I recently read through Building Websites with ExpressionEngine 2, by Leonard Murphy.
As one of the first books out to cover the relatively recently released ExpressionEngine 2, I was eager to get my hands on it. I’ve found before that reading through books, such as Michael Boyink’s, Building an ExpressionEngine 2 Site for Small Business, has been instrumental in developing a set of standards to use as I develop sites in ExpressionEngine 2.
In case you aren’t familiar with the product, ExpressionEngine 2, released in July of this year, is the latest release of EllisLab’s flagship content management system. The tool is extremely powerful, and is a top choice of web designers and developers for site-building projects that might otherwise resort the such CMSs as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and the like. While ExpressionEngine isn’t free, and many of it’s top addons are commercial as well, they come with professional support, which more than makes up for the initial cost outset when you run into a bind along the way. ExpressionEngine allows you to work with your content in an entirely different way than other content management systems, completely separating it from the design, and this has led to a very active and dedicated fan-base.
With the power and flexibility of a complex and mature tool, such as ExpressionEngine, comes the challenge of working efficiently. In a wide-open playing field, one must set his or her own rules and standards, so that it’s easy to go back to a site you worked on several months ago and still know how it works. This has been the topic of sessions at the EECI conferences, such this one by Leevi Graham.
It’s in this area also, that I’ve found books such as Building Websites with ExpressionEngine 2 immensely helpful. Murphy’s new book is a good choice for the beginning ExpressionEngine user. It covers all the basics for a user who needs a little hand-holding. I appreciate that it also goes beyond the basics, with a chapter about implementing ExpressionEngine’s powerful membership features, both for control panel administration, and front-end site membership.
As any developer familiar with ExpressionEngine will tell you, one of the greatest features of the tool is its ability to be extended through add-ons. There’s a huge library of them available at Devot:ee, the ExpressionEngine community site, and it becomes a vital part of the development workflow to find appropriate add-ons for a given project. The end of the book includes an overview of several popular ExpressionEngine add-ons, which is fantastic. It’s extremely important to get a firm grasp of the available add-ons before really digging into ExpressionEngine.
While this book certainly isn’t the one for you if you’re already a seasoned ExpressionEngine user, I think any new user will find its contents valuable as they begin using the tool.