The Guide to ExpressionEngine® Development

Veteran ExpressionEngine professional Ryan Masuga shares with you a practical method for developing ExpressionEngine projects and version controlling them with Git. Foreword by Derek Jones, CEO of EllisLab.

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The Guide to ExpressionEngine Development by Ryan Masuga

Be a better ExpressionEngine developer right now.

Masuga Design has developed ExpressionEngine sites of all sizes since 2006. I'm sharing everything we know about putting together ExpressionEngine projects and versioning them with Git. We have tens of thousands of hours of experience and now you can benefit immediately by reading The Guide to ExpressionEngine® Development.

Make More Money With EE

If you can competently and repeatedly produce a solid product and sell your ExpressionEngine skills with confidence, you're going to be able to charge more money for your services. Our rate has tripled over the last few years, and I believe after reading this guide you'll feel confident enough to charge what you're worth.

Separate Yourself From the Pack

Your client isn't just buying an ExpressionEngine site - they're buying you. So what separates you from any other EE shop? It's the details. With my practical advice on setting up and customizing EE projects, you too can make your clients sing your praises.

Topics Covered In The ExpressionEngine Guide

How should I structure my project? What security measures can I implement? How can I best customize the CMS for the client? I answer these questions and more by drawing from our years of experience developing with ExpressionEngine.

Project Organization

Project Organization


I show you a sensible way to structure an EE site for secure, no-nonsense development. It's the method Masuga Design uses to build EE sites.

Version Control

Version Control


How do you version control an EE site with Git? What should I ignore? How do I set up a development site? I answer these questions and more.

Security

Security


Security is critical for your websites, and EE makes security easy–if you take advantage of it. I show you quick methods to make your sites more secure.

Multiple Environments

Multiple Environments


Not a hardcore command-line person? Don't worry: config and database file setup for working locally and deploying remotely that isn't overly complex.

Customization

Customization


Customizing an EE site is easy, beneficial for your clients, and will help set you apart from other shops who don't go the extra mile.

Common Sense Advice

Common Sense Advice


Using war stories from the trenches, I offer a lot of common sense when it comes to putting sites together (and maybe a couple rants).

Stories

Stories


I've seen some…interesting…setups and situations. I use these experiences as examples to explain how we solved things differently.

Resources

Resources


From ExpressionEngine Answers to URL Schematics to the devot:ee forums, I discuss various EE resources and their relative merits.

From the Foreword

"Even those with many years of ExpressionEngine experience will likely find something new and helpful. If everyone adopted the practices in this book, it would be a net gain for ExpressionEngine-powered sites as a whole. I am more than happy to add this book to my recommended reading list for all ExpressionEngine users."

Derek Jones

Derek Jones

CEO, EllisLab, makers of ExpressionEngine

Read the related blog post at ellislab.com

What People are Saying

Susan Wohlgemuth, Developer

I learned a lot from the book about better ways to set up the site and having a master config.

—Susan Wohlgemuth, Developer
Jean-Michel Dentand, Developer

Your guide is very useful, and I often go back to it.

—Jean-Michel Dentand, Developer
Dean Matsueda, Designer and Developer

Your EE book is fantastic!

—Dean Matsueda, Designer and Developer
Julian Matthews, Developer, The Story Group

Your first book fundamentally changed many things we do.

—Julian Matthews, Developer, The Story Group
Andrew Armitage, Developer, A Digital

Found the guide really useful thank you – still referring to it as we try to reduce some of the 'technical debt' on our early sites.

—Andrew Armitage, Developer, A Digital
Richard Whitmer, Developer

It's useful to see another developer's insight on how to use features. That's what was valuable for me in your first guide. I wish I'd had it a few years back when I started building EE sites.

—Richard Whitmer, Developer
Nick McNeill, Interactive Director, The Brandon Agency

We bought your book for a new dev that did not have any EE experience. It's very well done and has been a great resource for him. Thanks also for devot-ee. It's been a super valuable resource for my team over the years.

—Nick McNeill, Interactive Director, The Brandon Agency
Randall Ward, Developer

The guide was helpful, especially git sections and your config setup.

—Randall Ward, Developer
Tom Spetter, Developer

Your ExpressionEngine guide was awesome, thanks!

—Tom Spetter, Developer
Steph Boudreau, Developer

I enjoyed your guide for EE2 - there were some parts that were far more useful for larger sites than I generally work on, but I like the knowledge!

—Steph Boudreau, Developer
Pontus Madsen, Founder, Design Director, Big South

Your book changed a big part of how I work with EE, so, thanks! Love the book.

—Pontus Madsen, Founder, Design Director, Big South
Andy Gosling, Developer

Your guide has been incredibly useful - I’ve learned so much from it and it has increased my understanding of how ExpressionEngine works ‘under the hood’. The information on version control was particularly valuable. Many thanks for producing the guide - it’s become indispensable!

—Andy Gosling, Developer
Joe Bibby, Developer, Visual Yeti

The Guide ExpressionEngine Development has been an invaluable reference for me. Developing new sites got a whole lot easier and I still reference it regularly before, during and after development.

—Joe Bibby, Developer, Visual Yeti
Black Belt Designs (@BBDOKC)

Just finished reading . Great guide! So much common sense shoved in your face. Small things that dripped out over time.

Black Belt Designs (@BBDOKC)
Todd Richards (@wbdzynr)

Yes, I’m lame and boring, but the is one of the best things I’ve purchased for my business since my Mac Pro (and cheaper too!)

Todd Richards (@wbdzynr)
@outofcontrol

Just finished ! Some great pointers to improve your EE workflow, worth the investment.

@outofcontrol
Richard Whitmer (@panchco)

well that just made my life easier the past 2 weeks. Thanks

Richard Whitmer (@panchco)
Josh Conner (@_JConner)

Thanks to I'm rewriting templates that I wrote yesterday because he's shown me a better way.

Josh Conner (@_JConner)
@PhilBrienesse

I have developed with #eecms for years now but I have a feeling I could still probably learn a thing or two from #eecmsguide. Intrigued!

@PhilBrienesse
Sean Smith (@CS_sean)

Just read the first chapter of @masuga book on EE and Git. Definitely a good read. Highly recommended http://eeguidebook.com/ #eecmsguide

Sean Smith (@CS_sean)
@outofcontrol

@masuga Half way through. Definitely has very good value for advanced #eecms devs. #eecmsguide

@outofcontrol
@dreadfullyposh

Skimming through @masuga's #eecmsguide. Some good stuff in here. #eecms

@dreadfullyposh

Tweeting about this guide? Use hashtag #eecmsguide

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About the Author

Ryan Masuga

Ryan Masuga


I've used ExpressionEngine professionally since 2006, and Masuga Design frequently uses it for client projects. I started devot-ee.com in 2009 to support the ExpressionEngine community. View our ExpressionEngine page for more info on Masuga Design's extensive experience using EE for projects of all sizes.

I live in West Michigan with my wife and three children.