There’s probably a lot of good reasons to go with WordPress, but if you’re a single developer ExpressionEngine might be worth considering. Please allow me to present (*drum roll*) “The Top 10 Reasons The EE Community Is A Better Place To Be For A Single Developer / Entrepreneur”
1. You Don’t Have To Worry About GPL Related Bullsh*t
The GPL discussion is all the rave in the WP community these days. In fact, it has been for a good while and many of largest premium theme providers for WP has already GPL’d their themes – with one notable exception; Chris Pearson, the creator of Thesis, a very popular premium theme. Matt Mullenweg (of WordPress) has criticized this very openly, and it’s now speculated that the only way to solve this is in court.
Anyway, to make my point here ExpressionEngine is as we know a commercial product. Which means that you can create commercial addons, commercial themes, commercial whatever – without worrying about being infected by the GPL virus.
An example; most of the people reading this blog has heard of WooThemes, one of the most successful theme providers for WP. Try to google “WooThemes” and you’ll most likely get this:
So someone is selling all their themes as a bundle for $10. And they’re doing it all legally! Because it’s GPL. It’s a scumbag move, sure – but it’s legal. (Sidenote; WooThemes continues to be a very profitable business because of excellent support which is basically what they’re selling – and because most people want to do the right thing I guess, which is buying the themes directly from them of course).
This is not something you have to worry about as an ExpressionEngine developer.
Note; you still have to think about licensing though, as the whole “Brandon-Kelly-Did-I-Really-Creative-Commons-That?”-EEMatrix controversy demonstrated.
2. The Affiliate Program
Being a commercial product ExpressionEngine has an affiliate program. You get the money deposited to your PayPal account each month with personal thanks and gratitude from the ExpressionEngine team.
This point is not to be underestimated. An affiliate program means you can blog and talk about ExpressionEngine and make money from something you would normally do being a part of the community.
Are there a lot of affiliate programs for WordPress? Sure, popular addons like Gravity Forms, most premium theme providers like WooThemes and Thesis have their affiliate programs but that’s not the same – the EE affiliate program is for the CMS itself; everyone working with ExpressionEngine needs to buy a license.
Demand for EE 2.0 is through the roof (so much so they dropped the free version, everyone was paying). And they might as well buy a license after reading one of your blogposts :-)
3. There’s Money Here – People Are Used To Paying
EE is the choice of professional designers etc. delivering websites to clients. I don’t know about you, but if an addon or theme can save me one hour, it’s definitively worth $60.
People using EE are comfortable with paying for services that save them money or time. As mentioned in the previous point EllisLab dropped the free EE Core version since no one was using it anyway. Most were paying customers.
Some communities consist of people who expect everything to be free. The EE community doesn’t. And that’s good for a third party dev!
4. We Have An Addon Store Just Like Apple
Here’s a screenshot of a sales report courtesy of Ryan Masuga:
This means you can create commercial addons, have them listed on the “official” EE addon store and make money without worrying about setting up a webshop etc.
5. You Can Be Famous In Six Months
The WordPress community is huge. I don’t know but there are probably hundreds of relatively known WP developers. The EE community – not so big. About 10 – 20 relatively known developers. If you create 3 addons you’ll be invited to speak at EECI2011, hehe. In six months you can make a dent in the WP community or you can be a f*cking EE rockstar. Your choice.
6. It’s MVC And It’s Easy To Get Started
With 2.0 EllisLab made a great choice of going CodeIgniter all the way. This means that your EE addon is a CodeIgniter module, with helpers, libraries, views etc. EE comes bundles with CodeIgniter, and you can harness the power of the CodeIgniter framework in your EE modules. Nice!
And of course, I can’t write this blog post without plugging my own DevKit addon which is an addon you use in your development environment to create the skeleton of a new addon.. check out this video:
Yup, it’s easy to get started, so give it a go!
7. If You Create Something Nice EllisLab Might Embrace It
Take a look at the Community page on expressionengine.com. Sites like EEInsider, Devot:ee, Show EE, Director-ee etc. are all sites created by third-party devs and taken to heart by EllisLab (creators of EE). It doesn’t even have to be a unique or new idea, just a nice implementation.
Also, it could be argued that some of the most popular commercial addons for EE (Structure, SolSpace’s Tag for instance) in reality is pretty basic functionality that should be added in a CMS (pages/tagging). I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling EllisLab likes the fact that there’s a commercial sphere around EE and that they don’t want to step on too many third party toes by incorporating this functionality into EE (and therby destroying the market for these third party addons). Of course this is just speculation from my side, and it can be argued this is a bad thing – but for a third party dev this is a good thing^TM .. And yeah, Brandon Kelly’s FieldFrame is just the exception that proves the rule.
If you create something nice you might be featured on ExpressionEngine.com – and if you make a living selling an addon the ellisphant in the room might just let you continue with that.
8. The Twitter Stream Is Actually Maintainable
The #eecms twitter stream can actually be followed and read, without much noise or spam. It’s a nice pace. You take the weekend off, have a couple of beers or enjoy some quality time with the family, then come back and see what happened while you were away. Try that with #wordpress .. it’s more like “grab a coffee and see what happened while you were away” :-p
9. You Can Deliver A Website To Your Client And Then Forget About It
Ok, this last point might be a bit FUD’y but still – I make sure the WordPress blogs I deliver to clients are always kept up-to-date for all eternity. I mean who wants to see this in the Google search results (image courtesy of Pearsonified):
Everyone doing WordPress knows: you update when there’s a new version out, or else you might be at risk. Belive it or not; it’s not like that with EE. You can actually chill and not worry about these kinds of things happening. There’s very seldom a security patch, and if there is one there’s not enough people using EE for the Viagra mafioso to bother anyway.
Of course, that said, it’s always good practice to upgrade your clients to the latest version anyway, but with EE it can wait until tuesday ;-)
10. There Is No Ten
Do you really need ten reasons? There was only 9, that should be enough for anyone. If I added another reason it’d probably be some standard one about EllisLab’s great support etc.
So let me finish with this; if you’re interested in checking out EE buy a license (don’t bother with the free Zend encoded trial IMHO, buy it and you’ll get the source and be able to debug, see what’s happening under the hood, etc.) – say hello in the forums or in the comments below or to me on twitter, follow the #eecms hashtag – participate in the discussion on Twitter, and of course don’t forget to subscribe to my feed if you enjoyed this post.
What do you think? Are there other benefits about the EE community? Was I a bit too generalizing somewhere? Is WordPress really a MUCH MUCH BETTER CMS AND EVERYONE ELSE MUST DIE? Let me know!