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Customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
Building an ExpressionEngine 2 Site: Small Business
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on March 11, 2014
Expression Engine is very different from other CMSs like Wordpress. It has its own paradigms and workflows, and it takes some getting used to. What I had hoped was that this book would teach me to crawl, and perhaps by the end of it I'd be standing and taking my first steps. No such luck. By Chapter 2 -- at which point your practice site consists of a grand total of one HTML page and one CSS file, neither one of which you created yourself -- Boyink is detailing the use of variables and snippets and embedded templates. Imagine you're five years old, and your second hour of learning how to read explains gerunds, participles, and infinitives.

All I wanted to know at this point was where stuff was. For instance: I wanted to configure EE to allow me to save templates as files. I did manage to do this (no thanks to Boyink, who includes no instruction on the process...more on this later), so now the templates I included are saved as files.

But where? I searched for them in the installation; if they were created, I can't find them. If I edit them offline, then FTP them, where do I put them? Boyink doesn't say, because MY workflow is irrelevant to him. (To give him his due, he says as much, so I was warned...but not before I shelled out my money.)

Another problem is that over and over again, Boyink simply refers you to the EE site for instruction. Here's the instruction on installing Expression Engine:

"EllisLab provides installation instructions as part of the EE User Guide: [url]"

If you want to configure EE to allow you to use your favorite code editor:

"EE is capable of letting you use a text editor - see the EE User Guide for getting that setup [url]"

Understand that installation is not as easy and straightforward as, for instance, Wordpress. (And please note: I don't say this because I love Wordpress--I don't. But there are some aspects that Wordpress absolutely nailed, and installation is one of them.) Neither is the bizarre process of forcing EE to allow you to use a text editor. But Boyink doesn't take any time or trouble to help you through either of them. Surely there are aspects of both processes that could be informed by his experience...but I suppose it wasn't worth his trouble. So know that a great deal of the price you pay for this book goes toward a collection of URLs that explain processes (to the extent that they do so) for free.

Boyink may know EE backwards and forwards, but I don't think he understands the first thing about organizing a tutorial for someone who doesn't know EE at all. That, unfortunately, is typical of the entire population of programmers writing for non-programmers. This entire genre for years has been crying out for someone who can explain to beginners at a beginner's level.
2 people found this helpful
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on October 26, 2012
I am proficient in HTML and CSS, and can get along quite handily in PHP as well. But when I undertook designing an ExpressionEngine website, I quickly found myself in over my head. And the official documentation, while helpful once you know the ropes, is lacking a primer to get new users started in setting up their sites.

Enter this book - an easy, step-by-step, explain-it-as-we-go tutorial on how to set up an ExpressionEngine website from the ground up. It does an excellent job of covering the basics, and even covers more in-depth concepts with a fair degree of thoroughness. And while it would be impossible for a single book of this sort to explain everything that's possible with a platform as powerful as ExpressionEngine, this book did provide a more than ample base of knowledge from which to delve into further possibilities.

This book is capable of teaching most people everything they'll need to know to develop an EE website, and for those who need to go further, it will have made enough sense out of the platform to make the official documentation a useful reference.

With my background, I only had to read the book once to learn what I needed to build my site, and I don't expect to need to reference it again. But the information it provided was an absolutely vital part of my journey toward ExpressionEngine proficiency.

Highly, highly recommended.
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on April 16, 2012
I'm using this book for the second time now and I like it so much I had to come write a review.
This book is easy to follow from page one and flows so well that before you know it, you'll have a working site.
It's probably also a credit to the expressionengine architecture, but after creating my first site with this book, I had no problem with the day to day use.
The only feature I wish this book had is an index rather than just a chapter/section listing in the front.
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on August 10, 2011
I have gone through about the first 30% of the book so far and it has been one of the easiest tech books i've ever gone through. the author assumes you are already have basic knowledge of html and css, which really lets you get into the core of the book which is using expression engine. I basically have no experience with expression engine, and in just a few hours with this book I am feeling ready to start dev on client work. the chapters are short, to the point, and incredibly easy to follow.
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on May 25, 2011
Although I am an experienced software developer, I am new to EE2. I am finding this book very useful -- a nice balance of step-by-step instruction, introducing EE basics, with a discussion of some of the underlying issues/complexities involved in using EE. I appreciate the clear presentation of his particular approach -- how he structures a website implementation within EE, what EE features he uses, and in all instances, why he makes those choices.
3 people found this helpful
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on May 15, 2016
This is a good guide with practical examples. A great introduction to EE.
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on October 11, 2010
Building an ExpressionEngine 2 Site for Small Business is practical. You can have this book open alongside your EE 2 control panel and create a site from start to finish. While Mike sprinkles bits of humor into his writing, the focus is the details. And not verbose, confusing, tech-speak details ... Mike writes like he is sitting next to you, teaching you each step.

And Mike's steps are efficient. I imagine it is because he's worked with EE for so long and has streamlined his processes. And you get the benefit of that experience.

After the first two chapters, you will have already setup templates, "chunked" reusable content and taken a look at EE's Global Variables, Snippets and Embedded Templates.

Chapter 4 is probably my favorite, because Mike shares his EE-specific knowledge, but also that experience he has in the planning process. And planning in advance what template groups and templates you'll need can make your implementation not only easier but faster (I've learned this the hard way).

By chapter 15, you will have a solidly-developed site done. And not just a simple site, one that takes advantage of EE's power with categories, conditionals, and image and file management. The last half of the book is where Mike shows you how to take EE further, implementing a blog, utilizing plug-ins, adding search and forms, performance and query caching, and configuring the system for clients.

Who is Building an ExpressionEngine 2 Site for Small Business for? My initial impression is that it is hands-down the best resource for a newbie. Easy to read, practical and efficient approaches to getting a site set up, and good coverage of the more complex EE concepts and techniques.

If you are an EE expert, I can't say this book is going to change your EE life. However, if you know EE like the back of your hand, but struggle with getting site built efficiently, or creating a system the client can easily maintain and update, or even with your decision-making process, Boyink's book could make you a better developer. Learning his strategic approaches make it worth the money and time.
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on December 26, 2012
I bought this book in e-book format and found it frustrating that it doesn't have a table of contents. It was so frustrating (navigating through the book) that I just decide to take my chances and figure it all out from the documentation. The book really needs to go through professional publishing. The subject matter itself is not bad but it's very geared for beginners.
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