Devot:ee’s Year End Roundup for 2010

December 22, 2010
by Ryan Masuga

In short, devot:ee had an amazing 2010 on a number of fronts. From host hopping to massive optimization to implementing the store and add-on forums, a whirlwind of changes took place.

I'd like to take a moment to look back at what went down this year at devot:ee, give a little thanks, and touch on what we're looking forward to in 2011.

Hosting Hopscotch

We bounced around between different hosts at the beginning of the year looking for more speed, more support, and more reliability. We started at Liquid Web, moved to a slice at Slicehost running nginx, and finally ended up at EngineHosting. We had some initial reservations, mostly because the lack of shell access meant that our Git workflow might be in jeopardy, but this was remedied by deploying site updates using Beanstalk's SFTP deployment tools for Git. We've been very happy with EngineHosting's performance and reliability and have every reason to stick with them in 2011.

The Need for Speed

IMG_5274My reaction shortly after devot:ee was first accused of "page load-time crimes against humanity." Photo © Nate Croft
Devot:ee was the butt of way too many speed-related jokes this year, because we didn't know what speed was. The site was slow and you let me hear it, particularly at EECI in Leiden, The Netherlands. From the minute I landed in the Netherlands I was accused of everything from "page load-time crimes against humanity" to Wouter's' classic "you even slowed down the plane flight." I made it a mission to speed up the site after such public humiliation. We spent October optimizing every single template on the site. We changed the ad delivery method (three times!), reduced embeds wherever possible, and made extensive use of Template Morsels and Switchee to help speed up the site by reducing queries, and it worked. We haven't heard a peep from anyone about mega-slow page load times since October, and we learned an enormous amount of useful information about optimizing ExpressionEngine sites in the process. Win win win.

Add-on Store

The largest additional functionality added this year was the implementation of the Add-On Store. This changed the entire complexion of the site and the commercial add-on landscape for ExpressionEngine. Months of hard work went into setting up the store, and we used the brand new (at the time, still beta) Cartthrob module to build it. It's been a phenomenal success for us, and we look forward to making things in the store even better in the coming year.

Add-on Forums and other updates

We made some large updates this year, and outside of the add-on store, none were larger than the Add-On Support Forums. These are a heavily tweaked implementation of ExpressionEngine's forum module that we used to give every single add-on its own forum. Developers have the option to offer official support for some or all of their add-ons in these forums, or the community can chime in with tips, tricks, or caveats for fellow EE users. We think the add-on forums have been quite successful, and are happy to see developers offering speedy, top-notch support for their add-ons in this area.

EllisLab Official Community Partner Status

Official Community PartnerYou down with OCP? Yeah, you know devot:ee.
This year EllisLab bestowed the title of "Official Community Partner" on devot:ee. This means…well, I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but EllisLab doesn't do a lot of bestowing so we were happy to be bestowed with such an honorable distinction. I think the whole idea was a little nebulous in the beginning, but that's OK. I'm sure we'll find ways to nurture our synergistic efficiencies for the good of all the shareholders. Or something like that. Bottom line is, I think they like us, and this was as official a way as they could make that known.

Speaking Engagements

In 2010, both members of the devot:eem made their speaking debuts. I spoke two times in 2010 about using Git for version control when developing with ExpressionEngine. The first engagement was at EECI in Leiden, The Netherlands, and the repeat performance was at the first ExpressionEngine Camp in Denver, CO. (Resources for that talk can be found at the Git it On page over at Jacob Russell also spoke at EE Camp, and covered various methods of site optimization. We're both on Twitter, and terribly funny, so if you're not already following us you may want to fix that straightaway (Ryan: @masuga, Jacob: @jacobrussell).

Thanks for a Great 2010

Thanks to everyone for such a fantastic year. We really enjoy working on the site, and being able to help other ExpressionEngine developers with their projects.

Thanks to the Commercial Add-On Developers

We want to thank the commercial developers who are selling their items through the devot:ee store. You're putting out some amazing things to help push ExpressionEngine to new levels. The number of developers and the number of available add-ons (both free and commercial) continues to grow every month, and it's really remarkable to watch.

Thanks to Our Advertisers

A sincere thank you to everyone who advertises here. I think @lukestevens said it best recently on Twitter (emphasis mine):
Been out of the #eecms loop for a little while, & damn @devot_ee is useful for finding all the latest + greatest add-ons – even ads helpful!
Almost all of the current advertisers are add-on developers, but we think there could be some real benefit to advertising your shop or service to ExpressionEngine developers all over the world. If you are interested, please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) about advertising rates and availability.

Thanks to You, the Users

Thanks to everyone who frequents the site: the add-on maniacs, the EE-heads, the CMS zombies, and the "I'll buy one of everything" people, the crazy fools waiting for me to write parts 2, 3, and 4 of the Version Control Using Git/EE series (Part 1 is here, but you've known that for way too long). Special thanks to Laisvunas (@laisvis), a true add-on maniac, for submitting so many add-ons–whether his or anyone else's–to the add-on library.

Looking Forward to 2011

We have an extensive project list for devot:ee, from cosmetic improvements to significant changes under the hood. We devote as much time as we can to improving devot:ee. A lot can happen in a year! We're looking forward to attending EECI in New York City in October 2011 (where Jacob will be speaking on ExpressionEngine optimization…while Ryan shakes hands, kisses babies, networks and drinks). We hope you have a lot of ExpressionEngine projects lined up for your business. We'll be here to help you navigate the ever-expanding sea of add-ons that will help make your project a success, and will make you look like a hero in the process. Thanks again for everything. Happy holidays to one and all!


Steven Grant 12.22.10

Wait a minute here…you’ve started a series on using EE with Git? ;-)

In all seriousness, it’s been great to see the site mature over the last year and to the benefit of all in the community and was great to grab a beer with you in Leiden and sample your Matt Weinberg impression.

All the best for 2011 Ryan.

mjd-s 12.27.10

Thanks for all your blood, sweat and tears!

Lee 01.17.11

Bit late in the day, but wanted to say well done guy’s.

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