Createe ExpressionEngine Training – Part 6

In this final training session, we tackled more addons – both free and paid – and other built in features of ExpressionEngine to finalize our new site and improve the backend. Here are some more default features in ExpressionEngine.

Default Contact Form

The user guide has instructions on how to implement a default contact form that’s built in. Change the recipient area and you are done. Jae does not reccomend using the default form. Any customization in the default form, Jae reccomends a FREE addon called FreeForm. It allows for some easy customizations such as:

  • form name – which allows for different “collections” of form submissions;
  • allows for easy wysiwyg creation of fields;
  • allows for different types of fiels to be easily created.

creat-ee6.1

Blog Comments

Since whole template/site creation has a “blogging” feel to me, since I come from a WordPress background. EE allows the comments module to show up in any category besides the blog. This opens great possibilities to adding reviews under products etc.

The EE user_guide has full variable list and quick and easy template that can be implemented in just a few seconds. Under channel preferences for blog, commenting must be enabled to work and also under each entry that user wants to allow comments.

Jae does not reccomend default comments; but instead using an addon called Disqus or Facebook Comments. Exampe can be seen at:  magiccitypost.com; video available on Creat-ee.com. Allows:

  • Manage all comments at one
  • Cost: Free!

More Addons

Low Reorder $27
Allows for quick drag and dropping the order of elements in the backend.

NavEE
Allows for developers to implement a complete wysiwyg menu manager in the backend that allows clients/end users to easily add/remove pages and manage menus.

Proform
Contact form all custom usually in the template. Proform allows Drag and drop form bulder for clients to visually implement custom forms.

NSM Better Meta $49
Quick and easy way way to add meta tags, XML sitemap, and update on a per channel or per entry basis. Geo metadata, which is becoming more and more important, robots data. Tutorials available on EE-garage.com.

XML-Sitemaps
Folder at the server and have “mini” xml groups inside allows for specific xml templates for each section of the site.

GWCode Categories FREE
Awesome Plugin like using categories on steroids. There are 11 different ways to display your categories.

Custom System Message
Allows for easy customize error messages and various system messages.

In Conclusion

ExpressionEngine has proved to be a really flexible and versatile platform. Due to tons of quality addons, it can quickly surpass WordPress in terms of quality and reliable results (especially because it shouldn’t get hacked every week). Due to the higher cost of implementation, this platform is limited to mid-level clientele – at least for our agency.

Jae believes he saves $500 for each $10 spent in addons. That’s an interesting estimate and if close to reality then surely a gigantic motivation to shell out for addons. ExpressionEngine is really popular in Europe, probably more popular than in the US, that explains the funny prices in devot-ee.com: they are converted from Euros.

I am looking forward to implementing EE in the next sites that come our way and excited that I have been able to grapple so much in just under 4 weeks.

 

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