Splash of Style...Macs, Photography, Design, and other Passions

How to Use Sugars in Espresso Code Editor

May 17, 2009 by debbie T | Expression EngineMac SoftwareWeb Design

I have been working with Espresso code editor from MacRabbit, and so far it’s been a good experience, but I wanted to learn more about Espresso Sugars….Sugars are little plug-ins for Espresso. Don’t ask me exactly what they all do, because I am just learning; but I believe they add functionality and coding languages to Espresso.

I downloaded the Expression Engine sugar, since that is the CMS I have been working on. I figured it would be a great help to have the Expression Engine coding easily accessible.

So, I copied the .sugar file into the sugar directory, and tried to figure out what to do next. I felt pretty stupid! I found the Expression Engine codes in the Actions menu, but they were all grayed out. huh? In fact, most of the Actions seemed to be grayed out.

I found nothing on Google, so I figured it was best to ask for help on the Espresso Discussion Forum for sugars. I quickly received an answer from Anthony Short, who I just realized is the author of the Expression Engine sugar! ha! Too funny.

Anyway, he told me Espresso should be able to automatically figure out that it’s an Expression Engine document (which it wasn’t doing) but if not, I needed to set the language for the document under View>Language.


That did the trick! All the Expression Engine coding was magically listed in the “Snippets” panel. The coding also works with code completion, which is a lot easier!

Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently set the language to Expression Engine for the document. Once you close the file or quit Espresso, it reverts back. I hope there is some way to save the document language in the future.

ReDesigning a Web Site with Expression Engine

May 16, 2009 by debbie T | Content ManagementCSSExpression EngineWeb DesignWeb DevelopmentXHTML

I have been a faithful Expression Engine user since 2004. I was lucky enough to be one of the thousand or so people who received free copy way back when. Movable Type had just released version 3, and there was a huge uproar over the new licensing agreement. Pmachine (Expression Engine) decided to take advantage of the bad publicity and give away a ton of free copies (originally $149).

Anyway, I have been a fan ever since. Yeah, version 1.5 might be looking a little long in the tooth, but it works for me. I know they are busy perfecting the new 2.0 version so it’ll be worth the wait.

So, back to the point of this post. I use Expression Engine on another large web site I have. It’s been almost 4 years since I last designed it, and it’s in bad baaaad need of a redesign. It’s true that if you don’t use it, you lose it; a lot of my web coding knowledge has been tucked away into back pockets in my brain, so it’s also been a challenge to relearn CSS. There has been so many new tips and tricks, and the good news is, no need to design for old outdated browsers. I do still need to worry about IE6 users, but further back than that, nope. Done!

So, for the past week or so, I have rolled up my sleeves and concentrated on relearning CSS and the Expression Engine design tags & templates. It’s been a blast. I forgot how much I loved coding!

My Process

I don’t know if anyone will care about my redesign process, but I figured that I would try to document it anyway, at least for my own sake.

Where to start? Read the Rest of the Article

New Website for Expression Engine

April 21, 2007 by debbie T | Expression Engine

I was slightly behind on my web site software updates & site news for WordPress, TextPattern, and Expression Engine, so this weekend, I decided to catch up a bit.

Much to my surprise, when I checked the web site for pmachine.com, I was redirected to a brand new site called EllisLab.

pMachine is now EllisLab!!!

Along with the new Ellis Lab web site, three related web sites were also launched:

Additional related web posts:

Expression Engine Version 1.5 Released

September 10, 2006 by debbie T | Expression Engine

I just (painlessly) updated to Expression Engine 1.5. Looks good so far, but I haven’t really had a chance to check out all the new additions and changes. Most prominently, they added a Simple Commerce module. Pretty nifty!

Related Web URLs

Expression Engine Offering Free Version

December 19, 2005 by debbie T | Expression Engine

How exciting! pMachine.com is now offering a free core version of Expression Engine! This is my favorite CMS and it is great to hear that they are doing this! I was lucky enough (over a year ago) to receive a free 1 year personal license, and I have since renewed my license for an additional year. I highly recommend this software.

Besides this great news, Expression 1.4 has been released.

Expression Engine: Assign Global Variables

November 8, 2004 by debbie T | Expression Engine

I was working on my templates tonight. I want them to be as easy to re-use for other template groups. Since Expression Engine creates dynamic pages, the paths to images, css files, etc can be difficult to keep from breaking.

In other blog programs, I include a homepage or site-root tag when structuring image and css file paths. When the php file is parsed, the site url will be automatically added to the path.

