Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
NOT helpful for all newbies
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.