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How to Build an Admin Dashboard using React Admin

Dashboards are essential tools used in various fields. They visualize data and key performance indicators in a concise and comprehensible manner. They are like special boards where lots of information shows together in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. Addtionally, they help people see how things are going, like in a business or project. You can think of them as big maps that show you where you are and where you are going.

They collect information from different places, like charts, numbers, and graphs, and put them all in one place, so you don’t have to look in many places to find what you need. Dashboards make it easy to see what is going on well and what needs attention. Imagine a big car dashboard, it tells you how fast you are going, how much gas you have left, and if there are any problems. Like in a car, a dashboard helps you steer your business or project in the right direction.

Components of a Dashboard

  • Data Visualization: Dashboards primarily consist of charts, graphs, tables, and other visual elements that represent data. Common types include line charts, bar graphs, pie charts, scatter plots, and heat maps. These visualizations help users understand complex data relationships and trends at a glance.

  • Key Performance Indicators(KPIs): Dashboards often include KPIs that measure the performance of a project, process, or business. KPIs are typically represented using metrics such as revenue, sales growth, customer satisfaction scores, operational efficiency, and conversion rates.

  • Data Sources: Dashboards can integrate data from various sources, including databases, APIs, spreadsheets, and external services. Integrating multiple data sources into a single dashboard provides a well-detailed view of an organization’s performance and improves data-driven decision-making

  • Filters and Interactivity: Many dashboards offer interactive features that allow users to filter data based on specific criteria, explore data dynamically, and drill down into details. These interactive elements improve usability and enable users to access insights that are tailored to their needs.

PS: Engineers waste time building and styling components when working on a project, writing repetitive markup adds time to the project and is a mundane, boring task for engineers. PureCode.ai uses AI to generate a large selection of custom, styled UI components for different projects and component types.

Types of Dashboards

  • Operational Dashboard: They monitor real-time data related to day-to-day operations. They provide insights into operational efficiency, resource utilization, and performance metrics thereby enabling you to identify and address issues promptly.

  • Tactical Dashboard: Tactical dashboards bridge the gap between operational and strategic dashboards by providing you with insights into project-specific performance. These dashboards enable managers to monitor progress, identify bottlenecks, and optimize processes to achieve departmental objectives.

  • Strategic Dashboard: They focus on long-term goals and high-level metrics such as market share, revenue growth, and customer acquisition. They help you track progress toward strategic objectives and make informed decisions about resource allocation.

  • Analytical Dashboard: Analytical dashboards are for data exploration and analysis. They allow users to perform multidimensional analysis, and uncover insights through data visualization and interactive tools. Analytical dashboards are commonly used by data scientists, analysts, and business intelligence professionals to explore trends, patterns, and correlations with large datasets.

Importance of Dashboard in Web Development

Dashboards play a very pivotal role in web development, serving as the central hub for monitoring, data visualization, and decision-making. Let us take a look at a few reasons dashboards are crucial in web development.

  1. Centralized Information Hub: In web applications, dashboards serve as centralized information hubs where users can access various analytics, metrics, and reports from different sources within the application. This consolidation of data kills the need to navigate through multiple screens to gather information.

  2. Customization and Personalization: Modern dashboards are highly customizable, thereby allowing users to tailor the display according to their preferences and specific requirements. Users can restructure widgets, choose different visualization formats, and set up notifications or alerts based on predefined thresholds, enhancing the user experience and increasing engagement.

  3. Enhanced User Engagement: Well-designed dashboards with interactive features and intuitive navigation contribute to increased user engagement. By providing users with a seamless experience, dashboards encourage frequent usage and promote better exploration of data and insights.

  4. Scalability and Flexibility: Inherently, dashboards are scalable and adaptable to evolving business needs and technological advancements. As organizations grow and requirements change, dashboards can be upgraded, expanded, or integrated with additional data sources and functionalities without significant disruption.

  5. Improved Collaboration and Communication: Dashboards serve as effective communication tools by providing a common platform for fostering collaborations and sharing insights among team members. By visualizing KPIs(key performance indicators) and metrics in a shared environment, stakeholders can align their objectives, monitor progress, and work more effectively towards common goals.

A Brief Overview of the React Framework

react logo

React, an open-source JavaScript library maintained by Facebook, stands as a cornerstone in modern web development, revolutionizing how developers build user interfaces for web applications. Since its inception, React has garnered widespread adoption and acclaim within the development community, thanks to its innovative approach to UI design and its robust set of features.

