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Building Websites with Expression Engine 1.6 - 20.04.09

I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve been doing some training on Expression Engine. My client already had a headstart, since he had already read a new book from Packt publishing – Building Websites with Expression Engine 1.6.

The lovely folks at Packt were kind enough to send me a copy for review. Here are a few thoughts on the book.

The book claims to be suitable for people who know HTML/CSS, and I would agree. Expression Engine requires a good knowledge of HTML/CSS, so this makes sense. I found it gives a good summary of how EE works. My client, who was new to EE agreed. He’d managed to set up XAMPP, and install EE on his local server, and work through the exercises, which is testament to the value of the book, and the user-friendly-ness of the exercises.

What’s needed when teaching Expression Engine is some guidance as to the best workflow, and I think that’s what the book provides.

Presentation-wise, the book is clear, if not beautifully designed. Similarly, the example site (selling Toast!) could have been more beautiful.

From the publisher’s point of view, the timing may not be ideal as version 2.0 is on it’s way, at which point this book may be less relevant. The Photo Gallery module gets a whole chapter, but it’s about to be removed in the next version, so that wouldn’t have been my emphasis.

A couple of other observations:

  • I didn’t see pagination mentioned, and the {if segment_2} conditionals break if you do use it.
  • It would be helpful to explain how to style the membership templates – this is something clients nearly always ask for
  • It would be nice to make mention of a few choice add-ons which are widely used, although I guess these are personal preferences, and so it might not be that easy to choose which ones to include. I intend to blog about my choices soon.

Overall, a useful book for those getting started with Expression Engine.

Here’s a sample chapter, exclusively for readers of this blog:

Here’s the link if you’d like to get hold of a copy.

It’s available as a download or paperback.


Paul Bell
Boiler Room Digital
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