One of ExpressionEngine’s greatest strengths is that it gives designers and front-end developers the ability to deliver a robust site without knowing a lick of backend programming. EE’s platform, though, is only part of the picture. The key to efficient development and happy clients is *how *you put it all together. Emily Lewis discusses simple, “designer friendly” techniques for creating a great user experience in the control panel with native functionality, as well as with add-ons. Lewis also provides tips to help make your EE development faster and more efficient.
Designer Friendly EE
Engine Summit 2012
Plan of Attack
Leevi Graham - Documentation of channels, custom fields, categories.
- Done prior to installation
Process - Document all of the steps for installation, configuration, go-live. Uses basecmp to-do lists (templates) to document every step of development.
EE - Dev
- Install Dev Docs - Erik Reagan, textile
- Especially helpful if you have to hand off the site to another developer.
Installation / Upgrade
- Remove files you don’t need - http://ee-podcast.com/episodes/time-saving-tips-techniques
- Compress the file and then upload it and expand it on your server.
- Upload compressed file
- Expansion Script - http://ngenworks.com/blog/ee-upgrade-script/
- Rename system directory
- Move above web root
- Rename admin.php
- Create an EE Security list in Basecamp.
Templates & Groups
- Chunking - Train-ee.com - Header, footer, sidebar
- Limit embeds, try out snippets and global variables.
- Need to have a bit understanding of parse order.
Smart conditionals - complex conditionals degrade performance.
Organization and naming conventions
Important for site structure.
Outdated Add-ons can create an upgrade nightmare.
- v2.5 Rich Text Editor
- Great for image uploads.
- Playa, Matrix and Wygwam all work together.
- More powerful than snippets and global variables.
- Nice labels and instructions
- Can be grouped for a single view (ie. Contact includes address, phone, email, etc).
- Low Variables for testimonials with a matrix field
- Makes a channel with one record in it.
- Depends on whether client wants to control navigation. If not, EE is fine.
- Structure - tree view makes it easy to manage.
- Looks at add-ons and tells you the status.
- Not for production sites.
- The cherry on top of developing with EE.
- Have to focus on how the client is interacting with the CMS.
- Instructions - Create good field labels which can include HTML. style=“color:red;”
- Instructions on steroids: NSM Publish Hints
- Are you using the correct field type?
- Matrix Field for addresses?
- VZ Address for address? Will output microformated markup.
- Aim for the lowest common denominator. Make it easy for everybody.
- Last part of the job.
- Allows you to control what the user sees on the publish tab based on member groups.
- Simplify it for the user.
- Zoo Flexible Admin recommended by John Morton in chat for use with Publish Layouts.
Title & Title URL Labels
- MX Title Control
- Changes the titles and the URL titles in the publish page.
Main Menu Buttons
- Set up member groups to simplify.
You have to know your project to plan out your project.
Designer Friendly-EE: http://www.slideshare.net/emilylewis/designerfriendly-ee