When designing a new web site, one of the decisions that must be made is which content management system to use. There are a plethora of CMS’s out there to choose from and it’s important to know the features which will be incorporated into the web site when choosing a CMS. Each CMS varies in features offered such as ease of setup, user friendliness, server and language compatibility, extensibility, as well as many more features. Expression Engine is one CMS that comes built in with many of these useful features.
One of the most useful features of Expression Engine is the ability to easily create and manage multiple blogs. There are many settings offered which are extremely useful to any blog such as categories, custom fields, and custom statuses. There is no built in text editor by default, however the ability to add modules and extensions to the core CMS allows for a simple solution to this problem. Blog entries can be searched and filtered to allow easy location and editing of blog entries. One important feature of blogs that isn’t included by default is Meta data per blog entry, however, if cleverly setup, the Meta data can be added using templates. There is also a very good extension out there, for a fee, which will add this feature.
Expression Engine also comes with member management as well as a member section. The member management features are pretty basic, allowing member groups, permissions, and a very rigid member’s only area. One of Expression Engines biggest flaws would have to be customizing the member’s only area. This is a tedious and time consuming process due to how Expression Engine uses a completely different method for processing the special member templates than it does with normal templates. Supposedly, there is at least one third party member add on out there available, for a fee, that may make the customization of the member’s only area easier; however, how much it actually helps is highly debatable.
Some other features include a nice template system for creating blog and static pages. There are many tutorials available for using Expression Engine features and templates. There is also a forum for posting questions about using Expression Engine and the questions are usually answered fairly quickly. Expression Engine offers a standard search feature for site users to search for blog entries, however, it’s a very basic search system which may or may not be sufficient. In addition, if you want to manage multiple websites or multiple sub domains, you will unfortunately have to pay for an expansion, however, the multiple sites manager is really convenient and fairly simple to setup.
In conclusion, Expression Engine is a CMS which strong points include creating and managing single or multiple blogs, creating site pages, a good template system, and good documentation and an active support forum. The price is reasonable, although there are some hidden expenses for added features. Expression Engine would not be a good choice for web sites which will have member sections.