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Microsoft Kills What EllisLab Buried Eight Years Ago

When I heard of Microsoft’s supposed plans to rebrand their browser as Spartan in Windows 10, killing the tainted Explorer brand, I couldn’t help but dredge up this eulogy that Leslie Camacho and I made almost eight years ago. Also, wow, what a difference eight years makes in the quality of internet video. If you focus on the poor quality of the video, you hardly even notice how corny we are.

Originally posted by Leslie Camacho in 2007:

Please don’t take this video post for anything

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MinneWebCon Ticket Giveaway

We are giving away a ticket to this year’s MinneWebCon in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 13–14. MinneWebCon focuses on grassroots knowledge-sharing. If that doesn’t sound like the ExpressionEngine community, I don’t know what does! MinneWebCon attracts many people who work in public and non-profit sectors, but has something for everybody. It was a no brainer for us to sponsor.

To enter, tweet why you love ExpressionEngine, following the official rules:

  • Tweet a brief reason why you love

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EllisLab <3 the UK

Calling all ExpressionEngine users in the UK (and within a short trip by boat/plane/car), there are two opportunities in March to meet and chat with our very own software engineer Kevin Cupp. He’s coming to London and Rye, England, and will be available at the following events:

The LondonEErs meeting has no topic set other than Kevin lending his ear, and he’s eager to speak to you. The ExpressionEngine Dev Day is focusing on Varnish

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Your Favorite PHP Framework, CodeIgniter, Has a New Home

When we announced that CodeIgniter was looking for a new home, a flood of emails began arriving from prospective candidates; emails which have continued even today. The question was easy: who do we entrust with the framework? The answer proved difficult due to the pressure of making the right choice for you.

We quickly rejected the inexperienced. We set aside those without the assets or time to manage such a large project. And we also turned away those with radically niche ideas for the

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SSL Everywhere at EllisLab

EllisLab.com now runs SSL Everywhere1, making your accounts safer and contributing to a more secure internet. There have not been any breaches at EllisLab.com nor any other reason to panic, we just want to do our part to be good netizens. We have three simple steps you can take as well to be internet heroes.

First, we are recommending that you change your password. Why should you bother? Probably one of these applies to you:

  1. Have you ever used your password somewhere else? Heartbleed

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Improved License Management

For many years we have heard from agencies about the difficulties they have in keeping track of client licenses for ExpressionEngine. Good record keeping is a necessity, and can be as simple as a spreadsheet with the client’s name and license numbers for ExpressionEngine and any third-party add-ons used for their build. On our end we’ve provided a few things to assist, such as a “Notes” field in the Manage Purchases page with each license that can be used for the client’s name or other identifying information.

Even with these things in place, it’s easy after a few years of ExpressionEngine work to have accumulated so many licenses that some fall through the cracks. Many factors are at play: sheer volume, using a base install and forgetting to update the license, transferring some licenses to clients while maintaining others, etc. A far too common result of these many branching pathways and points for potential license confusion are conversations like this one:

End user: Hi EllisLab, we’d like to upgrade to the latest version, but we don’t know how to access the software on your site.

EllisLab: No problem, what is your license number in Admin > General Configuration? We can help you locate your account.

End user: It’s blank / It says <insert license number that is for a third-party add-on> / <insert valid license number that is not owned by the end user>

EllisLab: No problem, do you know who built your site for you?

End user: Yes but we haven’t been able to contact them / no, nobody still working here remembers who set it up.

At that point we try to help the client track down the developer, sometimes with success, sometimes not. Ultimately the developer simply neglected to key in the license number, forgot to purchase a license before taking the site live, or meant to transfer the license to their client but didn’t. To give a sense of scale to the problem, in just the last year clients have collectively experienced almost three years of waiting (25,394 hours) while sorting out their license ownership with all parties involved.

To try to address these challenges more directly, starting in ExpressionEngine 2.9, the Software License number has been moved to its own section of the control panel, and we’ve added a field to help clients (and EllisLab) know who to contact if they have questions about their license.

software license page

Note that this contact email address doesn’t have to be associated with your EllisLab.com account, as this is more for your client’s benefit down the road. In the example above, we’re taking advantage of plus addressing in the email address to use one account but still readily identify the client. If the information on this page is for some reason blank (due to using a base install, or removed from config), the control panel will prompt you to fill in that information to properly register your software. This registration information gets sent to EllisLab1 and when you are logged in, is displayed for you next to the license and your existing notes.

license use info

You will be able to see where the license is in use, as well as the last time the ping occurred. Using this information, you can monitor your clients’ sites by taking a quick glance at your Manage Purchases page and ensure none of your clients have a site that’s been down for months. E.g.: if you see a client site that hasn’t sent a ping in six months, it could be a sign that they need you for some services.

EllisLab has always taken a soft approach to license registration so we treaded very lightly here. You will never be locked out of your software nor will the behavior and output of your site be impacted by this in any way. But now agencies, freelancers, and clients are assured to have reliable information keyed in prior to launching their site, and readily on hand for managing their ExpressionEngine licenses down the road.

  1. We also include the server IP, domain name, ExpressionEngine version, and PHP version. Having that version information allows us to make more informed development decisions, and rather than have a separate ping, we are piggybacking this one for performance. Further, this ping only occurs in the control panel on select pages and with a two week cache, so it will never interrupt the use of your site, your content authors, or your site visitors. 

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Improved Download Management

We have made it a bit easier to manage your software downloads and access previous invoices. On your manage purchases page, you will now find links to your six most recent support subscription invoices in the subscription detail area of the page, and the main table listing now only lists your software downloads.

You can find a chronological listing of your entire purchase history by clicking the “view all invoices” link in the support subscription area. If you have never had a support subscription, your invoice history is already available via the main table. Enjoy!

simplified invoice listing

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ExpressionEngine 2.8.2 Developer Preview

Late last week we released a Developer Preview for ExpressionEngine 2.8.2. Being that it’s a maintenance release, there should not be any changes required to update add-ons for compatibility.

However, since a few add-ons are still catching up to 2.8, we thought it would be best to open up another Developer Preview to provide an additional opportunity for third-party developers to get help from us and to communicate any issues impeding their add-ons from being compatible.

We are constantly looking at how we can improve how we work with third-party developers to enable their add-ons to be ready simultaneous with an ExpressionEngine feature release. We’ve noticed that some developers are having difficulty being ready on time, and we want to ensure that the pathway for them to communicate with our engineers is clear. So we thought we would create a page in our user guide to make it easier for folks to know about the existing Developer Preview Program, enjoy.

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Whole Company Support

Whole company support. We didn’t invent that phrase, nor are we the first company to try it. I’m thankful to the companies who came before us and brought it to our consciousness, as it gave us confidence to give it a shot ourselves. We’ve been trying it since just after the ExpressionEngine Conference last October and I thought I’d share some of our experiences.

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How to Knock Off [a Maker’s] Bag

We typically only blog about software and the web, but since we subscribe to a maker philosophy ourselves, we are inspired and delighted at others who get it, including those in totally different industries. Personally I’m a fan of Dave Munson of Saddleback Leather. He recently published a clever video demonstrating how the thought that is put into every detail and treating nothing as insignificant really makes their products stand out—by giving instructions on how to counterfeit their work. We couldn’t resist sharing.

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