• 32:10

Episode number: 85


with Amy Witty


Lea and Emily kick of the new year talking about “newbEE” experiences with special guest Amy Witty. Amy discusses how she found out about ExpressionEngine, her interaction with the community and her learning process. Lea and Emily share their own EE learning experiences, including some of their favorite resources from Mijingo and Creat-ee. We also detail new resources from Train-ee and EllisLab designed especially for the new EE user.


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Episode Transcript

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Lea Alcantara: You are listening to the unofficial ExpressionEngine Podcast Episode #85 with special guest, Amy Witty, here to talk about her experience learning EE. I’m your host, Lea Alcantara, and I’m joined by my fab co-host,

Emily Lewis: Emily Lewis.

Lea Alcantara: This episode is sponsored by EE…


Lea Alcantara: You are listening to the unofficial ExpressionEngine Podcast Episode #85 with special guest, Amy Witty, here to talk about her experience learning EE. I’m your host, Lea Alcantara, and I’m joined by my fab co-host,

Emily Lewis: Emily Lewis.

Lea Alcantara: This episode is sponsored by EE Coder, the EE experts who play well with others. Do you sometimes wish you had a trusted partner for your projects? EE Coder brings over 30,000 hours of EE experience to companies with needs like yours. Let’s chat! Contact eecoder.com.

Emily Lewis: The ExpressionEngine Podcast would also like to thank Pixel & Tonic for being our major sponsor of the year. [Music ends] Happy New Year, Lea!

Lea Alcantara: Happy New Year! Did you do anything interesting over the holidays or New Year’s Eve?

Emily Lewis: No, I took a completely easy. I did get stuck with jury duty once again. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Oh no. [Laughs] A curse.

Emily Lewis: That’s like my fourth time since September. So that kind of has taken up a good chunk of my holiday time. On New Year’s Eve, I just made dinner at home, stayed in and relaxed. How about you?

Lea Alcantara: That was kind of similar to me too. I took it really easy this year. I read a lot.

Emily Lewis: Nice.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and that was something that I used to do so much before I started freelancing. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Are you talking about fun reading or like technical books?

Lea Alcantara: No, fun reading.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs] Nice.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, exactly, like nothing about HTML. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And that was a lot of fun, and on New Year’s Eve, I also took it easy. The first time in years I think that I didn’t go to a party or I didn’t host anyone or go to someone’s house. It’s just me and Rob having dinner, and it was nice.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I like taking things easy these days. Working for myself, the downtime I just value it so much.

Lea Alcantara: I totally agree. So let’s get started with this episode! Being the new year, and also with EE Core being free and available again (for those that don’t know) I’m sure we’ll get a new crop of EE users in the following months. I think it’s certainly a great time to be a new EE user since there’s way more resources now than ever before, so we want to focus on the newbies, those who are just dipping their toes into EE, and you and I chatted and we thought, “Well, what better way to do so than talk to a recent convert?”

Emily Lewis: Right. Well, I had first noticed Amy on the Twitter #eecms. She was getting started with ExpressionEngine and reaching out to the community, and so I reached out to her through email and asked if I could write an article for The Pastry Box Project about her experience with the community, and then you and I just thought that she would be a great guest to have on our podcast.

But before we introduce Amy, I did want to bring up, you mentioned a second ago that we’ve got a bunch of new resources available for folks new to ExpressionEngine. I sort of wanted to cover those first before we dive in and talk to Amy. Mike Boyink had reached out to us to let us know that he and Marcus Neto were putting together a resource for newbies. You corresponded with Mike. Do you want to tell our listeners a little bit about the new resource, and what it’s got in it?

Lea Alcantara: Basically, it’s a one-page ExpressionEngine at a glance link and explanation repository, so anything and everything that you want to know about ExpressionEngine from a marketing standpoint to the general tech overviews like server requirements, stuff like that. But it also has a whole bunch of community links and Meetup links, and even the link to the high-traffic sites, but it has so much more than that. What’s also cool, it’s going to have a video demo of Marcus demoing ExpressionEngine as well.

