2017 Session Videos
Our 2017 videos are available now to everyone on Vimeo. Head on over and check them out!
Powered by the Community
For the first time-ever, EE CONF is truly community powered. The organizing committee is comprised of over a dozen people from different web development companies, all active and in-touch with the EE community. Denver is a new city for EE CONF. With one of the U.S.’s largest airports, Denver is easily accessible from around the world. We’re hosting half-day workshops the day before the official conference program. We’re bringing EE awards back this year, in a new format! The conference will have a combination of full group sessions and breakout sessions for technical and business talks. With an extensive outreach program this year, we expect at least 50% more attendees—including new faces and folks you haven’t seen in a few years. We have special ticket pricing for junior devs. Plus, we are offering ticket giveaways for any sponsor that would like to do a ticket add-on to newcomers.
The EE Awards
Submissions are closed! We’ll announce the winners at EE CONF!
Get recognized for your excellent ExpressionEngine work. EE CONF 2017 awards will recognized excellence in website design and add-ons. All EE CONF attendees and sponsors are eligible to enter. If you have a website or add-on you’re proud of, enter the ExpressionEngine Conference awards! More info
Partner, Lead Designer, Bright Umbrella
Lea Alcantara is a partner and lead designer for Bright Umbrella, a web services agency that builds smart websites for education, nonprofits and innovative business. An entrepreneur and EE developer since 2005, she knows a thing or two about speaking to clients about CMSs and how it aligns with their business. She’s also the other half of the web show CTRL+CLICK CAST (formerly EE Podcast), a finalist for The Net Awards Podcast of the Year several years running.
A prolific industry speaker, EE Conf marks her 28th speaking engagement since 2007! In her spare time, you can find her binge-watching documentaries about food and obsessively taking photos of her cats.
Director of Creative Technology, Digital Surgeons
Adam Chambers leads the team of full stack engineers at Digital Surgeons, a creative agency based out of New Haven, CT. Coming from an audio engineering background and with a penchant for user experience design, Adam focuses on bridging the gap between design and tech innovation — keeping digital experiences as functional as they are beautiful.
Principal, SEO Consultant / Online Marketing Strategist, SEO Web Consulting
Valerie has a passion for all things SEO. With industry accolades in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), online marketing, website analysis, user experience and web usability, Valerie’s approach offers holistic solutions that demystify SEO while turning it into a manageable process.
The end result creates meaningful, engaging, and compelling strategies that drive client’s businesses towards achieving maximum results with success that can be measured through long term improvement in web site visibility, increased brand awareness, and a continuous flow of new sales, leads, and increased revenues.
As a strong proponent for ethical and honest methods and practices of all forms of SEO and online marketing, Valerie is in demand as an industry speaker, educator, writer, and provides ongoing training for companies worldwide.
Owner / Developer, BuzzingPixel, LLC
TJ lives in the Nashville, TN area and is the father of four amazing children ages 11, 8, 6, and 4. He has been married to their mother, the love of his life, for 12 years. He started toward a career in filmmaking by apprenticing to a small film company but slowly (at first) transitioned to a career in web development. The film company’s first website was built with ExpressionEngine and he quickly learned to love it over other systems he came across and/or tried to use.
As a stereotypical nerd, TJ is into several sci-fi franchises, mostly in the form of movies and TV shows, but his first love since before he can remember has always been Star Trek.
Office Manager, Creative Arc
Originally from the east coast, Tracey Dwight packed up her car with all of her belongings (and her cat) and moved to Minneapolis, MN where she did not know a single person. 13 years, a condo, a husband, a house, a dog and two kids later, Tracey has made a home in the Twin Cities. She is passionate about helping small businesses gain exposure and grow sales through social media and content marketing. She currently manages many aspects of her agency’s marketing campaigns, including contributing to their social media accounts, writing the blog (www.creativearc.com/blog), an crafting e-mail marketing campaigns.
Technical Lead, Vector Media Group
Julian is a full-stack developer with a focus on modular, scalable systems that abstract complexity in favor of simple interfaces. Starting with ExpressionEngine version 1.6, he has developed sites and created custom addon solutions for industry leaders Solspace and Vector Media Group. Julian works remotely from Northern Virginia where he lives with his fiancé and a very tiny dog.
Web Developer & Designer, Engaging
Hi, I’ve been building web sites since soon after my first sighting of NCSA Mosaic in a college computer lab, and using ExpressionEngine to build them since the day it replaced pMachine. My personal site is at http://adamkhan.net.
