EllisLab is channeling its energetic growth into commercial markets, formalizing community resources as official EE "projects", and releasing a new product called MojoMotor, said company executives during their keynote address at the ExpressionEngine/CodeIgniter 2010 conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Each of the company's major figures took the stage to present a condensed overview of the past, present and future of EllisLab's products and community. But it was future news, of course, that garnered the most positive reaction from the crowd.

A New CMS Product -- MojoMotor

The most exciting segment of the presentation was about MojoMotor, a new CMS product described as "less" than ExpressionEngine that has no separate control panel and integrates all administrative functionality into the public-facing pages. A 3-minute demo set to blaring electronica blasted through features unseen in existing EllisLab products, including, for the first time, a WYSIWYG editor, a drag-and-drop site page hierarchy control and what appeared to be a one-step design import tool.

Derek Allard, EllisLab's technical architect, declined to get into specifics of MojoMotor probably because of the short time available, but promised demos and answers to the many questions raised, later in the day. [Editor's note: CMSWire will bring that to you in a separate story this afternoon.]

ExpressionEngine 2.1 Loses Beta Label

Also announced about the near future: ExpressionEngine 2.1 will be the next version of EE to be released, and it will drop the "beta" label that has hindered adoption of the next-generation, CodeIgniter-based version of ExpressionEngine, said Chief Technology Officer Derek Jones.

Jones played coy with the crowd, saying only that "Barring any security issues or critical bugs, the next release will be EE 2.1" but only that this would occur "soon," which brought laughter from the crowd. The previous version of EE came out April 30, so speculation was high that this would be a fairly short wait.

The Value of Community

Company president Leslie Camacho took his segment to focus again on one of his most frequent topics: EE's community as EllisLab's best feature, a refrain also echoed by Rick Ellis, CEO. He talked about the ways that the community has stepped up to develop resources that they haven't been able to develop internally. Camacho announced a new program of official community partners; the first three they've chosen are:

  • Devot-ee, which has been the defacto archive for EE add-ons, is now EllisLab's official community add-on catalog and store.
  • EEInsider, is now the official community news source.
  • Show-ee, is now the community site showcase.

These projects will continue to be independently run -- in a nod to the near universal presence of Apple laptops, Camacho said "We love Apple, but in this case, we want to be un-Apple-like". But the community partner sites' content and functionality will perhaps integrate directly into the main ExpressionEngine site, though the mechanism for this remains unclear.

And to go along with this fostering of community growth, EllisLab announced the hiring of Leslie Doherty as the new community architect, bringing EllisLab's staff to 14 people.

Building Powerful Commercial Solutions

"We see you as application developers, like people building software for Mac OS X," Camacho said, introducing three third-party e-commerce solutions who were name-checked in the keynote -- FoxEECartThrob and ShopIgniter. These, Camacho said, are examples of what EllisLab would like to foster: the use of EE and CI as not just a CMS but as an application platform that enables the developers who use the platform to create independent, powerful commercial offerings.

"ExpressionEngine's market is in commercial licenses," Jones said. To back this up, Jones revealed the 5-year shift in the types of licenses sold by EllisLab. In 2004, 20% of licenses sold were of commercial licenses, but by 2009, that had climbed to 69% while just 31% were non-commercial (personal plus non-profit) licenses.

The EECI2010 conference, organized by Whoooz Webmedia, is the largest gathering of ExpressionEngine developers to date, bringing about 200 top ExpressionEngine and CodeIgniter experts together for three days of sessions and classes at Fort Mason in San Francisco.