I remember when I was using EE 1.6.x Brandon Kelly introduced Gypsy. It was amazing.

For EE 2 it seems someone was working on something similar called Drifter but support for it was dropped a while ago.

A suggestion was submitted to EllisLab for Channel Groups, but afaIk there hasn't been any news of that.

If I want to implement some sort of metadata specific to entries but not to channels, e.g. Facebook OpenGraph data, is the only solution at present to manually create Channel field groups and fields per channel??

Is there no contemporary Gypsy-like add-on or Channel Groups feature in the works?

3 Answers 3


Brian removed support for Drifter due to some fairly large bugs which cannot be worked around in ExpressionEngine 2.0. The CMS makes too many assumptions about how field groups work for it to be safe.

I would recommend using something like SEO Lite as a template and modifying it to meet your needs. This extension adds global support for extended fields which appear in their own tab, sounds almost exactly like what you want to do. You'd have to dig into it's PHP and modify the fields of course but it would be better to do this than try to make use of Drifter or similar extensions.

  • Between the two answers so far this looks like the best route to go if it's just basic input/textarea fields and entering content for them is basic, too. Was thinking instead of developing an add-on based off of it to just do a search/replace of its field values but that... doesn't make as much sense as just making more fields. And I'm guessing with a little bit of custom development one could easily free up use of its single template (SEO Lite documentation).
    – notacouch
    Nov 19, 2012 at 18:15

There's https://github.com/iainurquhart/global_fields which was basically Gypsy reinvented but I'd advise against it.

Anything that fundamentally alters something like this is a recipe for disaster IMO, the number of abandoned Gypsy sites backs that up.

One solution you could use is 1 channel field group with everything you need then use Publish Layouts to hide for fields not needed. Of course doesn't help when you have required fields throughout.

Something like your specific functionality would be better served through another module perhaps?

  • 2
    I support Steven's advice to not go down this road. With Field Editor it's so easy to just clone fields to all the channels you want to use it in. And you stay EE native. :)
    – aelvan
    Nov 19, 2012 at 17:48
  • 1
    You're right, looking at Gypsy/Drifter anything non-native seems like it may potentially give more problems than it solves, e.g. even with Global Fields being simple by nature its author notes: "Native EE Search, Low Search and Supersearch will not search into these fields. Any add-on which looks at field group settings will simply ignore global fields." @aelvan Field Editor looks great (commercial but very low cost)! For the manual field route this seems excellent.
    – notacouch
    Nov 19, 2012 at 17:59

A colleague and I are actually working on a way to allow fields to be global without some of the headaches of addons like Gypsy or Drifter, but it is going to require core hacks at least in the short term and it is NOT ready for primetime yet. So in the short term, I'd say go with one large field group and use publish layouts, which are much more stable now.

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