ExpressionEngine is a great content management system to develop with but can use a little help making it as client-friendly as possible. So here is a list of add-ons for making your clients experience working with ExpressionEngine as easy as your experience developing with it.
Backup, Storage, Automation
The one thing you are almost guaranteed with any client is, they don’t backup, ever, even if they have the tools to do so. The other thing they can have trouble with is dealing with files. So here are a few add-ons to help with both.
The cool thing about Backup Pro is it comes with a free version, that has many of the features of the paid version. So there is no real reason not to give it a try.
Check out the free version here: http://mithra62.com/projects/view/backup-proish/. It also shows a comparision of the free and paid versions so you know what you are getting.
The paid version can be found here: http://mithra62.com/projects/view/backup-pro/
Automate a lot of the functions of your website.
A cleaner, better presentation of files in the CP.
Sadly, ExpressionEngine doesn’t come with a simple way for clients to add and edit their site’s navigation. Luckily, there are a few add-ons to help with this.
Structure is able to manage both Pages and your navigation with one add-on.
The Pages module in ExpressionEngine works, but can be confusing for users, especially when specifying a URI for the page and selecting the correct template to use.
A replacement for the Pages area of the CP that makes it easier for clients to select the template they need.
I already mentioned Structure above with navigation because… it can be used for both.
ExpressionEngine has relationships but nothing quite as extensive as Playa.
The control panel is pretty functional but isn’t easily customizable. A lot of times you want to simplify as much as possible for the content creators. Here are a few control panel themes and some other add-ons to improve or alter the functionality of the CP.
Create custom Publish Layouts based on templates, not member groups. Pretty handy.
Adds lightbox functionality to the CP for setting instructions for clients. Allows you to make some pretty complex instructions with images if needed. Something even the dumbest clients can figure out.
This one is great for when you have different sets of content for different entries in the same channel. Set up separate publish layouts in a per entry basis.
Easy Page Links
An add-on that includes a list of pages from the Pages module when you click on the link button for a channel field. A nice and simple way for clients to make internal links within a channel field.
View the CP from the front end of the website and make edits in a modal window.
MX Extended Content Menu
Redirect different member groups to different areas of the CP when they login.
CP Menu Master
Alter the CP menus by hiding channels, adding submenus and other changes.
Zoo Flexible Admin
Completely customize the CP menu.
Replaces Edit Channel Entries area of CP with lots of other methods of filtering your searches like categories. Useful for sites with tons of channels and entries.
Switchboard is live search engine for the Control Panel. Search entries, channels fields, add-ons, templates, everything from anywhere in the CP. Great for developers and clients alike.
Control panel themes to make the CP “prettier”, less pink, or add additional functionality.
Pretty much the only way to do table based data or photo galleries in ExpressionEngine. Not a must have for every EE project but pretty close to it.
Personally, I like using the default xHTML Text Formatting for custom fields but if your clients need to make more style changes, a WYSYWIG editor is the best option.