At its core, React, a frontend framework, embodies a paradigm shift in frontend development, offering developers a declarative and component-based approach to building dynamic and interactive UIs.

Unlike traditional imperative programming models, React empowers developers to describe the desired UI state and structure, allowing the library to handle the underlying rendering logic efficiently.

Central to React’s performance optimization is its Virtual DOM(Document Object Model) mechanism. By maintaining a lightweight, in-memory representation of the actual DOM, React minimizes costly DOM manipulation and updates, resulting in significant performance gains and improved user experience. Through efficient diffing algorithms, React intelligently reconciles changes in the virtual DOM, ensuring that only the necessary updates propagate to the underlying browser DOM.

React’s adoption of JSX(JavaScript XML) further streamlines the developmental process by allowing developers to write HTML-like syntax directly within JavaScript files. JSX serves as a powerful abstraction layer, seamlessly blending UI markup with JavaScript logic, thereby enabling you to express UI components more intuitively and expressively. Especially in the creation of a web app, React is a top choice.

In essence, React represents more than just a JavaScript library. It embodies a shift in the world of web development, empowering you to build maintainable, scalable, and highly performing web applications with efficiency and ease.

A complete beginner in React? Check this out:

Introduction to React Admin Library

react admin logo

React Admin is a popular open-source framework that simplifies and accelerates the development of administration interfaces. React Admin leverages the power of React, along with other libraries like material ui to provide a highly customizable and efficient solution for building complex data management interfaces. Let us take a look at some of React Admin’s key features.

  1. Data Provider: React Admin abstracts the communication with a data provider. This data provider can be a REST API, GraphQL endpoint, or any other data source. This abstraction allows developers to focus on defining the data structure and behavior of the UI components without having to worry about the underlying manipulation logic and data fetching.

  2. Declarative UI Components: React Admin offers a set of pre-built UI components that can be easily customized and extended to suit specific application needs. These components include data grids, forms, filters, and input fields.

  3. Customization and Theming: React Admin provides comprehensive customization options, allowing you to tweak the look and feel of the application to match your project requirements.

  4. Authentication and Authorization: React Admin provides built-in support for handling authentication and authorization mechanisms. Developers can integrate authentication providers such as JWT, OAuth, or plain username/password login page authentication, and define authorization rules to control access to different parts of the application based on permissions and user roles.

Why Should React Admin be Used?

Here are a few reasons you should consider using the React admin library.

  1. Scalability: If you are working on a large-scale web application with extensive data management requirements, React admin is a great choice as its modular architecture and declarative API make it easy to scale and maintain over time.

  2. Rapid Development: React Admin simplifies the process of building a large-scale application with complex administration interfaces by providing a set of reusable components and abstractions for data management and user authentication.

  3. Consistent User Experience: By enforcing best design practices, React Admin helps maintain a consistent and intuitive user experience across different parts of the application

Installation and Project Setup

Setting up React Project

In your terminal, use the command below to create a new React application:

npx create-react-app react-admin-project

You can just run the next command to navigate to the newly created app directory.

cd react-admin-project

Finally, you can just run the command below to start the server.

npm start
//or
yarn start

The server should run in the browser as shown below

local server

Installing React Admin

Once you have created your React application, you can install React Admin and its dependencies:

npm install react-admin ra-data-json-server prop-types

Here’s a brief overview of the packages you’re installing:

  • `react-admin`: The main React Admin library

  • `ra-data-json-server`: A data provider for communicating with a JSON server. ra data json server can replaced with other data providers like ra data simple rest.

  • `prop-types`: A package used for type-checking React props.

In your `App.js`, we will import the necessary components from React Admin, define a data provider that communicates with a JSON server, and set up a resource for users.

import React from 'react';
import { Admin, Resource } from 'react-admin';
import jsonServerProvider from 'ra-data-json-server';
import { UserList } from './components/UserList';

const dataProvider = jsonServerProvider('http://jsonplaceholder.typicode.com');

const App = () => (
  <Admin dataProvider={dataProvider}>
    <Resource name="users" list={UserList} />
  </Admin>
);

export default App;

For each resource you define, a component must be created. In this example, a folder called `components` has been created, and a file called `User.js`.

import React from 'react';
import { List, Datagrid, TextField, EmailField } from 'react-admin';

export const UserList = (props) => (
  <List {...props}>
    <Datagrid>
      <TextField source="id" />
      <TextField source="name" />
      <TextField source="username" />
      <TextField source="phone" />
      <EmailField source="email" />
    </Datagrid>
  </List>
);

Result:

react admin example

Customizing your React Admin Dashboard

We can achieve this by creating custom components. In the example below, we will start by creating a custom component called `Users.js`.