Emily Lewis: I was looking at this resource today, and it’s phenomenal. Obviously, I’ve been using EE for a few years now, but I thought that for me, it’s going to be a fantastic sales and marketing tool. I particularly love how they break down the features of EE mentioning the specific modules that come, the different types of member management features, security features, commenting, everything, and it’s simple.

This is the beauty I think of what Mike does with his resources is he doesn’t overload it with tons and tons of content and texts. He gets to the point, and it’s a great go-to resource. I think I’m going to be using this frequently this year.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and that’s an interesting point that you made, two points that I noticed you made. One is that it’s a great sales possibility, a sales tool to perhaps show a client who isn’t familiar with ExpressionEngine, “Here you go, here’s like really literally everything beyond the EllisLab website, if there’s more information that you need, and here’s a bunch of things to help get you started.”

But the other thing is that you and I have been using ExpressionEngine for numerous years, but just because we have doesn’t mean that we memorize [laughs] every single aspect of the software. So having just this as a reference, I think, would be great.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, he’s got a section in the features for typography that I wasn’t even aware of. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Oh, that. You see, there you go. There you go.

Emily Lewis: I’m thrilled they put this together.

Lea Alcantara: Beyond that, of course, most newbies would be looking at the native resources available to them, which is from EllisLab themselves, and I reached out to Derek Jones and asked if there was anything that they specifically would be pointing new people towards, and he let me know that they actually refreshed their user guide back on December 18th. So they kind of re-jigged the sections and reorganized where all the links were and relabeled a bunch of things, but beyond just that kind of user experience refresh, they also added two new sections which I thought were pretty cool.

One was just the very, very basic hello world how-to, like you’re very, very first ExpressionEngine site that something renders. But probably even cooler for those that are really starting new with EE is that they have a how-to of building a simple new site from start to finish. So they kind of go step by step by step, not into like this huge comprehensive site, but really they’ve kind of go through all the basics of setting up a fields and your templates and the entries tag and all the way until it actually renders everything that you expect it to render step by step. So I think that’s going to be very useful for those starting out with EE.

Emily Lewis: I think just like I was saying about the new trainee resource, this resource isn’t too dense. It’s just the step to sort of get you started, maybe start making the connections about how custom field groups get tied to channels, how a template enters the picture, and just to get you familiar with the very basic concepts, and I don’t perceive it to be intimidating at all. I think it’s really straightforward and simple and would be a great resource I’d point any person to.

Lea Alcantara: Yes, absolutely.

Emily Lewis: I’m glad they’re doing this. This is one of the things I’m pleased with. Maybe this is part of their revamped mission that they announced at the end of the last year, and I think it’s great that their tutorials aren’t only coming from third parties, but EllisLab is also putting its own tutorials out there, but not making them too dense, but keeping it simple. I know when I started, I got really overwhelmed with ExpressionEngine, I think partly because “weblog” was so confusing to me.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees] Just the labeling, right?

Emily Lewis: Yeah. Like we didn’t have channels before Version 2. We had “weblogs,” which just confused me. I think this does a really good job of introducing someone. It’s pretty great.

Lea Alcantara: Cool. So when you got started though, there were probably other third-party training resources that you worked with.

Emily Lewis: For me, it was Mike Boyink’s tutorials for building a church website. That’s what I had started with, and I just went through each of those. I know he since offered many more resources and has a book out there that I often reference. In fact, it’s right here next to me.

And Mijingo. I’ve never used any of the EE specific screencast, but I’ve used the resources that he’s put together for like Pixel & Tonic’s Playa and the Securing ExpressionEngine, and those are fantastic resources too. Again, really straightforward, to the point, easy to absorb.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and what’s interesting is I’ve used both Mike’s stuff as well as Ryan’s. Mike is the one who’s behind Train-ee, and Ryan’s stuff which is behind Mijingo, and they both offer something different to the same thing. Because to me, I like to see more than one way to build the same thing because maybe there’s a better way to build it for a particular project because each project has its own needs, and another third-party training resource that I’ve used recently is Creat-EE.

Emily Lewis: Oh, you did. Did you take one of their classes?

