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Expression Engine 2.0 Public Beta Released and There’s No Core Version

Expression EngineThe wait is finally over and Expression Engine 2.0 has finally been released by EllisLab more than 18 months after being introduced at SXSW 2008.

I personally have not had time yet to extensively test the new release but expectations are very high. In the past I have called Expression Engine the best self-hosted blogging platform on this site and am certainly looking forward to compare the new version to WordPress which I have come to love enough to use daily and customise for almost all projects, but often I have preferred the ease of EE 1.6.x when tailoring sites.

But First Things First.

The newly released EE2.0 PB (Public Beta) comes with a price and a new pricing structure:

  • Freelancer: $99.95
  • Non-commercial License: $149.95
  • Commercial License: $299.95

Although Expression Engine 1.6.8 Core still available is, there is no free Core version for EE2.0, instead EllisLab offers a 30-day free demo download. It certainly is a daring move and although many labour has gone in the release (more than 2 years), one can only wonder if EllisLab is cutting of the ever shrinking community and pricing itself out of the market. In a sector with as main competitors the free and open source platforms WordPress and Movable Type, this bald move must be admired. When Six Apart announced a change in licensing structure in 2004 WordPress almost single-handedly won the market and some years later SA announced a new opensource version of MT, which was released end 2007 but MT had already lost its position as market leader. Is EE headed for a similar obscurity?

It must also be said that the standard license fee has increased with $50 for normal users. To make the platform more appealing for developers and designers there is a new Freelancer license at $99.95. One of the biggest differences when comparing EE to WordPress is the availability of plugins and the new license structure is not bound to help the Expression Engine community.

That said, I am looking forward to play with EE2.0 over the next 30 days before I decide whether I want to invest in a license for something I can have freely somewhere else. A license I mainly need to continue playing with the platform and promote EE as a viable and (hopefully still) better alternative.
It will be sad if the license structure will seal the future of EE as I would love to see more choice and more viable alternatives to WordPress. I secretly hoped that EE2.0 would become open source like other platforms but who am I. Now I must play with EE, I only have 30 days!

Can you imagine replacing WordPress with EE? What impact would it have on your business, especially when running several blogs?

Update: Expression Engine 2.0.0 PB released (yes version 2.0.0).