

EE StackExchange & Alfred 1

This is only useful to the subset of ya’ll who use Alfred 2, a nice quick launcher utility for OS X.

It’s an Alfred workflow that makes it easy to search EE StackExchange and find what you need (hopefully a solution to a problem!).

The workflow was created by EllisLab and shared on their blog.

While we’re talking about EE StackExchange. If you have a moment, hop over to the site and answer any questions you can!

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, Development Tools

What They’re Saying About EE - Special Edition

This is a on-going series of entries where I highlight EE experiences.

A special edition of WTSAEE in honor of long time community member Sue Crocker, who passed away two days ago. She made an impression on a lot of people for her gentle, patient help online and off.

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community

Brad Parscale on Solspace Podcast

Mitchell Kimbrough has been doing an informal podcast with some of people in the EE community. He started with a conversation with Matt Weinberg of Vector Media Group and then continued on with a few more.

The most recent show, a one-hour conversation with Brad Parscale of Giles-Parscale and the operator of the ExpressionEngine Conference in Portland this year, is a favorite of mine. If you attended EECI last Fall here in Texas then you probably saw Brad give his excellent talk on how he runs his business. This podcast with Mitchell is a conversational version of that talk plus more. It’s a nice look into how Brad sets himself up to succeed with ExpressionEngine.

Brad Parscale and I talk at length in this podcast about his acquisition of EECI, the ExpressionEngine ® conference. Listen as he schools me on staffing, business strategy, finding ways to make more money, and most interestingly, avoiding hardcore software development work as a way to avoid losing money.

This is a must-listen for everyone trying to do business with and around ExpressionEngine.

Listen to the conversation.

Posted on May 31, 2013 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, Conferences, Life as a Web Professional

When Relationships Get Complicated

Something is going on over at EllisLab. It’s obvious that they’re excited about the upcoming release of EE 2.6. The usually quiet, introverted company has been proudly touting their release and confidently sharing through updates on their website.

There are have been a handful of small announcements recently about EE 2.6 and its new features. There’s one big new feature that I thought they would hold out until EE 2.6 was ready to launch, but they couldn’t keep it a secret.

Last week EllisLab announced that EE 2.6 will have a new relationship field that supports multi-relationships field.

Today the update is available for everyone.

Relatedly Speaking

The new native multi-relationship field is a little like Playa by Pixel & Tonic; there are two panes and you can add related entries by clicking them in the left and they appear on the right.

Unlike Playa, you can’t drag and drop between the two panes. To remove an already related entry you have to explicitly click the “x” on the far right of each related entry. Similarly, to reorder them you have to use the grippy area on the far left. Playa offers a much easier way of interacting with the related entries: reorder by clicking and holding anywhere on the entry, remove with a simple double click (in addition to drag and drop or using the arrows between the two panes).

I prefer the aesthetic of the Playa. It is more polished and a nicer user experience. But the new native relationships field copies many of the settings and functionality of Playa. The native field type will get it done for some people the same way that the Rich Text Editor does.

They Had to Do It

EllisLab had to make this addition to the CMS. Was it a direct shot at their new competitor (Pixel & Tonic is building their own CMS called Craft) and an attempt to cut into their sales of Playa? Or did EllisLab finally realize that they need to start innovating the CMS and adding features that arguably should’ve already been there?

It doesn’t really matter which one it was. Both are strategic business moves. The former will definitely rub people the wrong way because Pixel & Tonic’s add-ons help make ExpressionEngine a more attractive CMS. The latter reason will get praise because we’re all relieved that things are moving forward again.

There will always be people who will be unhappy no matter what happens.

Skating to the Puck

The first step to resuming innovation for EllisLab is to play catch-up with the third party add-on community. When innovation stalls, others will do it for you. That’s what Pixel & Tonic and dozens of other add-on developers have done. EE sorely lacks in many areas but our talented group of third party developers have jumped in to fill the holes left by EllisLab’s stagnation over the last few years.

When others beat you to innovation then you’re forced to cede that feature or risk looking like a copy cat. Neither is good but EllisLab surely knows that they’d rather look like a copy cat while serving their customers than continue to lose control of innovation on their platform.

