Today EllisLab released EE 2.7.2, which they note is a security and stability release and addresses a bag of bugs, including some work on the publish form and page.
All entries filed under “ExpressionEngine 2”
Earlier this week EllisLab released ExpressionEngine 2.7, which includes the new Grid field type, New Relic support, Markdown parsing, and more.
There is already information posted about these additions to ExpressionEngine but here’s a quick recap.
Grid, a new field type that makes it simple to include tabular data in a single field, is essentially a native implementation of Pixel & Tonic’s Matrix add-on. I will leave it up to Pixel & Tonic and EllisLab to convince you which you should use (I personally prefer Matrix). It is encouraging that EllisLab is starting to add features and make the out-of-the-box experience of ExpressionEngine more complete for how people are using their software in 2013. However, the way they went about it wasn’t exactly ideal.
New Relic, a service that makes application performance monitoring services, also gets support in ExpressionEngine 2.7. In order to use this feature you do need a New Relic account. This is very much a nod in the direction of the upper scale enterprise market.
Markdown, my favorite way of writing text for the web (and how I’m writing this post), also gets some attention in EE 2.7. Previously, you had to use the excellent Smartdown add-on from Experience Internet but those add-ons have been set free and are no longer maintained or supported. Markdown is now a native formatting option so there’s no need to install another add-on to get that functionality. Very nice.
There’s more in EE 2.7, too. Read the entire blog post by EllisLab] to get the scoop.
So, should you upgrade now? Well, that’s tough to answer.
I always wait a bit before updating so I can let some bugs shake out. EllisLab’s releases have gotten a lot better compared to earlier releases of EE 2, however there could still be bugs in there that haven’t been caught. Be careful and always back up.
Over at Mijingo I am running ExpressionEngine but I try to keep slightly behind the current version because it’s ecommerce and, well, I’d rather not have a bug interrupt my customers’ ability to get the learning materials they need.
Evaluate your situation, carefully measure and assess the risk involved in upgrading and then make your choice.
Back in June EllisLab lifted the curtain on Grid, a new field type that allows tabular data in a single field. Yes, this is what Pixel & Tonic’s Matrix does. The news of Grid was buried by the odd commentary in their blog post, but they’ve come back with more information.
Last week, EllisLab gave a closer look at Grid, including an example use (baseball player stats) and some code samples.
A Grid field can be configured with multiple columns, each capturing data with any of ExpressionEngine’s existing fieldtypes, including any Grid-compatible third-party fieldtypes. From there, each channel entry can have a dynamic number of rows in the Grid field to suit the needs of that particular entry.
Grid is currently part of the developer preview for EE 2.7 and distributed out to developers to test and adopt. I wrote this before but I expect to see 2.7 drop soon.
Developers: new preview build sent out for #eecms 2.7.— EllisLab (@EllisLab) July 22, 2013
It’s the second one, if I remember correctly, so that probably means we’re getting close to the public release.
I look forward to updating to the previous release.
In an upcoming release ExpressionEngine will support New Relic, an application monitoring service.
New Relic gives you all sorts of juicy data about your website and web application (in this case it would be ExpressionEngine). It can also do PHP application monitoring and measure response time, throughput and other server information.
ExpressionEngine will soon be bringing out-of-the-box compatibility with the popular application performance monitoring service New Relic. We’ve been using the service ourselves and find it incredibly useful and oftentimes enlightening. With no need to install a module or add any tags, ExpressionEngine will automatically detect if New Relic is enabled in your PHP environment and provide you with a wealth of useful information.
If you’re unfamiliar, New Relic gives you a look into all aspects of the full stack of your site’s performance, particularly at the transaction level.
Do you already use New Relic and want to give input into the features of the New Relic API that ExpressionEngine will support? EllisLab wants your input and feedback. See the blog post for more details.
Here are some reactions from Twitter to the EllisLab announcement about Grid and competition:
Save $120 today but do we all lose tomorrow as other devs take to the hills and growth of the pool of add-ons slows? #eecms— Damien Buckley (@damienpbuckley) June 28, 2013
Despite the announcements made today in the #eecms feed I have some money to go make using it so Twitter I say good night— Justin Long (@RealJustinLong) June 28, 2013
Sigh… not sure I can be bothered with all of this. #eecms— Christopher Imrie (@chrisimrie) June 28, 2013
Have a reaction you want to share? Let me know or leave it in the comments.
Today’s developer preview for ExpressionEngine 2.7 includes a feature that was previously only available through the third-party add-on market: a fieldtype that allows authors to used grouped fieldtypes to publish any number of rows of related content within an entry. We’re calling it Grid, and it’s great for photo galleries, addresses, product details, baseball statistics and more.
More on the rest of their announcement and thinking later. I’m sure you have an opinion on it. We do, too.
Coming off last week’s Engine Summit we’re already hearing chatter about the next big release of ExpressionEngine. For me, and this site, however, it’s been a long road to ExpressionEngine 2.
I originally built EE Insider in late 2008 and up until a month ago it was still running a 1.x flavor of ExpressionEngine. It was the last remaining site that I regularly interacted with that was running the old friend we all knew so well.
So, why did it take me so long to upgrade? I mean, goodness, it’s been almost 3 years since EE2 was released.
Here’s why I stayed on EE1:
- It was stable and worked perfectly for me at all times.
- I had add-ons in use that were not updated yet (back when I originally looked at upgrading)
- I had some functionality of the site that would require major re-working through an update. I didn’t see the investment as being worth it at the time.
- Did I mention it was stable and worked?
