A Blog Not Limited

to web design, standards & semantics

ExpressionEngine in 15 Minutes Recap

Jul 31, 2009

Published in

In keeping with my "better late than never" theme these days, I'm happy to finally post the recap of my ExpressionEngine demo from back in May: ExpressionEngine in 15 Minutes.

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.

My Demo

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.

Screen shot of ExpressionEngine in 15 Minutes slideshow

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:


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.

HTML5 Cookbook

Interested in HTML5?
Get the Cookbook!

I was a contributing author for HTML5 Cookbook, available for sale on Amazon! Get yours now! (I hear chapters 1, 4 and 5 are particularly good.)

P.S. Don't forget my book Microformats Made Simple is still for sale!


Share the Love

Luke Dorny's Gravatar

Luke Dorny opines:


Great! I faved your tweet to read this later. Glad that I did. Awesome that you’re giving back to the community, Emily.

Boyink's Gravatar

Boyink opines:


Thanks for the Train-ee mention!

Emily's Gravatar

Emily responds:


@Luke - Thanks! Since moving to ABQ a few years ago, community building has been essential for me. Can’t wait to finish my book so I can return my focus to it. So rewarding :)

@Michael - No, thank you for putting all those materials together! Train-ee and your Boyink site tutorials were so helpful to me when I was first learning EE.

Sean's Gravatar

Sean opines:


It’s really easy to feel your enthusiasm for EE from this post.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

The Coolest Person I Know

Emily Lewis

Yeah, that would be me: .

I'm a freelance web designer of the standardista variety, which means I get excited about things like valid POSH, microformats and accessibility. I ply my trade from my one-person design studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106 USA.

A Blog Not Limited is my personal blog where I pontificate about web design, web standards, semantics and whatever else strikes my fancy. Head on over to Emily Lewis Design if you'd like to see my work or, even better, hire me.


I Tweet, Therefore I Am

Follow @emilylewis on Twitter!