I live in the jolly town of Brighton, England, and like a good half-Englishman I work in the back garden in a wooden cabin.
Right now is an exciting time to consider web sites not only as outward-facing publications but also as internal hubs for organizations to better do what they actually do. The buzzword for the movement is Digital Transformation. As builders of ExpressionEngine sites and systems I believe we can contribute here.
Owner/developer, Creative Arc
Paul lives in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and four children (13, 9, 5, and 2). A graduate of Purdue University, he began his college career as a Computer Science major but ended up with a degree in Computer Graphics. The mixture of these disciplines provided the inspiration to start a web design company in 2003. Creative Arc has been a proud purveyour of ExpressionEngine-built websites since the early 1.0 version.
Nerdy enough to quote Star Wars, Waiting for Guffman, Spinal Tap, and The Princess Bride, Paul also follows nearly every pitch of his beloved Minnesota Twins. He cycles and skis the trails of Minneapolis to stay one step ahead of his kids, rarely succeeding.
Director of Operations, DuBose Web Group
I live in Lexington, SC (just outside Columbia). As Director of Operations and Development, I’m responsible for all of our front and back-end development as well as operations at Dubose Web Group. I love spending time with my family (my Bride, and two sons [6 & 3]).
Owner and Creative Director, Blue Fish
Marcus Neto is the owner of Blue Fish, an advertising agency Mobile, Alabama. He started designing and developing websites back when spacer gifs were a thing. He discovered ExpressionEngine in 2007 and fell in love. Previously, he worked as the Director of Business Development and Product Evangelist for EllisLab. He has worked on hundred million dollar Enterprise Software Systems and $500 dollar websites. He and his wife, Jennifer, are high school sweethearts and have 3 boys, Miles, Preston, and Ethan. He likes photography, design, being on or near the water, and the laughter of his family. Oh… and ice cream, but he has had to cut back on that quite a bit lately as he tries to get back in shape in his old age.
Tim Smith is a designer and frontend developer from Saint Paul, MN. He’s worked on the web for a decade, working with different companies and clients. Tim writes The Bold Report, a blog about design, development, technology, and most importantly, Star Wars. When away from his desk, he spends time with his amazing wife Kelly, eating brunch, watching movies, walking the mall, and other sappy-sounding couple stuff.
Antoinette thinks programming is fun and finds herself in the extremely fortunate position where that fun translates into spendable dollars. Antoinette wants to make technology accessible for all that want to use it: from future programmers to clients with a problem that is best solved by a technical solution.
Antoinette started programming as a teen with the help of HTMLGoodies, Geocities, and that one PHP/MySQL book with the shopping cart example. Antoinette is formally degreed in technical communication, business administration, and software engineering.
Outside of work, she serves as co-organizer and co-founder of Blacks in Technology Twin Cities, serves on the board of Technovation[MN], and recently began her role as chair for next year’s MinneWebCon.
Development Liaison, EllisLab
Robin got involved with EllisLab products in 2002, using pMachine Pro to build a personal site. Since then, her casual interest in web development has grown into an obsession. She’s now a fair hand at PHP and MySQL and enjoys nothing more than seeing what new tricks ExpressionEngine can be coaxed into performing.
Garrett St. John
Technical Leadership Advisor, St. John Consulting
Garrett St. John has worked in the software industry for nearly two decades helping clients solve their business challenges. In that time, he has gathered a wide range of experience in managing software projects and teams that code. Now, Garrett helps development teams avoid the common pitfalls that make projects fail by highlighting poor practices, establishing productive workflows, and training up great technical leadership.
Garrett lives in Parker, CO with his wife, Nicole, and their two kids, Raegan and Jackson. In his spare time, he’s an avid cyclist and homebrewer.
VP of Technology, TradeMark Media
Stephen Tidmore is the VP of Technology for TradeMark Media. He built his first website in 1999 and for a few years post-college, Stephen developed websites for Dell.
After college, Stephen spent a few years as a Web developer for Dell. But then wanderlust struck and Stephen bought a one-way ticket to Spain—launching a six-year journey around the globe. In his time abroad, Stephen built international community service programs in Nicaragua, the British Virgin Islands, and on Native American reservations in Montana. He taught English in Spain. He was an adventure coordinator in Belize.
In all, Stephen has lived in, worked in, or visited 30 countries.
Back home in Austin, Stephen became a webmaster at The University of Texas at Austin before joining TradeMark Media in 2012. As a technical savant and savvy communicator, he’s the perfect person to direct the technology on which our clients build their digital identities.