Lea Alcantara: I took, and this one actually really helped me when I was trying to build a membership site. I took one of their slightly more advanced courses where they were trying to explain how to use DataGrab and the Solspace’s User Module together, and I just wanted to see him actually show me how he did it. So those little things that take you from beyond the beginner things that I think Creat-EE does a really great job.

Emily Lewis: One of the best things I think about what EllisLab is doing and community members are doing, they are putting all of these different types of resources together. As you said, there are probably 20 different ways you can attack a project in ExpressionEngine, and so that you can sort of see how other people are doing things.

But also people learn differently. I’m not great at following videos. I watch a video and I make notes and then I go back and follow my notes. So I do better with written resources whereas someone else might do better watching a video. I think it’s great we’ve got such a wide variety.

Timestamp: 00:10:12

Lea Alcantara: So we’ve babbled on for a little bit now. Maybe we should ask our newbie guest, Amy, a little bit about what she thinks. Emily, why don’t you introduce Amy?

Emily Lewis: So Amy Witty is a website designer and developer, and owner for Witty Web Design out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her previous life, she was an engineer in corporate America. She’s always looking for the best and most efficient way to do things, maybe that’s why she decided to give ExpressionEngine a try. Welcome, Amy, thank you for joining our podcast today.

Amy Witty: Thank you for having me.

Emily Lewis: Thank you so much for joining us, especially right after the New Year, and we do know that you’ve been under the weather the past week, so we really appreciate it.

Amy Witty: Okay.

Emily Lewis: Can you tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself? You’ve mentioned that you’re a website designer and developer on your website. Do you also do back end programming, or are you referring to front end development?

Amy Witty: Well, I kind of do a little bit of everything right now. I’m a freelancer, of course, and I run my own little shop of just me, and so I’ve kind of done whatever the job needed at that time.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Amy Witty: And so I’ve learned a lot of different things, so I kind of can create a website from start to finish, so all of the parts of it. I’m certainly better at some parts than others, and I sometimes get help from a graphic designer that I know for certain parts of it, but yeah, I like to do the backend stuff a lot. That’s really my favorite part.

Emily Lewis: Oh. Well, it’s interesting that you say that because ExpressionEngine is often cited as like a tool that’s a favorite amongst designers, front-end developers. So Amy, what made you decide to pick up EE? Was it something that your project required, or had you heard about it and wanted to try it for a project?

Amy Witty: Well, actually, I have a longstanding client who has one of their website that they wanted to redesign and really strongly wanted to have the ability to edit their own content without having to pester me all the time, which I don’t mind at all, but they wanted to have much more control over every little detail of what the content is. So we decided that a CMS or a content management system was probably the way to go, so I dug around a little bit and did some research.

I’ve got some experience with some like Drupal and WordPress, but hadn’t used ExpressionEngine. I’d heard of it, but I hadn’t really figured out what it was yet even. So what I did, I just looked around and found some information on the web about ExpressionEngine, and I decided to look into it a little bit.

Lea Alcantara: But what did you find that made you want to look into it compared to, say, WordPress or Drupal?

Amy Witty: Well, it sounded like a really flexible, configurable tool, and I know that from the little that I found on the web that they were lots of people that design and develop for ExpressionEngine and they all seem really excited about it. So to me, the first thing I noticed is that there’s an enthusiastic group of users that recommended and use it a lot, and so that sounded like something I wanted to check out.

My experience with Drupal and WordPress, well, WordPress has got a pretty good following. Drupal, I think, is really complex and I’m not a big fan, and I know that the more you know about each of those things, the less complex they seem and the more that you can use them. But I really just liked what I heard about ExpressionEngine, and I like the fact that people who are using it a lot were evangelizing about it, it seemed like almost.

Emily Lewis: So when you decided to look into EE, was it something that you needed to sell your client on, or did they trust you to pick whatever tool that you felt most comfortable trying?

Amy Witty: It was more of the latter. I think they’ve trusted me to figure it out.

Emily Lewis: So speaking of figuring it out, how did you first tried to get yourself up and running?