ExpressionEngine 1.6 and 1.7 were (and are) excellent releases. I depended on them over and over again for all sorts of sites. EE2 has certainly matured into a great CMS (I use it to power my e-commerce store) but there was the risk of disturbing something that works fine and gets the job done. I could still post content from MarsEdit, my guest authors could still log in and post their content (although they did comment how weird it was to see EE1). We could do the business of the site without any problems.
It didn’t take long for all of my add-ons to be updated (the most impressive part of the EE1 to EE2 move was how responsive and quick the add-on developers were) so that reason didn’t last very long.
Up until EE Insider moved to EE2 I had the EE Insider Tips section of the site where people could submit their own EE tips. This section, while starting strong, never took off and the interest wasn’t there to sustain it as a great catalog of EE tips and tricks. As time went on I turned off the ability to add new tips. Now you can’t even access the tips unless you come from a search engine (99% of the traffic) or from another link on the site.
For EE Insider Tips I was using a handful of add-ons to make the posting functionality work properly. I would have to decide it was worth the time to rework that section of the site that was performing so poorly. In the end I decided it wasn’t worth even having it running and I turned off the ability to submit new tips. Another reason not to upgrade wiped from the board.
After those reasons were no longer, well, reasons, I decided that I did need to update but was working on other projects that needed my attention more than upgrading software on a site that wasn’t broken. I also saw the pain and struggle that Ryan Masuga and the Devto:ee team went through when they upgraded their site. I didn’t want that pain. I don’t like pain.
But one big frustration I had was that I couldn’t try the latest and greatest add-ons from our prolific developer community. Sure, I could use them on other sites but there were add-ons I wanted to use right here on EE Insider.
A month ago Chris Imrie and Eric Lamb announced the Entry Analytics add-on. Eric writes for EE Insider and told me he wished he could see the analytics for his articles on the site. I broke it to him that EE Insider was still running ExpressionEngine 1. He encouraged me to upgrade. I told him I don’t have time.
But then I thought, hey, why the hell not? Why not branch the repository and test the update again? Sure, I’d have to kill some stuff on the site to make it happen but it would be a good time to prune the dead wood.
I went through and made a list of everything I needed to have and then completely disabled all add-ons. After the EE2 upgrade I looked at what was broken and then fixed only the stuff I needed. It was a liberating and refreshing exercise.
There was only one issue with the upgrade, which involved some entry content that contained single quotes being truncated during the migration. This could’ve been disastrous (and, frankly, it’s a little concerning that this could even happen) but fortunately I had a good backup and the ability to whip together a quick bit of SQL to migrate over just the truncated content from my backup.
The upgrade took less than two hours, including all prep, planning and backups. The content migration to fix broken content after the upgrade only took about an hour to determine the problem, test a fix and do the final migration. For a project I didn’t want to do it only took me about 3 hours to actually get it done. That’ll teach me.
Do I regret not upgrading earlier? I only have a few regrets over the last 38 years and none of them have to do with software. The time was right when I did it and it worked.
What’s next? With the big update out of the way, it’s time to shake the dust off the design and code and make them more modern.
There’s a new extension available that makes it possible to use the Superfish drop-down menu plugin in the ExpressionEngine control panel.
You should install it on your copy of EE and give it a shot. The main navigation in the control panel no longer needs a click to open and Superfish includes hoverIntent functionality so the menus only open when they should.
Here’s a quick look at the normal EE menus vs the Superfish menus. EE menus are first. Take a look:
EE 2.6 has some improvements with how it handles dates and time.
First, there’s no more messing with choosing whether or not you’re observing Daylight Savings Time. EllisLab says:
With the new PHP version requirements for ExpressionEngine, we were able to take advantage of more modern date handling techniques to eliminate the DST setting all together. All you will have to do is choose your timezone and we’ll take care of the rest.
Because of the new PHP version requirement we also get an enhancements in the Date field that allows relative dates to be used. Things like: “noon tomorrow” or “last day of january.”
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.
Today the update is available for everyone.
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.
In a blog post from EllisLab, EE 2.6 is now available. In addition to all of the changes (like the updated relationship field) and additions, there are also some deprecations:
This release brings a fair number of deprecations along with the removal of some previously deprecated items. You can find a list of the removed and deprecated methods in the changelog.
I have a lot more to say about this (but can’t because 2.6 isn’t out yet) so stayed tuned for that. For right now, however, I just want link over to the EllisLab site and their announcement of the updated Relationships field type.
The new Relationships field type allows multiple relationships (yes, just like Pixel & Tonic’s Playa) and new template code syntax to make that possible.
Read the official EllisLab. I’ll have my own take soon.
There’s a brand new page on EllisLab.com that covers all of the features in ExpressionEngine.
It’s broken up into categories and then you just click on the feature to get a short blurb that describes what that feature does.
This is a great page to point people to when they want to get more detail on what ExpressionEngine does. Or maybe to help you reinforce your recommendation of EE as the CMS solution for a project.
Bookmark it and refer people to it.
In new installations of ExpressionEngine (from 2.6 forward), the Strict URLs setting will be enabled by default.
From the EllisLab blog post announcing the change:
With ExpressionEngine 2.6 and up, Strict URLs will be enabled by default in new installations. Using the same example, http://example.com/site/about-us is the only valid URL for that content. Visiting http://example.com/about-us/ with Strict URLs enabled will trigger ExpressionEngine’s defined 404 behavior.
If you are updating, don’t worry, ExpressionEngine will honor your current Strict URL preference. With this minor change in ExpressionEngine 2.6, we’re encouraging best-practice by default.
Most of you probably already turn it on when you’re setting up a new site but now this best practice is the default behavior instead of an option.
Now if only
index.php was removed by default…