This Week’s Top EE Stack Exchange Users

ExpressionEngine’s StackExchange site is quickly turning into the lively place that the forums used to be. Let’s take a minute a see who’s leading the way this week (points are 2/24/13 - the time of this posting):

Nice work, everyone!

Have time to answer a question? Visit the Unanswered Questions page and see where you can help. Here’s one quick way you can help EE StackExchange.

Posted on Mar 02, 2013 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, Stack Exchange

EE Help Chat Redux

The friendly folks at Solspace and EngineHosting have taken the embers I left behind and rekindled the EE Help Chat. Solspace made the announcement today:

Starting this Wednesday January 16th the EE Help Chat, previously sponsored by EngineHosting and EE Insider, will be sponsored by EngineHosting and Solspace. We’ll be making a slight change in time. The chat will occur at 4:30 EST in the hopes that most of the US can attend before heading home for the day. We will be posting a more permanent landing page along with transcripts shortly. For this week, just check this blog post for the link to the chat a few minutes before it’s newly scheduled time.

Mitchell was kind enough to ask my permission to proceed with this (he didn’t have to at all; he is always the gentleman) and I’m glad that someone else has taken the chat over and will continue it.

Note that the chat is now at 4:30 Eastern time (US), so you can cruise the chatroom while milking that last hour or two of work.

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community

One Quick Way to Help EE Stack Exchange

I have a bookmark in Chrome’s bookmark bar to this page: Unanswered Questions. Whenever I have an idle moment, I click on it to see if there’s something I can help with (as you can see from my reputation on SE, it’s not often).

Go bookmark it, too. You don’t have to be the person on top with 3,000 reputation points. It’s okay to have a 50 points, too.

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, Stack Exchange

The Final Push for Stack Exchange

After EECI many people in the ExpressionEngine community focused on a proposal for a Stack Exchange site for ExpressionEngine. That proposal moved to private beta and is nearing the end of its public beta. In order to reach the goal of having a permanent SE site for EE, one of the requirements is that at least five people need a reputation of 3,000 or greater. As I write this we have threefour.

I applaud the effort of everyone involved in making this happen. It is a lot of work to answer questions, especially ones that are very specific. Sometimes a quick Google search is all that is needed (which makes me wonder why they didn’t just do that in the first place) but I’ve come across many questions that are difficult to unpack and answer. Some of these questions are answered but many of them sit in the purgatory of the Unanswered Question list.

I’ll be honest, though. I find the Stack Exchange system and rules difficult to understand. I feel like a dummy using it. It doesn’t help me along with hints as I’m trying to use it. Getting off the ground with reputation can be difficult and you can’t even hop in a chat room and ask for help unless you already have some reputation. You also can’t ask for clarification on a question until you have a certain reputation. The tools you need to give good answers are unavailable to you at first. The draconian requirements help foster a good community long term but they are terrible when you’re trying to help get one off the ground. I hate using it but I feel so drawn to it because I understand the greater good it can do for the ExpressionEngine community.

If you have ever had to use Google to help solve a coding problem you ran into (with PHP, Ruby, Python), you know that Stack Exchange answers come up frequently in the results. It seems like there is always an answer to your problem.

And this is what makes a SE site for ExpressionEngine so exciting. With the pruning of official EE forums, the obvious lack of care by EllisLab in not breaking in-bound links (which is tantamount to breaking the Internet itself) to the site and resources (hello, wiki), so many new users to ExpressionEngine can be alienated.

I’ve been publishing about ExpressionEngine for four years on this site and more than five in total. I know how hard it is to get people to find the information you created that can help them. Stack Exchange gives us that opportunity because of the value and weight of its domain in search result algorithms.

While I think Stack Exchange is a frustrating, user-unfriendly system to use when trying to build up a new site, I know it will be help people more and more as it matures. A single question with an answer could probably help hundreds of people beyond the original poster.

And that right there is why it’s worth the effort to up-vote good answers and questions, participate when you can, and encourage others to do the same.

Posted on Jan 12, 2013 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: Community, Stack Exchange