My ExpressionEngine 3 wishlist

We pretty much know there’s going to be a version 3 of ExpressionEngine at some point, but as we know Ellislab don’t give away many secrets. That is until recently when it was mentioned by Ellislabs’ Chief Creative Officer James Mathias in a Nublue blog post.

Now the cat is out the bag perhaps it’s time to throw some ideas into the ring (hope you’re listening out Ellislab!). We know Ellislab is working hard because there have been some excellent additions recently, Grid, Template Layouts, Template Routes, new caching options, several new tags, parameters and variables and the rest. We hope this momentum continues into EE3.

To start the ball rolling here’s my top 10 things I’d like to see in EE3…

1. Categories

  • Proper custom fields, any Fieldtype
  • The ability to just call child categories of any level from category tags

2. Members

  • Proper custom fields, any Fieldtype
  • Get rid of outdated standard member fields (who uses AOL any more?), or at least give us the option to disable them
  • Ability to use regular templates for all member profile functions

3. Custom field groups

Enable multiple field groups to be used in any channel. It makes sense, prevents duplication of similar groups, more efficient use of database tables, and offers better field group management.

4. The Rich Text Editor

The addition of the default WYSIWYG was most welcome but it’s still a bit flaky.

  • The ability to properly configure toolbar sets for use per field as required
  • Give me options to specify things like H1, H2, H3 as separate toolbar buttons
  • A code formatting button would be very useful
  • A table formatting button
  • Would be nice to have buttons for things like del ins abbr small cite and the other useful inline elements
  • A Definition List facility would be fantastic but that’s a complicated one
  • figure and figcaption would be awesome
  • Remove RTE preferences from Member preferences, it’s dangerous!

5. Dates

The ability to use date fields without the time part, many clients find it fiddly to modify them. Perhaps split the date input field into two fields, the date and the time. Failing that offer a time select in the date picker.

6. Revisions/workflow

I’d welcome a proper workflow system where entries can be created or duplicated as revisions or drafts. Perhaps store revisions in a separate database table and overwrite the live entry on commit. It doesn’t have to be an all singing all dancing affair, just the basic functionality, 3rd party developers can offer the bells and whistles.

7. Generic Title and URL Title fields

If you add the ability to add field instructions to the Title and URL Title fields I’ll buy you a beer. Just add the fields in Channel Preferences. Simple.

8. System messages

The ability to run Email notifications as regular templates. That’s all.

9. Template sets

What? Template sets? Let me explain…

Currently we only have the facility to manage one set of template groups on a site, but what if that was extended to allow multiple sets?

Here’s what we have now:


But envisage a system when multiple sets could be added:

/templates/1 * (current active)

/templates/2 (inactive)

There’s a bunch of possibilities here:

  • Allows a new template set to be deployed to a live site without committing any changes
  • Switching to the new template set would be as easy as switching the “Default group” as we have now
  • Very easy/quick to switch back to the previous version with minimal downtime
  • Useful for special circumstances, for instance extreme traffic spikes where you need to run a minimal layout/content structure for a short amount of time
  • Multilingual sites?
  • Use different sets combined with member permissions?
  • Separate public site and intranet?

10. The control panel

Pink? I can’t see it. Being colour blind I just see dark grey, but for you 20/20 people I understand.

  • Simplify, distraction free
  • Focus on key tasks
  • Remove as much bloat as possible to make it super fast
  • Responsive would be nice
  • Snippets and Global Variables to use the standard template edit field (want nice indentation!)
  • Perhaps use a separate CSS file to make custom themeing easier without having to overwrite the standard global.css, that way customisations aren’t overwritten when upgrading CP themes, or…
  • …let’s have some settings where we can define specific key CP colors, /system default font(s) and optionally add a custom logo

Oh and while I think of it the spellchecker still wants to change “ExpressionEngine” to “Expression Engine” or “Expression-Engine”!

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