Overlooking small aspects is the nature of starting a software development project. From how much time a feature will take to the Mythical Man Month Mistake; eventually a team runs into all of these. One area that’s commonly forgotten and can make a big difference in the performance of an application is the admin panel. In my opinion, few features are as important and useful as an admin panel. More often than not, developers and project managers don’t take the time to plan, design, and implement. Often, projects can run over because of this. With a little up front work, you can cut this friction down dramatically and help your company drive revenue faster.

mythic-man-month

Insight into user behavior:

What is an admin panel you may ask? It’s an admin-specific platform in an application that allows for access and manipulation of data within the user interface of the site. The admin panel can help user-related functions, such as providing insight into user behavior, dealing with profiles that violate the site’s terms and conditions, and tracking transactions. But you should know that admin sites are not just limited to user-related tasks.

A well-built admin panel can be turned into a dashboard to either display business metrics and analytics without the viewer writing a single bit of code, or to export weekly data which can be used to create reports. Add to the list that any QA member of the team will love an admin panel for the ease it gives them in verifying data, quickly entering or deleting data, and determining if an issue is in the frontend or the backend. Functioning without an admin panel can lead to a lack of insight into your data, and add greater difficulty for the testing team.

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Examples of Web Frameworks

Most web frameworks have plugin libraries that make the creation of an admin panel much easier. For example, PHP/Laravel has LaraAdmin (http://laraadmin.com/), Ruby/Rails has ActiveAdmin (https://activeadmin.info/)and my favorite backend framework, Django (https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/1.11/ref/contrib/admin/), has an admin panel by default!

this VVVV is a pic of a dashboard modification of the Django admin panel to provide some analytical functionality

This is a pic of a dashboard modification of the Django admin panel to provide some analytical functionality

Limitations:

While out-of-the-box admin panels are wonderful, we have to work around some limitations. Most plug-and-play admin panels accomplish two goals: to manipulate data and to display data. These are crucial parts of any data-driven apps.

Can we push it further? Yes we can! Your customer doesn’t need to see a graph of quarterly earnings or the number of visits of repeat customers, but I bet you do.

How about the average purchase per transaction? If these metrics appeal to you, I suggest expanding the limited admin panel functionality to include business analytics. There are other sites out there that can build admin panels, but they may not have the custom features your team needs.

Final Thoughts:

A well-built admin panel will increase productivity, give insight into data, and help you catch bugs; adding up to greater revenue for your business. By investing in the admin panel early, you are going to build your application much more efficiently and allow your team to do what they need to make your business grow.

Do you need help building our your next admin control panel? Our expert backend teams are happy to help! Contact us at  info@bytelion.com.

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