My Custom Dashboard - Quick icons module
As we all know or experienced first-hand, the Joomla 4 Dashboard can be pretty overwhelming if you’ve never seen it before. The good news is: it doesn’t have to be. The Dashboard is very customisable, and more and more website designers decide to create beautiful and easy to use custom Dashboards for their clients (or for themselves). Jeroen Moolenschot, for instance, made a custom Dashboard module to add quick icons for much-used functionalities… and decided to share it with the whole Joomla community.
Thanks for participating in this article, Jeroen! Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi Anja, thanks for the invitation. My name is Jeroen Moolenschot and I live with my wife and 2 kids in Waalwijk (a small city in The Netherlands).
I've been working with Joomla since 2006 and from the first day I loved all the possibilities of this system. Remember it was Joomla 1.0 and so many features and flexibility have been added in the years since!
I work at a marketing and communications company as a developer for a few days a week and in 2011 I started my own company called Joomill.
Tell us how it all started. What made you decide to create a custom Dashboard for your client?
Usability (for the developer and the end-user/customer) is very important when building or maintaining a website.
In Joomla 3 it's possible to edit the backend control-panel, but it takes a lot of steps. It was also something I "forgot" half of the time, and I'm sure I’m not the only one.
One of the great new features in Joomla 4 is the backend-template with the possibility to create different dashboards, which makes adding or editing administrator modules a lot easier.
For a few months I have been using Joomla 4 to develop new websites. My first J4 website needed a webshop and I used HikaShop for this website.
I was looking for a quick icon module to create tiles for quickly adding products, a direct link to all orders, etc. but there was none available for Joomla 4. So I decided to create it myself.
How did you start? What did you do first, and after that?
First, a recommendation: Astrid Günther’s website (https://blog.astrid-guenther.de/en/der-weg-zu-joomla4-erweiterungen/) is really helpful when you start to develop extensions for Joomla 4.
Secondly there is a default Quick Icon module available in Joomla. So I copied that module, dived into that code and extended it the way I needed it for myself.
For the most-used HikaShop screens I created a button with a direct link, and for some screens also an ADD button.
Because my customers not just use HikaShop I also extended the module with links to specific article categories, for example the Blog Category. The user only needs to click on the Add Blog button to add a new article automatically in the right category, with the right language.
Another option I added was a direct link to a specific module. When the user just needs to edit the opening hours module a few times a year, he doesn't need to search the list of modules anymore.
And there is an option to add your own (internal or external) links to all pages you like, to make it more flexible.
Do you have screenshots of the results? (Paste them here and please explain what’s on them)
Hikashop Settings: Select which buttons you want to show/hide
Article settings: Select your article or category
Custom link: Select a backend menu-item or enter your own link.
What was your client’s response to the new Dashboard options?
This client never worked with Joomla before. His previous website was built in another CMS and he says this a really clean dashboard. No banners or advertisements for PRO plugins.
Everything he needs is on one page, so it's easy to maintain.
Why did you decide to make the Quick Icons available as a free extension in the JED?
The custom quick icons module is something I created for myself and my clients, but I'm sure other website developers can benefit from it.
Free download available here: https://extensions.joomla.org/extension/administration/extensions-quickicons/custom-quick-icons/
If you have suggestions on how to make this module better, you can always contact me. The source code is also available on Github.
Do you have tips for users who want to create a custom Dashboard?
As we all know Joomla is powerful and flexible and it's great to have all these options we have. But I don't think the end-user needs to see everything.
For example: I see many websites where the "install sample data" module is still published when the website has already gone live. 1 wrong click can ruin the complete website. And as a developer you now need only 1 click to unpublish this module.
My tip for all developers is to clean up the backend dashboards and make it user friendly before you deliver the website. This will make it much easier for the end-user to maintain their website.
We can already create beautiful websites with Joomla, and when we also think about the usability for the end-user I believe together we can take Joomla to the next level.
Share your custom Dashboard(s) with us!
We love to see what kind of clever, creative and inventive custom Dashboard(s) you made! Would you like to share them with us?