23 - Wrapping Up
With the development of our Portfolio site now complete let’s look at a few things we can do to improve the site experience for both the content administrator and site visitor.
In this post I’ll give you some tips, pointers and links. If you want or need more specific step by step help I do cover these items (and more) in greater detail in my book.
Content Admin Member Group
Your content people probably don’t need to see all of the options in the control panel. As developers we rarely want others to see the ExpressionEngine templates or configuration settings. To hide those mission-critical areas from people not experienced or technical enough to be messing with them consider creating a new Member Group specifically for your content people.
You can read up on Member Groups in the EE docs.
Publish Page Layouts
We have implemented a number of Channels as part of our content model. Some of these Channels use categories, some do not. Some use tagging, some do not. Some are date-specific, some are not. Channels can be different in a number of ways, so there is no reason for the Publish page to be the same for all of them.
You can review the Publish Page Layout documentation on EllisLab.com.
We can use Publish Page Layouts to customize the Publish Page for each Channel and optimize it for the content that specific Channel is storing. Using the Publish Page Layout options you can get rid of tabs on the Publish page, move all fields to the default screen, hide things like entry_date for when the content isn’t date-specific, etc. You can also create your own tabs which sometimes makes sense for things like meta-data.
Publish Page Layouts are Member Group specific, so if you setup a Content Admin Member Group you can assign a Publish Page Layout to that Member Group and keep all the options visible for you as the Super Admin user.
Speeding Up EE
Front-end optimization for ExpressionEngine could be a series of blog posts in itself - but here are a couple of quick-fire settings that can help ExpressionEngine load pages faster.
- Under Admin > Output and Debugging Preferences set GZip Output to Yes. This will cause EE to zip output up for faster transmission to web browers (which then do the unzipping). This can also be set at the server level so make sure to check with your web host to see if it’s also worth turning on in ExpressionEngine.
- Under Admin > Channel Administration > Global Preferences turn on Cache Dynamic Channel Queries?. Since this site doesn’t use future entries or expiring entries we can take advantage of this caching.
- Under Design > Template Manager > Template Preferences Manager select all template groups, all templates, turn on Caching, and set the Refresh Interval to 10 minutes. This will cause EE to create caches of your templates which will (usually) load faster.
You can review all of the performance settings in the ExpressionEngine Data Caching and Performance documentation.
It would also be a good idea to get some 404 Management in place. You can learn the basics in the EE Guide to 404 Management and also in the Web Studios writeup on 404 Management in ExpressionEngine.
And with that, I’m going to call a formal end to this series of tutorials on Train-ee.
If you need additional help feel free to contact me and if I can’t answer directly I can usually point you to other resources.
I am also available for hire for ExpressionEngine development projects, ExpressionEngine training for internal development teams, or for technical writing projects. Please contact me for rates and availability.