When not building websites, Stephen loves spending time with his wife and kids, photography (in which he’s highly accomplished), hiking the Greenbelt in Austin, and eating Thai food.
I wear a lot of hats—(X)HTML/CSS/JS engineer, ExpressionEngine and CraftCMS expert, SQL consultant, technology evangelist, and geek-of-all-trades. I’ve been working with EE since version 1.0, way back in 2004! It sounds dorky, I know, but I genuinely love helping clients create solid CMS-backed sites to solve their problems and transform their thinking about what can be done with a website.
Brian VanArsdale has held a number of roles in the technology and digital services industries. Starting as a freelance developer and design/development company owner, Brian moved in-house at Tenthwave, a digital advertising agency, to run their Technology and Production teams. Most recently, Brian was Managing Director at Crush & Lovely in New York City, where he ran the business and production teams in a high-growth agency environment. Through his career, Brian has worked with a wide range of clients from non-profits like the University of California and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to tech giants like eBay and Comcast to CPG companies like Purina and Duncan Hines.
- WorkshopsOctober 11th
- Day 1October 12th
- Day 2October 13th
Class Description: Building a website requires a lot of moving pieces. Some of these pieces can be setup to make your development experience more efficient and pleasant.
What You Will Learn:
- Setup a simple local dev environment using a Vagrant Virtual Machine.
- Automate some of our build process (SASS, JS, Browser Sync, Minify) with a simple Gulp setup that can easily be expanded on.
- Setup our site to work in multiple environments with one configuration (Local, Staging, Production).
- Using Git and Git Flow to best manage our versions and implement changes / fixes.
- How you can use this setup to auto deploy our code to servers when you are ready.
What You Need To Bring: You all need to bring a laptop that is suitable for development. You will be asked to prepare this computer with some free software prior to the workshop.
What You Need To Know: The workshop assumes you know the basic vanilla setup to start working with ExpressionEngine. We will not be writing any code pertaining to coding an actual website. No specific language knowledge is required to complete the workshop.
Technical Level: This workshop does not require any specific technical knowledge but we will be using the terminal to complete a fair amount of the tasks. None of which is very difficult. This workshop meant for people who are not using an automated dev process or maybe are dependent on tools such as MAMP and Codekit. If you are already using the tools mentioned above this workshop is probably not advanced for your skill set.
Class Description: Writing a simple plugin is easier than you think. If you’ve ever enabled PHP in templates, or you’ve done some crazy shenanigans with template tags and thought, “there must be a better way”, or even if you just want to start down the road of taking your skills to the next level, this workshop is for you.
What You Will Learn: We’ll start with simple plugin development (creating template tags and tag pairs). Time allowing, we’ll also dive into module development and possibly touch on extensions and custom fields.
What You Need To Bring: While you can simple audit the workshop and glean information, if you want to follow along, you’ll need to bring a laptop with a working local development environment for EE or EE Core. You can use Vagrant, MAMP, or other (anything that allows you to develop on your laptop).
What You Need To Know: This workshop assumes you have a working knowledge of how to use the ExpressionEngine templating system and control panel. We’ll be working in PHP to create plugins, but knowledge of PHP is not really required. I’ll try to explain things as I go.
Technical Level: Moderate (take your existing front-end or EE site skills to the next level)
Class Description: Nothing impacts the performance and maintainability of your site as much as your template construction. In this workshop, we will take an existing web site and determine how its templates should be built in ExpressionEngine. It will be a deep dive both technically and practically into staying DRY with Layouts, focusing on functionality, legibility, and future proofing.
What You Will Learn: To build smarter templates, faster. Smart templates are easier to maintain, making you a more effective and profitable developer. Already using Layouts? Expect the complexity of your builds to drop without compromising functionality!
What You Need To Bring:
- A laptop with a working, clean installation of the latest version of ExpressionEngine. Anyone without a full version of ExpressionEngine can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a temporary license/download.
- Installed demo site database available on the conference website.
What You Need To Know: You should be familiar with ExpressionEngine tags, templates and URL logic. At a minimum, you should be able to output the contents of an entry on the frontend of the site. You’ll also need a basic familiarity with HTML/CSS. You won’t need to write much of it, but you will need to be able to spot where you’d need to add content to make it appear where you want it.
Technical level: Low/Moderate for both ExpressionEngine and HTML/CSS
Pick up your name badge and conference goodie bag. The registration table is on the second floor of Marriott SpringHill Suites next to the meeting rooms. Serve yourself a coffee or tea from our all-day drink station. Pastries and fruit are available with morning coffee.
