At my new job we use Expression Engine for our CMS; a for-profit PHP based piece of software from EllisLab.

I had never messed with it prior to this job. Prior to this, I've used Wordpress/Joomla and the proprietary platform we had at Digital Insight - Web Center.

I'm guessing the reason I've never monkeyed with Expression Engine is that it costs money, whereas the others (Wordpress, Drupal, et al) are free to use.

Anyway, my initial impressions are:

  1. It's easy to install and use. This is always important. I've had the opportunity to set up a dev server and a test implementation, and both installs were painless. It's your standard "unzip here, go to the installer in your browser, fill out form, delete install directory" type deal. Once you log in, you see a decent (kind of dated looking, but...) control panel.
  2. It makes sense. You have content stored in what they call "Channels" and you have Design items, which are your templates. It uses a proprietary templating system to pull content in and manipulate it.
  3. It allows fairly robust user management. You can set up, limit and manage users easily.
  4. Extensibility - there are modules and plugins galore. Most of them are pay to play, though - so that's a bummer.

Anyway, overall, it's not a bad CMS. If the licensing wasn't so costly, and the modules so costly, it might have a wider adoption out there.