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.
Hosting HopscotchWe 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 SpeedDevot: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 StoreThe 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 updatesWe 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 StatusThis 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 EngagementsIn 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 masugadesign.com) 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 2010Thanks 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 DevelopersWe 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 AdvertisersA sincere thank you to everyone who advertises here. I think @lukestevens said it best recently on Twitter (emphasis mine):