Opening remarks from Susan Snipes, chair of EE CONF, on “The Power of Community”, and Derek Jones, CEO of EllisLab, on “The Reason We’re Here”.
Three principles for fostering a team that loves their work and delivers real customer value quickly in a healthier, more sustainable way.
Do your clients understand what you do… really? More importantly, do they understand your value and how their site (and CMS) supports their business goals? Your ability to clearly communicate with clients and prospects can make-or-break a project! In this session, you’ll learn different ways to discuss technical, web and CMS concepts in ways that resonate with clients. EE veteran Lea Alcantara will share real-world conversations with confused clients, and offer practical strategies for clearing up that confusion. Learn how to communicate the value you add to your clients’ businesses by bringing your dev conversations down to Earth!
Refuel with a lunch buffet that includes black bean tomato & roasted corn salad, warm flour tortillas, warm corn tortillas, cheese enchiladas, cilantro rice, chicken & steak fajitas, fire roasted salsa, red onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes and crispy cinnamon sugar churros.
Get more leads, sell more business, and increase the exposure you are getting as a freelancer, or agency owner. Everyone should be concerned with customer experience and sales. Learn how we are building a million dollar agency.
Over the last 10-15 years, the ways people have scoped projects and the ways they have used process has changed greatly. It’s time now to refocus on solving problems for our clients and partners, not merely executing solutions. Through thought exercises and case studies, I will show how a more holistic approach to problem-solving can better position you as a developer, project manager, or business owner.
CSS Grid Layout is gaining more browser support everyday! But what is it? How does it work? Why should you use it? And what are some practical ways you can incorporate it into your project? I’ll show you how CSS Grid solves layout problems we’ve had for years, and how it’s a great compliment to the other layout tools we have.
var_dump() is usually the first thing someone learns to debug PHP code, but it is extremely limiting, slow, and involves guess work. For years its how I debugged, but when I learned how to use Xdebug to step debug my code it was like a light shining down from the heavens. I’ll show you how to configure Xdebug with PHPStorm, and then show how step debugging is superior to var_dump(), and how you can debug your site faster and spend less time using clunky var_dump() statements. This session is intended for anyone who writes PHP or EE template code. You don’t need to know PHP to improve your debugging habits.
Take a break, and have a snack! At today’s snack bar, you’ll enjoy buttered popcorn, soft jumbo pretzels with beer cheese, crackerjacks, and roasted nuts. Continue caffeinating with the all-day coffee and tea service, or switch it up with a soda.
A busy person’s guide to content writing, social media, and automated e-mails. Digitally staying connected to your clients while also juggling other responsibilities, this seminar will review some of our favorite tools for spending time we don’t have on marketing our business.
ExpressionEngine is a very versatile CMS, and that means you can make a lot of choices about how you structure your content. Unfortunately, that very versatility can lead to choice paralysis and to poorly-considered decisions that might bite you down the road. In this talk, I will teach you how to think about your content in ways that help you make it easy to enter & edit, easy to template & manipulate, and extensible. We’ll talk about how and when to use channels, field groups, global variables (with Low Variables), and other tools to create an intuitive, forward-looking content model.
Microservices are getting a lot of attention lately. This talk first explores the why behind microservice architecture and then how to organize addon functionality in a more modular, microservice-inspired way using EE3’s Dependency Injection Container.
Building a CMS based website alone is pretty straightforward. However building a CMS based site with many developers and content editors means a lot of organization as well as a lot of pushing, pulling, and merging of code and database. Our team at DuBose Web has overcome this by using an online development environment called Cloud9. Cloud9 allows us to have many developers collaboratively work on the same code and share the same database, all while allowing for other team members to build out and enter content into the CMS. The best part is that we do all this with almost no code merges, no local dev environment setup, no multiple copies of the database, and with giving our team the ability to work on the project from any location as long as they have access to the internet and a web browser. It’s truly developing in the cloud.
In this talk, I will walk you through our process. I will discuss and demonstrate how we setup our development server, connect to the server through Cloud9, write code on top of each other, use git in a shared environment, maintain development sites and push to production after initial launches, and more. This is the same workflow we use to build our sites as well as maintain 80+ active sites ranging from EE 1.x to EE 3.x. No workflow is perfect, but we have found this to be the best solution for a team of developers and non-developers working on a CMS project together.
Join the EE CONF party on thursday night! All conference attendees, sponsors, and speakers are invited to our party at Tap XIV in the ballpark area of downtown Denver.
