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My essential Expression Engine Add-ons - 23.04.09

Expression Engine is great, and one of the things I love the most is the fact that it’s so easy to extend. If there’s something it doesn’t do, I can have a search around, and often someone will have written something that will do the job.

If not I can write my own! (Do let me know if you’d like me to write one for you!)

I thought a few regular readers might be interested in which add-ons I use regularly. I may be wrong of course, but I’m going to carry on anyway!

At the time of writing, Expression Engine is at version 1.6.7. We all wait with baited breath for the release for version 2.0, when hopefully some of these add-ons won’t be needed. If they are, I hope the authors find it in their hearts to update them! Meantime, they’re essential, and part of the reason I love EE.

Here comes the list…

  • Mark Huot’s File Extension. This has become pretty indispensible for me, since I find clients can struggle with File uploading in EE out of the box. It adds a “File” field type where users can upload directly into the field. Not perfect, and a little fiddly to setup, but a lot easier for users to get their heads round.
  • Solspace’s User module. I find this a much simpler setup for allowing users to register than skinning up EE’s clunky membership templates. Sits right in a normal EE template. Sweet.
  • Solspace’s Freeform. This is an improvement on EE’s contact form, storing responses in the database, allowing for file uploads, and customisable email notifications. They’ve been kind enough to give this one free too! Thanks Solspace!
  • LG Social Bookmarks – a number of clients have been asking for some Web 2.0 “sharing” links and this delivers the goods. It makes it so easy to to add links to bookmark on Delicious, Facebook, Twitter. I use this quite a bit. Thanks Leevi!
  • Lumis Image Sizer – A neat little plugin which resizes images as they’re called for in a template, rather than on upload. This means that we’re not limited to “big image” and “thumbnail”, but we can create a number of different image sizes for a given image. If you specify height and width it even crops nicely (no stretching here!). A great boon.
  • Solspace Form Helper – I find this really handy when creating standalone entry forms and standalone edit forms (which I’ve been doing a lot lately)!
  • Playa – a late addition, which allows you to relate entries to more than one at once. Nice implementation.
  • Solspace Primary category – gotta love those Solspace guys. This allows you to set a Primary category (as the name suggests), and access it in the control panel.
  • LG Add site name – so simple but so valuable. The times I’ve opened up two sites at once, and then copied something the wrong way and ending messing up a site I wasn’t even meant to be working on. Leevi’s plugin adds the site name at the top of the control panel.

A few others that deserve a brief mention – GMS text and GMS Youtube. Coollocation – for geotagging entries, Solspace Tag module – neat tagging, Cloner (really handy for populating a site quickly) and LG Tiny MCE – much as I hate WYSWYG editors, sometimes they’re helpful to clients.

I imagine this list has a lot in common with a lot of other EE developers list of killer plugins. Feels like I must have listed nearly every addon. Hopefully I got most of the links right.

Hope these are useful to you. They’ve certainly been useful to me. Thanks to the various developers! Love your work!

Over and out.


Paul Bell
Boiler Room Digital
Work 35 Abbey Road
NG17 7NH

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