Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 (updated 7 Mar ’13)

adam@engaging.net | Brighton, England

Get saltEE: salt-co.com retrofitted with ExpressionEngine


The folks at salt., the London company that helps finance, package, launch and sell films, were very happy with the design and content at salt-co.com produced by The Foundry Works, working with The Danny Barnes here in Brighton. But salt. wanted more control over the site’s display; although produced using PHP pages, no content management system was installed, and any editorial change required emailing Danny to do it.

salt-co.com homepage


salt. agreed with Danny that what they needed was a content management system, and Danny recommended ExpressionEngine and enlisted Engaging.net and the ExpressionEngine Consulting service to ensure that the site’s EE setup would be robust, up-to-date, aligned to EE’s strengths, and that few if any changes would be visible to the visitor.

Because the site’s design, content and front-end architecture were already done, we could focus on the back-end architecture and template coding. For the CMS to have as much flexibility as the client had gotten used to, every type of content with a one-to-many or many-to-one relationship with another type of content needed its own ExpressionEngine channel. The result was the following data structure, heavily centered around the fundamental unit of the site, namely, film titles:

Danny and your author, Adam, then collaborated on installing and configuring EE with this architecture. That done, he went off to take care of the data population. We reconvened to undertake the coding.

One novelty was salt.’s password-protection system, where a password is required to see some of a film’s related content. Rather than basing this on the visitor’s login and member group, as is standard in EE, salt. wanted to continue providing access based on film title alone, without logins and site membership. The solution was to add at the back-end a password field in the films channel, and at the front-end a simple form for the visitor that writes to a cookie; if the value of the cookie matches that of the password field, then once the form has been submitted and the page reloaded, the visitor can view that film’s password-protected content.

Check it out — regardless of what’s powering it, salt-co.com is at the very least a fun collection of film trailers to watch.