ExpressionEngine 2.0: fully CodeIgnited!

There’s been much discussion about ExpressionEngine 2.0, and a big part of the excitement is the new CodeIgniter base.  I’ve written a bog entry at EllisLab entitled ExpressionEngine 2.0: fully CodeIgnited! that deals with some of the implication of this great news.

I’m closing comments on this thread, but if you’d like to comment, please comment on the blog post itself.

Its a great time to be a nerd!

South by Southwest 2008 : Day Three

Three weeks of late nights, (and about 5 days of being extraordinarily ill) have started catching up with me.  Catching up with all of us actually.  Saturday night was a blast, but it also meant hardly any sleep again ;)

We sponsored a brunch Sunday morning, lots of great casual interaction again, this time without loud music and beer (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing).  In fact, a number of good ideas came out of it, and even though the coffee tasted like burned sawdust, it was worth it just for that.

I had a chance to hit the big trade show.  In general, it was a disappointment.  A new company tried to sell us on their “mashup” social site… Paul and I sat through about 2 minutes and then excused ourselves, and Paul membled “moblog module” as we were walking away.  Yup, EE does everything they were bragging about out of the box.  <sarcasim>OHhhhhh…. I can post blog entries from my cell phone.  Dude, you just blew my mind</sarcasim>

Also had an odd experience at the booth for the Opera web browser.  They had these big posters advertising their “next big thing” called “Dragonfly”.  I asked the guy attending the booth what it was, and he said he couldn’t tell me.  WTF!  The entire point of their display seemed to be to advertise a product that they “couldn’t talk about”.  I repeat.  WTF.  It would be one thing if I asked him, so what’s the next big thing you’re working on?  It’s entirely different for him to come to me and do that.

While I’m venting… allow me to indulge for another moment.  There was a booth there advertising their new web-framework.  Since I’m kinda involved in a round about way (sorta) with a web framework myself, I thought I’d see what they were about.  So I asked the guy “so what’s this all about”.  The conversation pretty much went like this (note the pattern, I ask a question he gives an answer that doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t make sense without a lot more context):

Jeez, go sell crazy somewhere else.

The night was spent enjoying some ultra nerding out over a great dinner (Derek and Paul ordered some very fine… very costly, but very fine… wine), and then retired to my room for some fine ale generously sent to us from Steven Hambleton of Hambo Design, and a nice bottle of wine sent from Lee Tengum of Made by Fresh.  Thank you both so very much!

I’m returning to Toronto with a renewed sense of excitement and energy and the possibilities before us, and the communities beside us.

South by Southwest 2008 : Day Two

Last night was a bit of a late night for us, as we polished our message a bit, and tried to make sure we were delivering everything as consistently in real-life as we were in our heads.

We gave the same session three times, which was the presentation of ExpressionEngine 2.0.  The big news of the day in my mind, is that ExpressionEngine is now built on CodeIgniter.  The implications here, whether you are a CodeIgntier-er, or an ExpressionEngine-er are substantial, and I will write a bit more about these in the upcoming weeks, but sufficed to say that this is very good news for everyone involved; EllisLab, and end-users.

The big “wow” moment, was Derek Jones demo-ing our new control panel.  It was inspiring to see the general reaction of the crowd.  Frankly, it kicks ass (as I said in my slide-show ;) )

By the afternoon, I was wiped.  A single large coffee and a cinnamon bun does not a meal make.  Nevin and Neal brought a great lunch around for us at 2:30 (thanks guys!) and I got significantly “picked up” for our afternoon question and answer session.  The session was incredible, with many people sharing their stories of how they use ExpressionEngine, and how they use CodeIgniter.  Its nice to get perspective from time to time, the tools I help built impact people in a very real way.  Very rewarding!

After that, party at the Moonshine grill.  Tshirts, booze, music, friends.  Is there anything else needed for a great evening?  It was a huge success, and I had the opportunity to hang and chat with lots of CodeIgniter and ExpressionEngine users (and now, they are sort of “one and the same” aren’t they).

One of the things that’s really struck me over the past 2 days is how passionate our users are.  Interested and involved, and overwhelmingly supportive and positive.  Its fantastic getting to put faces to names (and forum names), and I’m glad people had the opportunity to chat with me directly.

One of the things you’ll notice about all of the EllisLab folks is how accessible they really are.  When else do you get to walk up to the vice-president and ask him about how the company works?  When else do you get to chat with the CTO over a beer?  When else do you get to ask the founder of the company what type of motorcycle he rides?  A great environment, and a great time.

And the night kept giving!  Michell (Solspace) a prolific ExpressionEngine contributor hosted a nightcap, and treated me a few nightcaps.

Day 3 is much less packed, and I’m looking forward to relaxing and nerding out a bit.

ExpressionEngine 2.0 “official” screenshots

There’s been a lot of speculation over what our big secret was, and what EE 2.0 would look like.

I’ve very proud to announce that ExpressionEngine is now built on CodeIgniter, and each is able to share resources with the other.  You an ExpressionEngine developer?  This represents an instant expansion of EE’s capabilities.  Faster, easier, more modular code, with a huge number of libraries and functions.  You a CodeIgniter user?  How about instantly being able to drop ExpressionEngine on top of your codebase, and have fully accessed, fully shared information between each.  Instant forums, instant wiki, instant EE - on your existing code… now.  Its VERY exciting.

We’re still in development, but I wanted to take a moment to post some “official” screen captures of our new Control Panel.  Now I want to make it very clear that this is a work in progress.  While things are largely “in play”, its entirely possible that it will undergo so minor, or major, changes between now and release.  Oh, and on the topic of release, we haven’t announced a date, and truthfully, I don’t know.  We’re working our asses off, and we’ll get it out as soon as we possibly can.

