Quick Update; ExpressionEngine Struggles

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I haven’t posted on this blog for a long time, mostly because we’ve kept ourselves quite busy hunting for, then buying and renovating a house in Concón, Chile. After 5 months of remodeling, we finally moved in last month and we’re very happy to have made that choice which satisfies both our heads – we’re convinced it’s a great investment over the long run – and heart – outstanding direct view on the ocean, lots of space, our kids love it. There’s easily two or three years of additional work ahead to get our dream home out of it (and home office – did I mention we’re across the street from the Pacific ocean?) but we’re starting to be nicely settled already.

On the web publishing tech front, we’ve been working with ExpressionEngine for a bit more than a year. We like it for the most part, but still have several unresolved issues:

  • 404 pages that actually work in all cases. Documented issue with some leads into a resolution, on our to-do list.
  • REST search results with clean URLs. The default EE behavior is a major design flaw IMO, but don’t all CMSs handle search terribly in their own ugly way? Solspace recently released a beta module that looks promising, we have yet to play with it.
  • Making dev/staging/production management and deployment easier. We use SVN (with Unfuddle) and are looking into moving to Git. Some people have posted how they do it but it seems no methodology is entirely seamless because EE insists on storing some settings in the database, which makes portability across servers more of a chore.
  • We have struggled with comments/spam but contrarily to the previous points, it’s not necessarily that there’s a problem with the product, we just under-invested time to get it right. Obviously still on the to-do list.

Still, EE is way more manageable for us than our old model of using one WordPress installation per site, thanks to EE’s multi site module. I guess I wish more advanced features came right out of the box. We still have a lot of work ahead to execute all our ideas. That sort of stuff just never ends. Just like fixing and improving a house I guess! (Half horrified, half amused exclamation mark.)