Enjoy a delicious Alpine-inspired buffet (part of your conference admission)!
- House Pretzel Rolls + Merfs Beer Mustard Butter
- Wild Greens+Pickled Tomato+Onion+Carrot+Burnt Lemon Vinaigrette
- Merfs Beer Mustard Brussel Sprouts
- Waters Edge Winery Red Wine Beets
- Boulder Natural Meats Seared Chicken Breast
- Castle Rock Meats Bison Meatloaf+ Local Porter Brown Sugar BBQ
- House Made Epic Brewing Spent Grain Cookies
Plus, your first two drinks are on us! Tap XIV has 70 Colorado craft beers on tap, Colorado spirits, and Colorado ciders.
We’ll be on the rooftop deck! We’ll be eating, drinking, playing bags (aka corn hole) or giant Jenga, chilling by the fire pit, and of course, chatting with all your old and new EE friends. You don’t want to miss this party!
Serve yourself a coffee or tea from our all-day drink station. Bagels and fruit are available with morning coffee.
Building software is hard. Now multiply your team by twenty people and split them across three separate projects. Have things gone off the rails yet? Technical leadership is the core of any successful software team. In this talk, I share how to integrate productive processes into your team’s workflow, how to foster a healthy company culture that drives employee growth, and most importantly how to reliably deliver software on time and within budget.
What foundational elements are most developers missing when developing a website in EE? How can agencies provide a value-add to their clients by implementing these crucial elements? This session will reveal the what, where, and why for developing these online marketing elements within EE and how they could potentially launch your site projects to a whole new level.
Next year, Section 508 web accessibility rules grow more robust and detailed. In this specifics-filled presentation, we’ll discuss precisely how you can adhere to these new rules. By the end of this lively discussion, you should be able to:
- Describe why web accessibility matters to everyone
- Implement basic accessibility practices in ExpressionEngine
- Distinguish between the different levels of Section 508 and WCAG standards
- Use basic principles to build websites that adhere to the newest rules
- Test your websites for accessibility errors
If you’re able to guarantee that you meet Section 508 standards, you’ll be able to build more, bigger, and more respected sites.
Having built a few higher-profile sites, as a small business we were forced to up our game with regard to server monitoring and alerts. Everything from the mundane: alerting SSL/Domain renewals to the more serious: OUR SITE IS DOWN, will be covered in this presentation. The specific tools I have in mind are Pingdom (external) and Monit (internal). Aside from the general health of a server/site, topics will also cover the customer service and maintenance aspect of such monitoring.
Performance for even the best of developers can sometimes be elusive. This presentation will focus on three key areas: best practices for ExpressionEngine performance, best practices for server performance, and best practices for appeasing Google Page Speed. Whether you’ve just started building websites, or you’re a pro with eleventy bajillion years of experience, this presentation will doubtless contain something you can glean.
Freeform discussion about add-on development.
Refuel with a lunch buffet that includes chinese ginger peanut salad, crispy vegetarian spring rolls, Teriyaki chicken, steamed pork buns, vegetable stir fry, & steamed jasmine rice, Chinese sesame doughnuts, and fortune cookies.
Why and how to work with clients to develop their ExpressionEngine web sites into full-blown online systems, particularly systems that digitize their business processes.
Take a break, and have a snack! At today’s snack bar, you can build your own trail mix with granola, nuts, toasted coconut, chocolate chips, and dried fruit. In addition to the all day coffee, tea & water service, assorted sodas are available.
In a world where design driven businesses thrive, flexibility and customization in content creation is imperative. We must move away from page templates and rigid content management tooling, and instead build component-driven UI kits that enable users to design unique branded content on the fly. In this session, Adam will walk through the benefits and building blocks of component driven design, development, and content management.
A unique community forum where round table panelists are nominated by conference goers at the event. Moderated by Derek Jones, CEO of EllisLab.
Marriott Springhill Suites
Located in the vibrant LoDo section of Denver, Marriott Springhill Suites has the proud distinction of being the first LEED Gold® hotel in the city.
How to Get Here
Take the RTD train “A” line from the airport to Union Station in downtown Denver. (The conference venue is about 7 blocks from Union Station. Marriott SpringHill Suites provides shuttle service within a 2 mile radius of the hotel. Call Marriott SpringHill Suites to request their shuttle.) You can also take a taxi, Uber or Lyft from the airport.
Book your Room
Our room block is full! You may call our contact Brittany at 720-439-2885 to see if there are any rooms available. Otherwise, try another hotel nearby. (There are numerous hotels within a one mile radius.)