I will write more about the development, and post more information when I find a bit of time. Read the full entry to see the images.

South by Southwest 2008 : Day One

Preamble: Since I had my laptop in front of me all day, I decided on a stream-of-consciousness post.  If you’re looking for juicy CodeIgniter or EE news and not interested in my comings and goings then I’d advise you to skip today and read tomorrow. ;)

Getting to Austin was much nicer this year.  Specifically, customs was much nicer.  In fact, it was downright uneventful.  I got to the gate uneventfully, and opened up lappy and started hacking away on EE for the demo.  A little voice in the back of my head was telling me that its dumb to do that at 5:30am without a full cup of coffee in me… but there’s always work to be done.  Duty calls!

The little girl beside me has an unhealthy fascination with the glowing apple on my black laptop, demanding that the people around us look at, (at about 260 decibels).  All she manages to say to me is “the soap is sticky”.  Strange kid.

Keep reading for the full story!

Deadlines!!!  South by Southwest means deadlines!

Well, its very publicly out there that we’ll be giving a sneak peek of ExpressionEngine 2 at South by Southwest.  On the one hand, I’m really excited by this, and I know that EE users will fall out of their chairs.  You’ll love it.  It’s coming along great.  There’s also the flip side of course to that, of deadlines.  Last week I averaged about 4 hours of sleep a night (I’m a normal 7 hour a night guy), and that is mostly due to staying up and working.  Of course its not just the late nights, but also working through evenings… in doctors waiting rooms, even in the car.  Of course, this is the same for the whole team - Derek and Paul and working their asses off also, as is the whole of the rest of the team.  The good news though… is that things are taking shape.

And the good news doesn’t end at ExpressionEngine.  When we get this release out, there’ll be big news that will also impact on CodeIgniter, in a very permanent (and positive) way.  The next few weeks will bring more sleepless nights, more yelling at my computer, less interacting with friends… and at the end of it, a whole lot of pride.

In the meantime, there’s a few things I’ve let drop.  BambooInvoice hasn’t gotten much love from me recently.  My studies have taken a backseat in a big way.  But I just can’t shake the feeling that this will work out perfectly, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Simon Collison knows how to be a teacher

Fellow web-nerd, instructor, and ExpressionEngine aficionado Simon Collison has written what has to be the most inspirational blog entry written in Education for 2008, entitled Dear Students.

Its short and to the point, and while I usually don’t like quoting large chunks of other people’s writing (preferring you just go read it yourself) its hard to express the greatness of this post without getting both of its paragraphs.  Go read it first-hand anyhow.

Dear Students

On 12th March at 9am, I’ll be presenting the snappily-titled The Business of Web Design: Latest Trends in Web Design and Web-based Applications lecture at the University of Nottingham. This forms part of a great season of presentations for the Development of Digital Business module that also includes lectures from the likes of Microsoft, IBM and a plethora of others.

If you’re on that course, make sure you don’t get pissed the night before and oversleep in a pool of vomit and cigarette butts. I know what you students are like.

Now that is poetry.  Well done Simon…

CodeIgniter will not be dropping support for PHP 4 anytime soon

There’s been renewed discussion about CodeIgniter moving to a PHP 5 only framework within the community.  This post is my attempt to articulate the point of view of the development team, and my personal reasons for why we will not go this route. 

First of all, let me just say this “I like PHP 5”.  A lot.  I use it exclusively for my personal development, and I want to see it adopted more.  I don’t like PHP 4 much, and in fact, I’d love to not need to support it.  But the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of PHP servers out there are still running PHP 4, and we want our products to be accessible for the widest possible audience.  We will not be dropping support for PHP 4 anytime soon.

What follows in this entry is my full reasoning.  Want to see a PHP 5 CodeIgniter?  Read on…

Talkin’ ExpressionEngine and CodeIgniter at SxSW

Ever wanted to pick Rick’s brain in person?  Ever wanted to scream at me for introducing a bug into CodeIgniter?  Now’s your chance!

If you’re going to South by Southwest this year we’re holding our usual party (last year’s was awesome), BUT we have MUCH more goodness going on.  Check out

And of course, just hang out with us… we’re cool like that.

I’ve joined the EllisLab development team

I’m very proud to say that I’ve formally joined the EllisLab development team as a Technology Architect.  In the near term future, I’m focusing on code changes to ExpressionEngine and CodeIgniter in our goal to get EE 2 out the door (its a major task).  I’m looking forward to sinking a bit more time into the codebase, which I really haven’t had the opportunity to do.

Not many people realized it, but I was only onboard with EllisLab part time.  I’d spend a few hours each day working there, mostly in the support forums, where I acted as Senior Technical Support Specialist.  The rest of my day was spent running my business, which I’m fortunate was pretty busy.  So yeah, I was the classic “freelancer” - keeping busy with client projects and programming.  Freelancing was very good to me, but it’s a bit “unrewarding” (is that a word) to pour yourself into a project, and then have it end.  What I really wanted professionally, was to be part of something “bigger then I am”.

Now EE 2 development is underway, and EllisLab needs a few more hands on deck.  If ever there was something worth joining, if ever there was something that I want to have a legacy in… its ExpressionEngine and CodeIgniter. So I did something that scares the hell out of me - I put my business (which I’ve proud to say I’ve built up into a nice little organization since 1999) on hold, and accepted a senior role at EllisLab. 

Time to start building up a new legacy.