We recently shipped a new video series on the Command Line Interface. In addition to this, we’re about to jump into another series on ExpressionEngine Pro.
We’re planning to make a lot more videos, and cross-reference them in the docs, to help people come up to speed a bit faster.
While we have a list of topics to create videos of already, we would love to hear your thoughts on what you would like to see covered.
So, what videos would you like to see added to ExpressionEngine University?
I would like to see an ongoing series that starts with downloading and installing ExpressionEngine and throughout 50 or so videos implements one thing at a time to build a complex site. We could lead into each item with reasons why someone might want to implement it, and then demonstrate the best ways of implementing it, while also talking about other options that could be available.
For example, one video might be “Setting up Comments in ExpressionEngine”. We would talk about different settings available, and then select the ones that make the most sense. This would also help someone who is just looking for how to set up comments in EE, rather than burying it in a larger video. And with the feature-set of EE, this series could go on for a very long time, with each video adding something useful to the site.
If we wanted to take it even further, code could also be available on Github to let people follow along with the exact commits made. It would make it easy for someone to see the flow of developing a site and have the actual template changes/config changes/custom add-on development shown in the series.
I agree that if you are making videos for training, to mention some of the (common) multiple different ways to achieve the same effect/output. I.e. Relationships instead of Categories. Discuss the pros and cons (performance, managability, access to native/built-in functionality) of each, and why some project goals may dictate one over the other. If you’re so inclined, maybe also include referencing some third-party (are EE Harbor add-ons still considered third-party) add-ons that could also be used.. Tags, instead of native categories, for example. On large complex sites, the data quantity, management, and performance may end up dictating different approaches.. But, for smaller sites, each of any different approaches may be equally suited.
(I think this type of training/discussion/examples also helps improve the overall EE project community so that more EE sites are built “appropriately” for the needs and goals of particular projects… which only makes EE look better to everyone).
As someone who reaches for written documentation, rather than videos — yay for more ways of getting people up and running with EE, obviously, but my hope would be that this would be in addition to continuing to improve the core EE documentation, and my worry would be that it might take (limited) time and effort away from that. Written documentation should IMO be thorough and definitive and polished, with video guides running as icing on top of that. In general, the quality of the technical writing associated with core EE could use a bump.
Some good ideas so far! For me, being more of a designer than a developer, I’ve always liked EE because it was easy enough to build some pretty complex sites without being a hardcore developer. Sometimes I read about a new feature, or parameter, or something and I’m not sure how it translates to a real-world site functionality. So anything that takes a feature or plugin or whatever, and relates it to a real site need, I think is helpful. An example, start with an issue like “This site has product entries, and a user needs to be able to filter those products on the front-end”, and work from there, talking about setting that up with categories, or any other option.
I think tutorials that feature EE Harbor addons would help with addon sales and help people understand how they improve on the built-in stuff. Third-party plugin devs should be making their own tutorial videos, IMO. Seems like it could help with sales.
I also think tutorials should be posted on other sites, with lots of followers, like Smashing Magazine. Good way to get traffic and get the EE name out there. I don;t know if they do video tutorials though.
For newbies to EE:
I think categorizing videos into beginners and advanced will be a must. And IMO, beginners are ones who need videos. Most advanced users can pick it up reading docs.
Also, each video should have a specific goal. Like persons should be able to set up a basic comments and display it after watching it. If they cannot, it is just didn’t serve the purpose.
As someone else said, lot of the times, I am not sure how this feature looks like when it is implemented or what is the purpose from reading the docs.
The most important IMO: Also would help to think that these videos should be editable in the future when you get feedback. The problem with most videos is that it gets outdated and nobody gives feedback to improve them since they think it is already made. In this day and age, videos should be as easily editable like docs!