Amy Witty: Well, when I was even trying to decide on EE on which CMS to use, I put a post on Twitter on the #eecms asking, well, actually it wasn’t even on the #eecms because I didn’t know about that yet, but I put out a post asking people for a recommendation on an easy to configure, customer-friendly or client-friendly CMS to use, and I used the Grabaperch handle in there because Perch is another CMS that I was looking at and found some good things about, and I think that Perch retweeted that tweet, and they’ve got quite a bit of exposure and I got a lot of responses.

So lots of people are giving me ideas, and many of them were about EE CMS, and some about Perch, some about Statamic and WordPress and some other littler ones that I had not heard of. But I decided through that to start with ExpressionEngine. So I went ahead and I downloaded the developer version or the freelance version, I think it was called, and I bought Boyink’s book, Building an ExpressionEngine 2: Small Business Site, which I think Emily you referred to.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Amy Witty: And I went through that book, and just tried to start building the site in the book. Now, I had trouble because I started out trying to do it on an existing remote testing site that I have at a remote web host, and that web host, although they seemed to have all the requirements needed to run ExpressionEngine, when I installed it, I got a white screen, which I couldn’t figure out and I didn’t know enough about ExpressionEngine at that time to know what that white screen even meant, and so I went on to Twitter again and I threw it out there and I got lots of responses. Somebody had replied to me from my original Twitter tweet saying that, “Hey, you should use the #eecms because that’s where all the experts hang out.” And I’m like, “Okay.”

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Amy Witty: So I posted to that group and there were several people who jumped on and said, “Okay, well, that white screen could probably be this or it could be that. It’s probably a database connection problem.” And so I went back and forth with my web host, and long story short, it turned out that it was a problem on their end and they had to move me to a different server.

But at that point, I had kind of given up on trying to do the development remotely and I decided to do it locally so I had to figure out then about WampServer because I’m running Windows. I have a Mac too, but I’m more familiar with Windows because I’ve done a lot of ASP.NET and I run Visual Studio and IIS and all that. So I had to install WampServer and then get that going and then make sure that it played well with IIS because they do local websites on that too.

So anyway, so I had a lot of speed bumps on my learning process especially at the beginning. So I hope I didn’t make too much of a nuisance out of myself on the Twitter feed, but everyone was really helpful and friendly, and they surely didn’t make me feel like I was being a pest so that was…

Emily Lewis: I thought it was fantastic. I mean, as I mentioned when I first reached out to you, that was where I first noticed you, and for me, I was just watching your Twitter conversations.

Amy Witty: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: And it literally warmed my heart that our community stood up and were like, “We’re going to help you. You’re going to love it.” [Laughs] It just made me feel really proud of our community members.

Amy Witty: Oh, they were so great. Yeah, because there were people that were offering – they sent me screenshots of things. People were offering to Skype with me to talk about it and look at my configuration. There was someone else who looked at a Google Doc that I had made that had like my basic channel layout and stuff like that. I mean, people have been just very, very helpful.

Lea Alcantara: And do you think that’s unique to this community?

Amy Witty: Yes, yes, I do, and maybe partly I don’t know where to look for the other communities. It’s possible, but let say, for example, with ASP.NET like I’ve had times when I’ve just really been banging my head against the wall on something and my Google searches don’t turn up an answer to my problem, and I maybe post something on Twitter, and I probably don’t have the right audience or I don’t know the right hashtag to use or whatever, but I don’t get any responses, and I can search on there and I don’t really find it. I haven’t really found any kind of community there. So it’s possible that those exist for WordPress or Drupal or Joomla or some of the other ones, but I certainly haven’t used them or found them, so yeah.

Lea Alcantara: I find that really interesting because I would consider ExpressionEngine currently as a bit of a niche community, and for example, ASP.NET is huge so is WordPress, and the fact that with someone asking for help, using obvious terms like ASP or something like that and not getting a reply is kind of sad, and yes, simultaneously said and shocking considering that you’d expect some sort of response.

Amy Witty: Well, and then it might just show my ignorance about where to look, but it’s not really obvious to me where to look for help for those things.

Emily Lewis: Well…

Amy Witty: I looked at some forums and things, but it’s just not…

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I think that alone also says something about EE. The members of our community are pretty tuned in. I know people who are monitoring not only the #eecms , but just EE or the term “ExpressionEngine” and they’ll jump in. It’s almost like we want to add you to our club, you know? [Laughs]

Amy Witty: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs] It’s so true. It’s so true.

