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Ben Hamilton

My Top 10 Expression Engine Extensions

This is a list of my top 10 Expression Engine extensions. It is hardly definitive, so if you disagree with me, then I encourage you to make your own list in the comments below.

  • 10) Filter by Author This extension adds a drop-down list to the ‘Edit’ tab in the EE (Expression Engine) CP (Control Panel) which allows you to filter weblog entries by author. This can be very handy on blogging sites with many authors. This allows the administrator (my boss) to quickly call up an individual author’s entries (like mine) and review them (they’re great).
  • 9) REEOrder This extension allows the developer or client to customize the order of any weblog entry. Instead of ordering entries by date or a specific field, this extension allows you to dictate their exact order to satisfy the obsessive-compulsive in all of us. Works well for people that like to make top 10 lists.
  • 8) Edit Tab AJAX I use this extension on every EE project I work on. It speeds up the ‘Edit’ tab by removing the requirement to click ‘Search’ after selecting from a drop-down filter. Now, I know you must be thinking, “How lazy are you?” Well, it saves a tad of time, and time is money (which I read in some company memo). Also, it makes the ‘Edit’ tab less annoying. Case closed.
  • 7) Cloner Next time your boss says, “Hey you! I have to update the company website and I hate replicating these entries over and over, save me time underling!” You can simply install this nifty extension and you’re in the clear, right Mark?
  • 6) Category Checkboxes Clients like checkboxes, it’s just a fact, like gravity and Brittany Spears you have to deal with it. So sometimes when a client has to add multiple categories to a weblog, and they don’t care for the multi-select drop-down business, you can install this extension and save the day.
  • 5) LG Better Meta What is Meta? Nobody knows, but I can tell you this, clients want it better. With this extension, you can dynamically generate your Meta tags for every page on your site easily. This leads to better search engine optimization, which leads to more traffic for your website, which leads to leads (I’ve always wanted to say that). BTW, this is the only extension on my list that costs money, so if you don’t work for a gigantic corporate conglomerate like Sundog, you’ll have to shell out 40 bucks. (ed- Sundog is not a corporate conglomerate, we are actually a whimsical company of about 65 folks, nestled in the heart of the Red River Valley).
  • 4) Required Category People forget things, like I once forgot to feed my sister’s fish and they died (Ash, let it go already!). If you don’t want your weblog entries to die, people have to be able to find them. If you forget to add categories, they can get lost. Does EE have a built in category requirement option? Of course not, that would make too much sense. So you have to download this bad-ass extension, which enables you to not only require categories for specific weblogs, but also to require a certain number of categories.
  • 3) Freeform Once upon a time a company called Solspace developed an extension called Freeform. This extension allowed developers to create forms on their websites and the form data would then be saved in the EE database and could be recalled in the EE CP. Freeform also provided a bunch of other options like the ability to e-mail form results and other cool stuff. Then we developers lived happily ever after, the end.
  • 2) File Whoa! Wouldn’t it be cool if EE had a custom field that allowed the user to upload files and save them in weblog entries? Too bad sucka! This seemly obvious bit of functionality can be achieved using the Photo Gallery module, but sometimes clients want more simplicity than that. So good ol’ Mark Huot developed this solution, the File extension. What a stud.
  • 1) Fieldframe I must admit, I have never used this extension before. I was originally going to write about Mark Huot’s Multi-Field extension, which is pretty awesome. Then I came upon Levi Graham’s LG Data Matrix extension, which is even better, but then hold the phone folks! Brandon Kelly just came along and hijacked Data Matrix! Then he improved it even more and made it his own FF Matrix extension, which is included in a neato collection of extensions he made called Fieldframe! It looks pretty amazing! Now, I just have to hope it works as advertised or else I’m going to look like a complete tool (too late).

So that’s it! These are the extensions that I deem reasonably good. My next article will either be a list of my top 10 EE modules, or a list of the top 10 reasons that people’s attention spans have gotten so short that they need all their information in the form of top 10 lists, I haven’t decided. Until then, I’m going to take my blog money and go buy a cup of gas station coffee.

Posted in: Web, Applications, Internet, Programming, Software, Software Development, Technology, Web Development

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