Step 1: Adding the Create, Edit, and Delete functionalities in our `User.js` component.

// users.js
import React from 'react';
import { List, Datagrid, TextField, EmailField, EditButton, DeleteButton, Create, SimpleForm, TextInput, EmailInput, Edit } from 'react-admin';

export const UserList = (props) => (
  <List {...props}>
    <Datagrid>
      <TextField source="id" />
      <TextField source="name" />
      <EmailField source="email" />
      <EditButton basePath="/users" />
      <DeleteButton basePath="/users" />
    </Datagrid>
  </List>
);

export const UserCreate = (props) => (
  <Create {...props}>
    <SimpleForm>
      <TextInput source="name" />
      <EmailInput source="email" />
    </SimpleForm>
  </Create>
);

export const UserEdit = (props) => (
  <Edit {...props}>
    <SimpleForm>
      <TextInput disabled source="id" />
      <TextInput source="name" />
      <EmailInput source="email" />
    </SimpleForm>
  </Edit>
);

Step 2: Customizing the Dashboard. To do this we will create a component called `Dashboard.js`.

import React from 'react';

const Dashboard = () => (
  <div>
    <h1>Welcome to the Dashboard</h1>
    <p>This is a custom dashboard for your admin app.</p>
  </div>
);

export default Dashboard;

Step 3: Integrate these components into your `App.js`.

// App.js
import React from 'react';
import { Admin, Resource } from 'react-admin';
import jsonServerProvider from 'ra-data-json-server';
import { UserList, UserCreate, UserEdit } from './users';
import Dashboard from './Dashboard';

const dataProvider = jsonServerProvider('http://jsonplaceholder.typicode.com');

const App = () => (
  <Admin dashboard={Dashboard} dataProvider={dataProvider}>
    <Resource name="users" list={UserList} create={UserCreate} edit={UserEdit} />
  </Admin>
);

export default App;

Let us take a look at the code outputs:

Image One

image

Image Two

image

In Image One, the user navigates to the dashboard section. In Image Two, the user is also able to navigate to the Users section.

Customizing List View with Filters and Pagination

Here, we will add the filters and pagination features.

We will add the filters and pagination in the `Users.js` component.

// users.js
import React from 'react';
import { List, Datagrid, TextField, EmailField, EditButton, DeleteButton, Filter, TextInput, ReferenceInput, SelectInput, Pagination, Create, SimpleForm, Edit } from 'react-admin';

const UserFilter = (props) => (
  <Filter {...props}>
    <TextInput label="Search" source="q" alwaysOn />
    <ReferenceInput label="Role" source="role" reference="roles" allowEmpty>
      <SelectInput optionText="name" />
    </ReferenceInput>
  </Filter>
);

export const UserList = (props) => (
  <List {...props} filters={<UserFilter />} pagination={<Pagination rowsPerPageOptions={[10, 25, 50, 100]} />}>
    <Datagrid>
      <TextField source="id" />
      <TextField source="name" />
      <EmailField source="email" />
      <EditButton basePath="/users" />
      <DeleteButton basePath="/users" />
    </Datagrid>
  </List>
);

export const UserCreate = (props) => (
  <Create {...props}>
    <SimpleForm>
      <TextInput source="name" />
      <EmailField source="email" />
    </SimpleForm>
  </Create>
);

export const UserEdit = (props) => (
  <Edit {...props}>
    <SimpleForm>
      <TextInput disabled source="id" />
      <TextInput source="name" />
      <EmailField source="email" />
    </SimpleForm>
  </Edit>
);

Now, integrate into the `App.js` component.

// App.js
import React from 'react';
import { Admin, Resource } from 'react-admin';
import jsonServerProvider from 'ra-data-json-server';
import { UserList, UserCreate, UserEdit } from './components/User';
import Dashboard from './components/Dashboard';

const dataProvider = jsonServerProvider('http://jsonplaceholder.typicode.com');

const App = () => (
  <Admin dashboard={Dashboard} dataProvider={dataProvider} >
    <Resource name="users" list={UserList} create={UserCreate} edit={UserEdit} />
  </Admin>
);

export default App;

Result:

image

Themes and Styling Customization

React Admin offers theming support to customize the feel and look of your admin interface. You can create custom themes using material ui.