Emily Lewis: But the other thing aside from how impressed I was with the community response, I was also really impressed with you, Amy, because it seemed like you weren’t afraid to ask questions. I mean, maybe you were, but it didn’t seem that way, and I know when I started, I was so afraid of sounding dumb.

Amy Witty: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: It’s hard when you’re starting something new to admit that you don’t understand what’s going on, and so is that your nature to just sort of really be open about questions, or was it something where the responses on Twitter made it easier?

Amy Witty: Well, it’s something I have learned, I think. I used to think I was a smarty-pants.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Amy Witty: I really did, and then I went to college at MIT, and when I got there, I realized there were so many people smarter than me. Well, I did fine there, and I graduated and I went on to do other things. It was humbling for me, and now I realized that it’s okay to ask questions, and as long as I try, especially on Twitter, I really try to make sure that I’ve researched as much as I can before I ask a question just because I don’t want to waste people’s time. So there have been times when I’ve said something that I kind of wished I hadn’t said it so quickly. Most of the time I’ve thought about it pretty hard, and I want to make sure that I give the respect to other people’s time if I’m asking them a question. So I guess I’ve learned it, and I think it’s a good thing.

Timestamp: 00:20:15

Emily Lewis: I think that’s a lesson anyone new to absolutely anything should embrace, just being able to ask questions. No question is stupid.

Lea Alcantara: I just wanted to ask a little bit about the other resources you might have tried to tap into before you went on to Twitter to ask. So where would you go before you decided to ask a question on Twitter?

Amy Witty: Well, I look at the ExpressionEngine user docs, and I’m very eager and interested to hear that you said that they have just recently redone those, because I didn’t know that, and I’m going to go and look at those when we’re done with the podcast.

Lea Alcantara: It sounds good.

Amy Witty: [Laughs] Because I thought that they were a little bit lacking before, to be honest.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Amy Witty: I didn’t think there was really any good example to follow to get started, and you almost had to know like what term to look for to find.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Amy Witty: It was like a glossary almost. So I’m eager to try that, but I did look there, and then I would look in the book, Boyink’s book, which I thought was really helpful, but he does some things that he admits in the book that like he doesn’t use plugins or add-ons, he only uses the things that are native, except at the very end when he uses Matrix, which is good. But when I got to the part where people are leading me to say, “The answer to your problem would be best served with an add-on.” So that the book has that sort of premise, and then I would also do Google searches. Now, there is the Stack Exchange site that answers questions that I can look at, but a little bit of everything really.

Lea Alcantara: Speaking of the Stack Exchange site, have you been delving into that area a little bit?

Amy Witty: I have a little bit. I think a lot of it is technical and over my head at this point, and unless I have a specific problem, and with just reading through, it wouldn’t probably be the most interesting reading. But I do browse through and look at the titles and dip in and look at some of them every once in a while. Yeah, I do.

Lea Alcantara: Have you ever found the need to use official EllisLab support? Have you asked them official support questions?

Amy Witty: I did post an official forum support request early on when I was having trouble with my remote web host, and I did get a response from someone there, but honestly, I couldn’t tell you who it was, but a very friendly and supportive person trying to help me. It was a little slower than I think the rest of the community’s response, so it didn’t end up being overly helpful at that time, but yeah, I did that. That was my only interaction with them in that way really.

Emily Lewis: So once you’ve got answers to some of those roadblocks you mentioned, what was your kind of process for building the site? Were you going through Mike Boyink’s book and trying to apply it to your project, or did you just try and build ad hoc as you understood things from reading?

Amy Witty: Well, initially, when I went through the book the first time, I did take it and apply it to my client’s website because at that time, I had thought that we had agreed that we are going to take the site exactly as it was and convert it to CMS to make it interactive.

Well, as the project has evolved, it become obvious that we really needed to redesign the whole thing with a new user interface graphic design and all that stuff. So I kind of then just kind of went through the book and continued with my own little dummy site and then later when now it’s my real project I’m starting over, I’ve taken it a little bit differently.

