Putting Smiles on Designers’ and Developers’ Faces

Putting Smiles on Designers’ and Developers’ Faces Picture

Tired of hacking blogging software beyond its scope and hunting down plugins from sketchy corners of the web? ExpressionEngine will make you and your clients a happy camper. From DRY templating to improved UI experiences, EE lets you build your site as you designed it, your way. And now, with DashEE, you can design custom dashboards for your clients based on their workflow. Sweet.

  • Session Two
  • 10:20 AM - 11:20 AM
  • Trevor Davis, Viget
  • Chris Monnat, SevenTwenty Strategies
  • Kyle Cotter, EllisLab
  • Zac Gordon, Wide Sky Web

Content Planning: Why it’s critical

EE assumes nothing. Content structure is up to you. To take advantage of this you need to plan in advance. You need to define content blocks (channels, fields, etc).

Channels != Templates Multiple channels can go into one template.

What does this look like? What does this mean?

  • The power of config.php. Jamie Rumbelow, EE Config Walkthrough - cl.ly/In1F
  • Saving templates as files. Makes development a lot easier. Ease of Addition / Subtraction of template. Version controllable. Only during planning / development stage for some performance enhancements.
  • Version control. For when things don’t go according to plan. Git.
  • Document Practices. Keep track of naming conventions. Dev Docs (cl.ly/IMk3).

Client Planning

  • Educate clients. How to work with the CP.
  • An established plan makes their lives easier.
  • Customize the control panel. Customize navigation. Zenbu. DashEE - A widgetized control panel.

Making Clients Happy Using DashEE.

  • EE is a website framework.
  • Build fully functional applications.
  • Extend existing applications / services.
  • Allows you to provide user access to ALL tools in one place.

What are my options for modifying the CP?

  • Themes
  • Accessories
  • Field Types & Add-ons
  • Extensions
  • Modules

But wait there’s moreā€¦

  • DIY Add-ons. Don’t see what you need? Make your own.
  • Module Hooks. Extending modules using the module hooks, not the EE hooks.
  • Add-ons for add-ons.


“Advanced” Templating


  • Set text and snippets of code
  • Get them later on
  • Include a layout
  • Fill in the gaps
  • Biggest gain is in performance. Fewer embeds.


EEficiency: A Cast Study

  • Wide Sky Web Co.
  • DC EE Dev. Shop.
  • Fixing already or half built sites.
  • The Project: Busboys and Poets
  • Jeremy Gimbel

Primary Problem: Page Load Time. Events page took 10 literally, seconds to load. Importing Events from Zoho. Complex template architecture.


  • Lots of conditionals
  • EE to PHP to EE
  • Parsing XML documents on the fly.
  • Not DRY


  • Down to 10 lines of code.
  • GrabEE.
  • Channel Parameters.
  • If you know EE you could come up with the solution.
  • Results: Before: 58s / After 0.8s

About Zac Gordon

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About The Author

G. Brad Hopkins's avatar
  • G. Brad Hopkins
  • About Me: I bought my first computer - an Apple Performa 6320 - when I was in college and have been building websites ever since. These days I spend most of my time writing code and helping to bring interesting projects to life.
  • @gbradhopkins