But since I'm already two months late in posting this recap, a few more minutes won't kill you. Let me first tell you about the event during which I gave the aforementioned demo.
NMTC Tech Thursdays
The NMTC is an association of individuals, companies and organizations working in concert to promote the growth and success of New Mexico's technology sector.
Amongst its many activities, NMTC hosts "Tech Thursdays." These are the council's monthly membership events, which occur on the second Thursday of each month from 3:30–5:00 PM at O'Niells Pub. "Tech Thursdays" are a chance to meet folks from New Mexico's tech community in a casual, yet educational setting.
CMS Case Studies
For their May event, NMTC hosted CMS Case Studies and invited several local folks to talk about and demo their preferred CMS. And I, as the local EE freak, was invited to talk about, you guessed it, ExpressionEngine.
Joining me in the demonstrations were:
- Julie Heinrich, who reviewed Joomla
- Lesley Molecke, who reviewed Plone 2.5
- Alex Sielicki, who reviewed Plone 3
- Vincent Thomé, who reviewed MiniCMS
If this little summary has you intrigued, check out the full recap of the entire event.
Now, finally, to what you've been waiting for: my demo recap.
It was a very short demonstration. The event is only an hour and a half long, and the five us us were each allotted 15 minutes to cover our respective CMSes.
If you use EE, I'm sure you can imagine what a challenge it was to try to cover ExpressionEngine in that short amount of time. While I felt rushed and definitely sounded like an auctioneer in the last minute, I believe I gave enough of an overview to get people excited about EE.
I kicked off the demo with a bit of background on my experience with ExpressionEngine. I explained that I am a designer with limited programming experience (just enough to be dangerous), and that I've only used EE for about a year. Yet during that short time (and despite my lack of development knowledge), EE was relatively easy for me to teach myself, and I've used it for this blog, several large work sites and a handful of small freelance projects.
I then talked about how EE is a full-fledged CMS tool, not a blogging system that has to be wrestled with to create non-blog sites. I also discussed the pricing models and what users get for their money, including EE's phenomenal technical support.
I also talked about how my employer replaced a $5 million custom Vignette CMS with ExpressionEngine, saving us millions of dollars and hours (upon hours, upon hours) of development time.
The rest of my 15 minutes were spent going into the ExpressionEngine control panels for my blog and my employer's main corporate site:
- I demonstrated the core interface, including how Multiple Site Manager (which my employer uses) works.
- I showed how the templates work, emphasizing how easy they are to customize and work with (whether directly in the control panel or in your preferred editor).
- I explained what EE tags, variables and parameters are, and showed examples of them in templates.
- I talked about creating custom fields and showed several different types of examples from my employer's control panel.
I concluded my demo with a quick overview of some of the highlights expected in the highly-anticipated EE 2.0 release.
Also, included in the slideshow were several of my favorite EE resources I recommend you check out if you haven't already:
- EE Insider
- ExpressionEngine Screencasts
- ExpressionEngine Blog
- ExpressionEngine Showcase
Due to the fast-paced nature of NMTC's event, there wasn't any time for questions after my demo. However, after the event, most folks stuck around for the monthly ABQ Web Geeks meetup.
I got a lot of positive feedback about my presentation, and several comments about how I'm an EE fangirl (there are worse things to be). I also talked to one local developer who had looked into EE but never followed through on developing with it. He told me my demo got him off the fence and that he was going to give it a whirl for a project he had just landed (yay!).
It was a great experience for me as well. I always love to talk about things I love, and EE is definitely one of them.