Well, I couldn’t find such a tag in Expression Engines list of tags or variables. The closest I found was the {homepage} variable, but that added ‘index.php’ to the url, which causes the path to break.

Expression Engine allows users to create our own global variables.

I can specify a variable for just one template by including it at the top of the template coding:


Or I can assign a variable to be shared with any or all templates, by choosing Control Panel Home>Templates>Global Variables.

The name of the variable is “weblog_root” so whenever this variable is used in a template, my site root url will be automatically inserted into the coding. For example:

<style type="text/css" media="screen">
@import url('{weblog_root}/colorful.css');</style>

The end result will look like:

<style type="text/css" media="screen">
@import url('http://www.mysite.com/directory/colorful.css');</style>

Expression Engine: Saving Templates as Text Files

November 7, 2004 by debbie T | Expression Engine

It’s been a few weeks since I first started to familiarize myself with Expression Engine. This weekend, I decided it was time again, so I opened up my printed User Guide, and started to read.

Although I am familiar with many blogging systems, after viewing so many complex features, menus, and options, I am still a little intimidated, but excited. The system seems to have everything I need and more!

I started out simple, keeping only one weblog for now. I deleted the original blog, and created a new one from scratch for practice. I found Lisa-Jill’s tutorial on Creating a New Weblog very helpful.

I am starting with the Templates area, and I figure that the best way to learn the tags is to just jump in and study the index template, while viewing the user guide. When I created the new weblog, I created a new Template group with a duplicate of the initial template groups.

Now, I don’t want to work online constantly, so I immediately found the instructions to Save Templates to Text Files. The setup worked like a charm. Expression Engine created text files of the chosen template files.

I downloaded the new directories and files, made a test edit, then tried to re-upload the file to the server. Problems! I was denied permission to alter any file created by Expression Engine, that includes moving, renaming, deleting, editing, or changing chmod.

I posted a note on the EE help forum, which lead me to post a note to my host.

The problem, it seems, is that when PHP is used to generate or alter a file, its ownership is going to be set to “nobody”. So that means my user name didn’t have permission to alter the files since the template directories were chmod 755. The problem was corrected when my host set up a root cron job to change permissions.

Update: After trying to save additional (new) templates, I was now receiving the error: “Unable to save your template as a text file.” (note: the templates previously saved were working fine.)

Other users were also having trouble with this error as well. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized that because Expression Engine originally set the new directory to 755, and because my host was reverting the user name back to me, EE was having a problem recognizing it now. I changed permissions to 777 and saved the remaining templates. Then changed the directory’s permission back to 755.

UPDATE #2: Thanks to Chris at the Expression Engine help forum, I discovered that a recent update to EE fixed the problem I was experiencing with incorrect permissions. sigh all the hours of aggrevation could have been avoided if I just kept up to date with the new system files!

Expression Engine: Auto Login

November 6, 2004 by debbie T | Expression Engine

I was having trouble keeping myself logged on to Expression Engine after closing Firefox. Finally found the answer on pMachine’s help forum.

In the Control Panel, go to Admin > Security and Session Preferences and change the Control Panel Session Type to “cookies only” – this allows a user to remain actively logged on.

Expression Engine: Publish Page Causes Horizontal Scroll

November 6, 2004 by debbie T | Expression Engine

While messing around in the Expression Engine control panel, I noticed that my Publish page displayed a large horizontal scroll in Firefox 0.9. Yikes. I didn’t notice it before, and all I did was import my older Movable Type entries, which created new categories. Hmm, after searching on the Expression Engine support forum, I found a few posts, but not exactly a fix.

* http://www.pmachine.com/forum/threads.php?id=18246_0_22_0_C
* http://www.pmachine.com/forum/threads.php?id=18632_0_19_0_C
* http://www.pmachine.com/forum/threads.php?id=18246_0_22_0_C

UPDATE: (Thanks Farron for the tips!) Problem solved by editing the default css file in the cp_css directory. By editing the width to 70% for the main content wrapper, the scroll disappeared:


#content {
 left:              0px;
 right:             10px;
 margin:            0 25px 0 25px;
 padding:           8px 13px 0 13px;
 width:             70%;

I also deleted the extra code under it:

* html #content {
 width:             100%;
 width:            auto;

The Content Management Decision

October 2, 2004 by debbie T | Expression Engine

My camping web site is in need of new organization (again!) and the decision for a content management system has been made. This was a process that started with choices of Mamboserver, Typo3, Webgui, Textpattern, and WordPress. It ended with a choice of Expression Engine. Read the Rest of the Article