Building an online project board with ExpressionEngine: Part 1 - Laying the foundation.

When I set out to create an online project board powered by ExpressionEngine, I wasn't sure how the project would turn out. After seeing the setup that the guys at Panic created, I immediately lusted after it, but quickly realized that I didn't need all of the bells and whistles that they were implementing. My solution needed to encompass two main aspects. It needed to be simple and it needed to be clean.

Before working on any of the interface elements I made sure this project had a solid foundation and would be able to give me the information I was looking for when I needed it. As mentioned in my latest Thinking Out Loud post, preventing scope creep was important, but some additional items did find their way into the process.

Custom Fields are your friend.
The main reason I opted to build the project board with ExpressionEngine rather than creating my own front and backend system was the sheer power that's under the hood of an EE system. I can create a custom template, a custom input channel, and top it off with custom fields that will do exactly what need them to do. In short, it's the smart thing to do.

Custom Fields

Custom Fields

Making a list and checking it…many times.
After setting up the template and the channel for the project board, I needed to set up the fields that would make everything work. After jotting down some initial ideas that I needed, I began thinking about this project down the road and had visions of where I could take it and what it could turn into. The result was a list of entry fields that go beyond what a project board needs, but laying this ground work in the beginning will make expanding the functionality easier in the future.

Power and flexibility.
I've never paid too much attention to the Custom Field possibilities that ExpressionEngine offered until I began working on this project. Once I started looking around, I was shocked at the variety of field-types I could choose from. I had wanted a dynamic, JavaScript-driven date box to handle my project Start and Due dates, figuring I'd need to either build one myself or find a suitable option through searching. No need. One of the field types is a calendar-style date selector. Here's a brief list of other custom field-types:

There are some additional field-types that become available when you install select plugins and modules.

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