Create a component called `theme.js`:

// Theme.js
import { createTheme } from '@mui/material/styles';

const theme = createTheme({
  palette: {
    primary: {
      main: '#1976d2', 
    },
    secondary: {
      main: '#dc004e', 
    },
  },
});

export default theme;

Now, integrate into `App.js`

// App.js
import React from 'react';
import { Admin, Resource } from 'react-admin';
import jsonServerProvider from 'ra-data-json-server';
import { UserList, UserCreate, UserEdit } from './components/User';
import Dashboard from './components/Dashboard';
import theme from './components/Theme'

const dataProvider = jsonServerProvider('http://jsonplaceholder.typicode.com');

const App = () => (
  <Admin dashboard={Dashboard} dataProvider={dataProvider} theme={theme} >
    <Resource 
    name="users" 
    list={UserList} 
    create={UserCreate} 
    edit={UserEdit} 
    />
  </Admin>
);

export default App;

Result:

In the image below, we can see that we have successfully customized the interface color.

image

Here is a video tutorial that can help you learn more about React Admin:

Popular React Admin Dashboard Libraries

Ant Design Pro

ant design pro

Ant Design Pro is built on top of Ant Design, providing a comprehensive set of UI components and layouts for building enterprise-level applications and admin panels. It is ideal for large-scale projects and enterprise applications that require a robust set of UI components, internationalization support, permission management, and dynamic routing.

It is well suited for teams looking to rapidly prototype, develop, and deploy complex admin interfaces with a consistent design language and user experience.

Ant Design Pro offers pre-designed templates and layouts for admin panels, complete documentation, comprehensive UI components, Dark mode, and other amazing features

Material UI Dashboard

Material UI Dashboard is a modern and responsive admin dashboard template built on top of material ui, the official React UI framework implementing Google’s material design principles. It provides developers with a rich set of pre-designed components and layouts for creating visually appealing and user-friendly admin interfaces.

material UI

Material UI Dashboard is suitable for a wide range of projects, including web applications, admin panels, and content management systems.

It is particularly well suited for projects that prioritize a modern and visually appealing UI, accessibility, and responsiveness.

CoreUI

CoreUI is a popular admin dashboard template built on the Bootstrap 4 framework. It offers developers with a collection of pre-designed layouts, components, and utilities for building responsive and feature-rich admin interfaces.

Core UI logo

With versions available for React, Angular, and Vue.js, CoreUI provides a flexible and scalable solution for web development projects.

This library is particularly well suited for projects that require a comprehensive set of UI components, layouts, and utilities, as well as support for internationalization and data visualization.

Best Practices and Tips

Here are a few tips and ideal practices when using the React Admin library.

  • Optimize Performance: Pay attention to performance considerations, especially when dealing with large datasets. Implement features like pagination, filtering, and memoization to optimize rendering and data fetching.

  • Implement Custom Components Wisely: When implementing custom components, follow React Admin’s guidelines and best practices. Use custom components to enhance user experience or add specific functionalities not covered by default components.

  • Choose the Right Data Provider: Select a suitable data provider based on your backend architecture. React Admin supports various data providers like REST, GraphQL, and custom implementations. Choose one that fits your project requirements.

  • Thoroughly Test your Application: Test your React Admin application thoroughly, covering various use cases and scenarios. Use testing frameworks like Jest and React Testing Library to write unit and integration tests for components and functionality.

Final thoughts on React Admin Library

React Admin is a popular and robust library for building admin panels and dashboards in React applications. It provides developers with a rich set of pre-built UI components, efficient data management features, and extensive customization options.

react admin

The library boasts a vibrant community and comprehensive documentation, making it accessible to developers of all skill levels. Overall, React Admin is a valuable tool for streamlining the development time of admin interfaces in React applications, empowering developers to create modern and powerful admin panels with ease

PureCode.ai can cater to your code development process. It will save you valuable time and effort on a project by providing customized, and ready-to-use components which will allow you to prioritize more important and thought-intensive tasks to speed up the development of your user interface.

Shadrach Abba

Shadrach Abba