Usually when I write a comparative article of plugins belonging to a certain domain the approach is objective. It’s the typical drill. I take up the comparison of two or three competing plugins for which I have been receiving maximum queries, I test drive the plugins, I compare the features, I compare the code and based on these parameters I decipher the plugin’s value for money.
Now that’s what I classify as routine!
What’s not routine for me is to compare two plugins from the SAME DEVELOPER and to choose between the two to fulfill a specific requirement. That’s precisely what I am going to do in today’s post. This post is all about Event Espresso 3 vs Event Espresso 4 and making a decision between the two versions of the plugin.
Here my approach changes a little. While the typical drill still remains it is also important to understand the reason behind the development of two versions of the same plugin.
Event Espresso 3 was the initial release developed and updated based on customer demands. As for Event Espresso 4, it is a completely remodelled version of Event Espresso 3 which differs vastly in terms of features, user interface and code. If I had to coin a tagline for EE4 it would have to be – ‘It just got bigger and better with EE4’ – minus the bigger.
Here’s why. The basic concept of the plugin has remained the same. And while there have been regular updates, EE3 has been through a lengthy development cycle. Comparing with that in terms of features will definitely take some time.
So EE4 is definitely better, AGREED! And if possible I would suggest that you choose EE4. But that decision might not necessarily align with your requirements. Let’s take a few common scenarios to decide how the two versions fit into your requirements.
Your Website Focuses on Events such as Tech Fests & Conferences
Events such as tech fests or business conferences usually span over a span of two to three days. There are many seminars, presentations and discussions that take place during this period. Now attendees have the option to sign up for these individual seminars or presentations based on their preference.
Essentially what this means is that there are many events that are hosted under a single umbrella of events.
For explanation purposes, I am going to assume you are hosting a tech event with one seminar on Ethical Hacking and a second on Using Internet in the 21st Century.
Now your choice of the Event Espresso version will largely depend on whether you are managing the event registration for the tech fest from a ticketing website that publishes tickets to other events as well or if your website is dedicated towards registration for the tech fest.
If it is the former then the ‘Multiple Dates and Times Per Event’ feature makes Event Espresso 4 a good option to use. Here you can have many dates and times associated with the tech fest. This essentially means users can register for the individual events. Also, the attendance of these individuals can be confirmed using ‘Event Check-in List’ feature provided by EE4. Further as Event Espresso 3 will eventually be phased out it only makes sense to go with the newer version.
Alternatively if your website is dedicated towards the registration of only one particular event then Event Espresso 3 makes for a better option as now you are not restricted to display both the seminars under one event. Instead, you can create two individual events for the seminars on Ethical Hacking and Using Internet in the 21st Century. The plus point of using EE3 is that it allows users to register for multiple events at once. Further, it opens up a host of features such as the waiting list which will give you an option to be completely booked in case of unexpected cancellations.
So if ‘Multiple Dates and Times Per Event’ is not an essential feature then EE3 is the way to go!
Your Ticketing Website is Based on a Discount Model
In a situation where your ticketing website is based on a discount model in which you aggregate various events and offer exclusive deals for the events there are no two ways about the version of Event Espresso you choose. Event Espresso 3 it is!! If this means letting go off some enticing features of EE4 then you will have to as the Promotional Codes feature is available only in EE3.
You are Developing a Movie/ Live Performance Ticketing Website
Development of a movie ticketing website would call for the following features
- Option for users to choose seating arrangement.
- A convenient option for organizers to validate attendees at the time of the movie.
- An option to create a wait list of customers that will be pushed up in the sequence in case of ticket cancellations.
The first requirement is covered with the Seating Chart add-on developed for Event Espresso 3. As for the validation, the mobile ticketing apps feature in EE3 covers that for you. The waiting lists feature in the core plugin of EE3 fulfils the third requirement too, thereby giving you the option to be always booked completely if there is a possibility.
If the seating arrangement and waiting list options are not as essential for you then EE4 should be able to fulfil most of your requirements including validation using the barcode scanning add-on for EE4. If either one is required then EE3 is the way to go for you, at least for now.
You are Developing an Educational Institution Website
If you’re wondering how does an educational institute fit into an event registration system then stop thinking and continue reading.
If you are an education institution that provides students with an option to enroll to classroom courses through the website then you must consider Event Espresso 4 for the registration purpose.
Student enrollment for courses is a very specific type of registration and would need more information from the students than just a payment. Also, institutions will have to have a system using which the personal details provided by the student at the time of registration are stored somewhere at the back end. The ‘Contact Profiles and Contact List’ feature provided by EE4 makes this possible.
Apart from that the check-in attendees feature can be used to validate students which will be useful in terms of record keeping too.
Additionally as Event Espresso 3 will eventually be phased out it only makes sense to go with the newer version.
Of course such a system might also call for a waiting list feature the unavailability of which puts a big question in my mind about EE4. For that you could try a manual system while waiting for an update from which will hopefully come soon.
All in all Event Espresso 3 vs Event Espresso 4 is not a matter about which is better. In terms of features, EE3 wins hands down. In terms of the code, it is Event Espresso 4. It’s mainly a matter of choosing between the two based on your requirements.
A question I often hear from clients is what happens if I choose EE3? Well nothing much, you go on using it until EE4 doesn’t fully support your requirements. Once the plugin reaches there you migrate to EE4. Not just the plugin, they let you migrate with bags and luggage. So if you are concerned about your data check this guide out to understand more about the migration process.
I am hoping you have made your choice by now! To take the next step, you must take a look at ways to simplify an Event Espresso website and improve the user experience.
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