Expression of Awesomeness with ExpressionEngine
Updated November 26, 2014

Expression of Awesomeness with ExpressionEngine

Justin Koivisto | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Freeform
  • Structure
  • Wygwam
  • CE Image
  • Content Elements
  • SEO Lite

Overall Satisfaction with ExpressionEngine

EE is used for nearly all of the websites we build. We are a web development shop and have used EE for everything from small brochure sites to sites with product description or ordering for hundreds of products. The control panel is able to be customized to make the user experience more enjoyable than what users experience from CMS products like WordPress or Drupal.
  • Control Panel customization. With the ability to install addons in mere minutes to help with tweaking the UI for the user, it removes much of the learning curve so even those not versed with a CMS can learn quickly.
  • Flexibility. Not just for blogs! EE has the power to run full-featured blogs without a blink or make short work of forum websites, but that power can be used for any number of situations easily (simple pages, product lines, listings, etc.)
  • Extendability. For those developers that like to get their hands deep into PHP coding, EE allows for easy extension of classes and creation of your own custom modules to do tasks that the core system doesn't already do.
  • Community. If you don't opt for the official support (which is very good in my experience), there is a community of users that are available to answer questions you may have. There is also a great repository of add-ons (both free and commercial) to help you customize your project easily.
  • Documentation. Some of the documentation on the website lacks clear information. However, support and community make up for this if you can afford to wait for an answer.
  • Development speed has increased over previous "free" products. EE's install/config time has saved me on avg 4-7 hours of time over other free products, making the cost of the commercial license a non-issue.
  • By using the same system throughout the company, EE makes maintenance on sites simpler and more efficient - even when working with another developer's work.
The learning curve on EE was less intense than those for Zend Framework, drupal or WordPress. Setup and config for highly-custom sites is quicker and quite simple. Having the ability to quickly make the control panel UI look nice for end-users is a huge plus and is often commented about from our customers.
The fact that the system is easy to use, extensible and powerful on top of it being quick to setup makes this an easy decision. While there may still be projects where I will turn to Zend Framework, EE will definitely be the most-used system in my arsenal for custom websites.
With the ability to be extended your own way, all the features of a CMS, and the powerful CodeIgniter engine behind it, EE can be used for any kind of project. New features are being added with each release to make it even more powerful for developers. With settings relating to template caching, data caching, and gzip compression, the system can handle large sites without overloading.

Using ExpressionEngine

8 - Developers, designers, project managers, account administrators
6 - Account administrators and project managers are the first line. They are training much the same way as end-users, but have more experience. Developers know the ins-and-outs of the systems as they are the ones that use it to build the sites for the end-users.
  • custom websites
  • nline data applications
  • informational websites
  • commerce websites
  • school websites complete with online bookstore
  • nline communities
  • large questionnaires
  • custom websites
  • large questionnaires
  • ecommerce sites

ExpressionEngine Implementation

After installing the system a few times, you can see a pattern of things that have to be done to work the way you want them (settings, paths, etc.). By knowing what you want, you can put together some scripts that prepare the file system for installation, adjust post installation configuration settings, and install initial templates.
  • developers learning system terminology
  • developers learning and template syntax
  • finding add-ons to do very specific tasks

Using ExpressionEngine

The default control panel is plain and requires knowing some terminology (channel/entry) to use. However, by installing a couple add-ons (vendor or 3rd party), the control panel can quickly become very user-friendly and increase the usability of the system. Developers have full control of how to make the system usable for their end-users.
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Feel confident using
  • installation, configuration
  • Setting up categories and the fields to use for pages, listings/entries
  • custom control panel layouts for the end-user
  • installation of add-ons
  • creation of custom add-ons (advanced developers)
  • template system and features
  • some 3rd party add-ons add a level of complexity that takes time to get into due to things like template parse order if you aren't aware of it
  • template parse errors are sometimes too vague to translate directly (default PHP warnings/errors)
Yes - EE doesn't provide a stock mobile interface, but allow for easy customization to create one using themes. 3rd party mobile themes may be currently available for the control panel, but I haven't had a need to look for any as the default theme works well on mobile devices for me.