There's good news for ExpressionEngine...it's called Craft
I spent last week generally ignoring Twitter; for no other reason than being pretty busy with a number of projects, so I did some catching up on the #eecms tag over the weekend. Frustratingly, ExpressionEngine seemed to be facing a particular barrage of negative tweets for not being Craft.
There’ll always be rivalry between different developer tools, code frameworks and content management systems, with everyone having their reasons to proclaim one is better than another. Since the launch of Craft CMS, which without a doubt takes a square aim at ExpressionEngine, this rivalry has come closer to home and I’m getting tired of seeing negative posts over what Craft is, and what ExpressionEngine isn’t. They’re different products - and if they did the same thing, we’d all be back to using the same CMS and enjoying a complete lack of innovation. Choose your platform based on what you consider important to you, your project and your client, but don’t dismiss or knock others because they haven’t made the same choice you would have.
EE isn’t perfect (what platform is) but I for one love working with it and don't think I've ever found myself restricted in terms of what it can do. As an agency, we’ve dabbled with Craft and we can see the benefits offered by some great features, but we’ve yet to use it on any commercial projects. We’ve also used Statamic and have done some completely custom builds, so we’re not a one trick pony. There’s maybe an element of ‘better the devil you know’, in why we haven’t used Craft yet, but there’s also a learning curve which needs to be merged in with doing client work. When you’re comparing Craft to EE though, remember Craft has been fortunate to have been built off the back of EE's weak points on a completely blank canvas. Let’s face it, Craft wouldn’t be here without EE.
Who's still pumped about EE?
@NickBenson it’s hard to get pumped about #eecms. no buzz, no evangelists, no mktg. it’s like being pumped for a bowl of vanilla ice cream
— Dave Fravel (@dfravel) June 8, 2015
@NickBenson - I am.
No evangelists? Really? You don't have to look far within the community to find them. Names that come to mind include Carl Crawley, John Henry Donovan, Michael Boyink, Ryan Masuga, Marcus Neto, Sean Smith...the list could go on.
If you’re looking for buzz, check out the ‘official’ Slack chat room - now over 260 members and growing. There’s a genuine community atmosphere and daily conversations with people helping each other out and sharing best practice. Not only that, but EllisLab themselves are regular contributors, getting involved with troubleshooting and taking feedback.
No marketing? Well, fair point - but with the release of a new version on the horizon, I think at this stage I’d be saving my efforts for that.
So big flow towards CraftCMS - wish there were some good news for eeCMS #competition
— FinEEuser (@thisUserIsNoob) June 12, 2015
@eyevariety Craft is very active, EE should bring up something and soon or the train will be gone.
— FinEEuser (@thisUserIsNoob) June 12, 2015
How can EE be stagnant with a major new release on its way? Recent releases of EE have introduced some great new features including template routes, template layouts and the refactoring of conditionals to name a few. The platform is certainly not dying.
There’s Ryan Masuga’s upcoming EE Guidebook which will no doubt be of huge value to both new and experienced EE developers. And, of course, EE3.0 looks set to bring a completely new UI, along with some pretty major refinements under the hood. There’ve already been teasers from James Mathias and Pascal Kriete. I’m sure Kevin Smith also knows a thing or two about the upcoming release.
The irony in the post above is that there is good news for EE users, and it's called Craft. Competition is a good thing. It sharpens the mind and forces a refocus, drives innovation and challenges decisions. I’m convinced that EE’s future development will be better for having a new neighbour.
And what of EE3.0?
I was expecting EE3.0 would hit the shelves in mid September. With the summer vacation season almost upon us, the next milestone in the year will be the Expression Engine conference in October. Now EllisLab have announced the developer preview will be available over the summer, it looks possible that it could ship before the conference - fingers crossed!
Can't we play nicely?
This isn’t a post to knock Craft. Neither was it meant as a post to stand in EE's defence, but an answer to critics who seem to think EE has had its day and no one's talking about it. There’s no reason why the 2 platforms can’t coexist, share the best of both communities and appeal to their respective audiences. Competition gets heated. Thats the very nature of the game and there are passionate people in both teams which is great, but slating one platform because its not another seems pointless when actually, both will help each other to become a better product.
Andrew is the founder of A Digital and wants and believes that technology needs to be an enabler, making a positive impact on the way people live and work.