I’ve gone back and looked at which things should be in channels and which fields should they have and they which field types should they have, and try to figure all that out kind of from the basic structure, and I guess that’s kind of how he does it in the book too, but yeah, just kind of starting from scratch from my memory and then doubling back into the details.

Emily Lewis: What would you say the learning curve was like on a scale of one to ten with one being really easy and ten being really hard.

Amy Witty: Oh man. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Because for me when I started, it was a 20. [Laughs]

Amy Witty: Okay, okay. I’d say I hate putting numbers on things like that. I’d say it was pretty hard, maybe a 7, but I don’t know. Because really, one of the powerful things about ExpressionEngine is that it’s so customizable and so flexible and powerful, but that’s also a downfall in trying to learn it.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Amy Witty: Because if you have all these years of experience, you’d know, “Oh, I’ve got this kind of a site with this kind of data, it’s going to have these sorts of challenges, and this, it will lend itself well to this structure.” But really I don’t have any of that experience yet, so I’m just kind of trying to figure out how to start where, what things should go where, and so it’s been hard.

But it’s nice. I mean, I’ve got a database background. I get databases, and while they are called channels here, it’s the same basic idea. You’ve got tables and fields and whatever, so I understand the structure. It’s just a matter then of how to pull it into the website and make it do what you want it to.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I mean, even looking back, and Lea, I was looking at our EE Podcast site and how I built that. Oh, I just want to redo it.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Amy Witty: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: I know.

Emily Lewis: It’s like five big sites since then that I’ve approached differently, and it really is like Amy said that the experience starts driving how you approach things.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: And the more experience you have, the more nuanced approaches you can have.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, absolutely, like when I’ve looked at my own site, it’s probably the worst site that I’ve ever done, you know? [Laughs] And it’s a constant reminder of how far I’ve gone as well because every time I do need to tweak something, it’s like, “What? What did I do here?” That process is just ongoing and continual with any CMS, but I think especially with how ExpressionEngine has matured with the community and the add-ons that are available. Because I know, Emily, you didn’t use Low Variables until this summer, and didn’t you say it revolutionized. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Completely.

Lea Alcantara: Like…

Emily Lewis: I’m building things completely differently now.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, exactly, and then you just add something more developer like Stash and then that adds another level of freedom perhaps to your templates if you want to move away from using too many embeds, but I’m looking at other sites that I have, sites that still currently exist and I still currently maintain, and right now, don’t have the budget and time to update it to anything. It’s using a ton of embeds, because that’s how we used to make it. That’s how it was done, and I still have the PDF presentations of past EECIs that showed you “this is how it’s supposed to be done.” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Yeah, it is an evolution, and I do think that evolution is picking up as more and more add-ons enter the marketplace that allow you that sort of advanced flexibility, for lack of a better phrase. Speaking of add-ons, Amy, you mentioned and referencing Mike’s book, and he doesn’t really use add-ons often. Did you have an opportunity to use any add-ons with this project?

Amy Witty: Yeah, and my project is ongoing, but so far I’ve used Playa and I’m going to use Matrix, but I haven’t really delved into it yet, and I think I’m going to use Low Variables. I’ve been playing with it, and it is really neat.

Lea Alcantara: Cool.

Amy Witty: It could take away a lot of those embeds and snippets and all that which I honestly is still kind of sorting out in my head too.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. I’m curious you mentioned you got the freelance license. This was before EllisLab changed their licensing structure. I’m just curious. Was the price points all a concern for you or your client? Would a free option at that time have helped you explore ExpressionEngine sooner?

Amy Witty: Yeah, I think it probably would have. I deal with small budget clients. This client is one of my probably higher budget clients, but still every $200, I mean, that’s a dent in the budget for sure. So if it had been free, I think we obviously went ahead and bought it anyway even at the $150 non-commercial license whatever for my non-profit academic clients. So we would have done it anyway probably.

But I think if the Core had been free, that would have given me more motivation to look into it on my own, although honestly, I think I had some awareness issues. I didn’t really even know what it was or what it could for me.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Amy Witty: Until I had to dig in to CMS.

