EECI2009 Slideshow and Presentation Notes - From Design to Dynamic, Rapid EE Development

by Jonathan Longnecker

Welcome to the European ExpressionEngine Conference

Hello from the Netherlands! The EECI2009 conf is in full swing, and we’re having a great time! This entry is more of a companion piece to my presentation (you can check the slides out below). So if some things don’t make sense, read through it. Someday when I have time I hope to write a more detailed version, but for now this is what we’ve got! For those on the fast track, this is how we setup EE and “package” it so it’s ready to go for each new site we do. Go read up on Structure and try it out. You’ll thank me later.

The more ExpressionEngine sites we develop, we began to see a faster, more efficient way of doing things. The advent of 3rd Part Addons like Structure and Field Frame are opening up a whole new world of rapid development.

The Problem

While we were becoming excited with all the new possibilities of faster development times and better usability for our clients, we found setting it up was taking longer. We were grabbing the 15+ Addons by hand, installing and configuring them. Then we would generally setup templates based on each page of the site, using global variables and template embeds to keep as much of it dynamic as possible. But it was still a lot of copying and pasting.

The Solution

We realized we needed a “sandbox” install of EE with all our Addons installed and up to date. We also needed the basic templates and global variables that we used all the time. Add to that a good bit of extras and what we’ll call “sweet tricks” and all of a sudden we’ve got an EE install that’s ready to move to your new server and start throwing HTML into and creating content almost instantly. Seriously rapid development.

I’m not going to rewrite the entire presentation; you can probably go through it and figure most of it out yourself. But what I will provide is a quick list of all the links I use in the presentation and some simple text files of the complicated code bits.


Image Replacement Technique

AJ Penninga - View Video


Sidebar, Nav and Content templates - Download Here

October 22, 2009



  1. Great writeup Jonathan - really interesting stuff. Definite similarities in some places to what Colly talked about in his ‘Ultimate Package’ talk at FOWD.

    Do you know if there is any more info on AJ Penninga’s image replacement technique? His site appears to be offline currently.



  2. Hey thanks for this slideshow, got to learn a lot from this, don’t know much about Sandbox but eager to know more about it and involve it in my day to day routines of marketing.

  3. @Jim yeah sorry, I should have linked straight to the video. I’ll update the post.;=

  4. Putting all your paths into the config file and using an IF statment for which database to use for which URL makes moving servers so much easier.

    See: here

    I can now move all my files and database without changing any paths in the control panel.

  5. Thanks for the video link - greast idea from AJ Penninga. Definitely a nice trick to try out!

  6. Thank you for this very useful presentation and assets!

  7. @Cameron wow that’s pretty cool. I’ll have to try that out for sure, thanks!

  8. Can anyone digress why/when you would set the height on the image on the Field-Frame-Image-upload example?

  9. Thank you for being my translator at dinner. Who knew I’d need someone to help me speak English? smile

    I didn’t get to come to your workshop so I’m diving in now. Fantastic info!

  10. @Jim allows you to have the option of cropping to certain sizes for particular layouts. ImgSizer is smart enough to just scale it proportionally if you don’t set the height.

    @Mrs. Flinger any time smile I need to check out your workshop as well. A tad busy with the new baby, though smile

  11. Just wondering why you prefer LG TinyMCE over Brandon Kelly’s WYGWAM?  Thanks!

  12. @jon mainly right now because we haven’t got to try it out yet, but TinyMCE is free, and other than easier setup for us I’m not sure if the benefits are worth 30 bucks. Honestly, I haven’t found any WYSIWYG editors that work like they should yet. My main beef with all of them is the way they put inline styles when trying to paste in text that has formatting. Might be an operating system thing, though. Either way, this setup is a work in progress and WYSIWYG is first on the list for improvement.

  13. Been messing around with LG TinyMCE.  How did you remove the image upload that it looks like you went over in your talk?  Thanks!

  14. @Jon I think it’s under the Basic Configuration section in the Extension settings. Just look for “image.”

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