First, let me clarify; EE also runs on Linux, Windows, and a few other flavors. For Mac users, it runs great on Mac OS X. Both PHP (the Open Source scripting language built-in to Mac OS X) and the popular database application MySQL (available from Apple’s Mac OS X downloads) are required. Fortunately, they’re available for free.
It stacks up well. In fact, many online publishers think Expression Engine is by far the best available web log system, and an absolute bargain for managing content.
Second, creating web logs, personal online publishing, has become something of a rage in recent years. There’s only about twenty eleven ways to create a web log; your own personal content management system. That means you can write pretty much what you want, load it onto a “blogging” system, and it gets published online for all the world to see.
Among web log applications, there are a handful that go a long way toward closing the gap with expensive and complex Content Management Systems (CMS).
pMachine’s Expression Engine has become more CMS yet retains all the friendliness of a web log system. Click Here for details from pMachine.
What makes EE special? First, on the front end, it’s not complicated. EE comes with simple installation instructions and set up is easy just using Safari or any Mac web browser (even Internet Explorer… that’s still used, right?). You can upload EE to an Internet Service Provider, or, if you’re fortunate enough to have a static IP address and a domain name, your Mac makes a great web server (running Mac OS X, of course.
Next, is EE’s elegant design. Not only are there a dozen attractive Templates to make setting up a web log rather easy, EE is built on PHP and uses an extensive layout of Templates, all stored neatly in MySQL. Editing is a breeze. Need CSS and XHTML compatible code? No problem. Want to assign access rights to many different users? A breeze. Want to display content to some users but not all? Piece of cake.
EE’s approach is to let the database do the work. While you’ll need to know a little about HTML to get started, EE 1.1 (now in beta) works well with BBedit, Dreamweaver, and other HTML editors. Copy and paste is about as difficult as it gets.
The 1.0 release version of EE is loaded with a bucket of user requested features.
• Embedded PHP
• Direct SQL Queries
• Dynamic Variables
• Conditional Operators
How much content do you need? EE provides a virtually unlimited number of entry fields; either input boxes, textareas, or pull-down menus. Afraid you’ll edit something and make a mistake? EE’s versioning system lets you get back what used to work.
Content Categories? How many do you need? There’s that many in EE?
How about Member Groups? Yes, you can have “members” log in, view only what you want them to view. For your users who add content to the system, you can also limit what content they’re able to provide, AND, put it on hold until reviewed and approved.
All this power comes with a price, right? EE has a hosted demo service so you can take it for a 30-day test drive, only $10. Licenses then range from $50 for an upgrade to $199 for a commercial version.
Shortcomings? There’s so much you can do with EE it’s hard to imagine that there’s ever something you’d need. Support from pMachine has been superb. Support from the pMachine forums is excellent; one of the top two I’ve encountered (the other is the LA Final Cut Pro Users Group.
I’d like to see improvements in handling of multiple domains; multiple domain names pulling data from the same database. That’s handy. Additional Templates (you can never have enough), and perhaps some CSS modules that can be pulled into Templates.
Also, it’d be great to extend the modularity of EE’s Template and database design to “point and click” elements such as Search, Member Login, and other design elements.
That’s what future versions are all about, right? What’s really great about EE is the elegance of the application, the support from pMachine, and this content management system runs great on Mac OS X.