Lea Alcantara: Interesting.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I think that’s one of the challenges our community faces is that sort of awareness. We’ve talked about that a little bit a couple of episodes ago, and I do hope that EllisLab’s sort of renewed energy putting together a good documentation and good information that hopefully that will increase awareness in the broader industry about our CMS.

Speaking of the sort of changes at EllisLab, Amy, I’m just curious, were you aware of some of the changes that EllisLab announced, I think it was in November or so with changes to their licensing and how they were handling community partners and things like that. Did any of that cross your awareness?

Amy Witty: Yeah, I usually keep tabs on the #eecms, and I don’t watch it all the time, but I check in a few times maybe and just kind of see what people are talking about, and yeah, it seems like there has been a lot of activity going on there, and some positive comments and a lot of concerned comments. People upset about the licensing changes, and I don’t know all the details, so I’ll admit that up front, but it does seemed like there has been a lot of changes, and I don’t know. That makes me a little concerned about their future and everything. Is this the steps in the right direction or in the wrong direction, I don’t know enough about it yet to know that.

Lea Alcantara: Sure.

Emily Lewis: I don’t think anyone does at this point. It’s still too new to say.

Amy Witty: Okay.

Emily Lewis: Although I mean, it certainly lends itself to positive change, I think, but I think it’s interesting that you know it that even as someone who’s new to the software, but it did create a few concerns for you as well. You almost can’t help it when you see negative comments or concerns expressed on Twitter, and they are maybe out of context, if you haven’t read all the posts about all the details and stuff.

Amy Witty: Right.

Emily Lewis: But I know it’s certainly concerned me. I feel less concerned now. I definitely do personally.

Timestamp: 00:29:51

Lea Alcantara: So before we wrap up, Amy, do you have any pieces of advice for those trying to start with EE, perhaps ways they could ease the pain points that you had that you know now.

Amy Witty: Oh, I wish I had some better advice. I think that taking those resources that you too have been talking about earlier on in the show would be good. I think I certainly recommend Mike Boyink’s book. I really do, and I see that on his website, he says he’s in the process of updating it, but it’s been an invaluable resource. I think that the videos from Mijingo are good. I did buy them and I started the first one, but I think I’m in your camp, Emily, watching the video isn’t really my cup of tea.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Amy Witty: But I do intend to go and watch them all at some point. I don’t know, and then I guess just being willing to ask questions like we’ve been talking about. I certainly would love to have some more newbie voices on the #eecms site.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Amy Witty: Maybe it’s something that I can even help answer because so far I’ve been the one asking more than the one answering, that’s for sure.

Emily Lewis: Now, do you think you’re going to use EE again outside of this project, for a different project or a personal project?

Amy Witty: I sure like to.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Amy Witty: I think it’s a really nice tool, and there are some really, really elegant things about it. I’d like to use it again, yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Okay. Well, thanks Amy. I think that’s all the time we have for it today.

Emily Lewis: In case our listeners want to follow up with you, Amy, where can they find you online?

Amy Witty: Well, you can find me at Twitter @amywitty or you can find me at wittywebdesign.com. It needs a little update like you said, Lea, on yours. [Laughs] Yeah, I guess that’s about it.

Emily Lewis: Great, thanks again, and Happy New Year!

Amy Witty: Thank you. Thanks for having me. Happy New Year to you too!

Lea Alcantara: Perfect. [Music starts] So now, we’d like to thank our sponsors for this podcast, EE Coder and Pixel & Tonic.

Emily Lewis: We also want to thank our partners, EngineHosting, Devot:ee and EE Insider.

Lea Alcantara: Also, thanks to our listeners for tuning in. If you want to know more about the podcast, make sure you follow us on Twitter @eepodcast or visit our website, ee-podcast.com.

Emily Lewis: And don’t forget to tune in to our next episode when we’ll talk about SEO and digital marketing with Dana DiTomaso. Be sure to check out our schedule on our site, ee-podcast.com/schedule for more upcoming topics.

Lea Alcantara: This is Lea Alcantara

Emily Lewis: and Emily Lewis

Lea Alcantara: Signing off for the unofficial ExpressionEngine podcast. See you next time!

Emily Lewis: Cheers!

[Music stops]

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