Node.JS is the most popular web framework for building web applications according to Stack Overflow. Its popularity has skyrocketed since its launch in 2009, and the reasons are that it is easy to learn and even easier to implement. In other words, it enables young startups to launch their products in record time.
Considering the popularity of this framework and therefore the likelihood that you might be running it for your own company, we thought it’d be useful to jump-start your project by giving you a quick overview of the choices you have and, finally, how to build a Node.JS admin panel.
Let’s get into it
In the last couple of years, LinkedIn has successfully migrated parts of the code that was originally written using Ruby on Rails to Node.js, and many other famous companies such as Netflix, eBay, or Uber have rewritten their microservices using the trending framework.
That being said, Node.js doesn’t have a default admin panel solution like Django Admin for Django or Active Admin for Ruby on Rails.
Now fear not, there are quite a few options for building an admin panel for Node.js applications – we have summed them up for you:
- You can build your internal tools in-house from scratch, which gives you maximum flexibility but also comes with disadvantages. On average, developers spend up to 33% of their time building and maintaining internal tools. At Forest Admin, we believe there are more efficient ways to equip companies with performing internal tools, and better ways to spend valuable resources that could be used elsewhere.
- You could also take advantage of open-source admin frameworks and libraries. In contrast to building internal tools from scratch, it’s a quicker and easier option, but it also comes with limitations as it cannot be edited by non-technical team members. Since autonomy is a strong vector for growth, it might not be the best option.
- You may pick one of numerous and often free admin panel templates, especially when all you need is a simple dashboard or a CRM. Be aware though that you will face even more limitations compared to open source frameworks. Free panels are designed to fit the most general applications and provide essential features out-of-the-box. The fit-all philosophy though is generally a limiter for customization.
- Finally, you may choose a low-code solution that gives you the best of both worlds: an out-of-the-box solution, the possibility to code custom features with Smart Actions and Smart Views, dedicated support and top-notch security.
Why choose Forest Admin as a Node.js admin panel
As you can see, in most cases there is some tradeoff between the efficiency of a ready-to-use solution and the flexibility and scalability of one built in-house.
The latter is always designed to fit the needs of a specific organization and its business logic – but there is one major problem though. Building and maintaining it takes up to 33% of development time, requires a lot of effort and defocuses design and product teams.
At Forest Admin, we think that all this effort should be spent on a customer-facing app.
Does it mean that internal tools should be neglected? Absolutely not.
This is why we’ve built a highly-customizable and secure admin panel solution.
Why is Forest Admin the perfect fit for Node.js applications?
Forest Admin’s architecture consists of four components: the database, the admin backend, the Forest Admin API server, and the Forest Admin UI server.
When you install Forest Admin, you can generate a Node.JS application on your local machine that includes a RESTful API that connects to your database.
It also provides the Forest Admin API Server with the information needed to build the User Interface. Another possibility is to install Forest Admin to an Express/Sequelize, or an Express/Mongoose app as your data source.
Our architecture makes it possible to achieve high security standards because Forest Admin API Server is never proxying requests to your database.
In short, Forest Admin never sees your data – it is yours and yours only.
You are in full control of your data.
Building a Node.js admin panel: Prerequisites
To build your internal tools with Forest Admin, you need:
- 15 minutes of your time.
- Web browser (we recommend Chrome or Firefox).
- Your favorite code editor.
- A database or another data source, for example an Express/Sequelize or an Express/Mongoose app.
Getting started with Forest Admin
- Create your account on ForestAdmin.com. You can get started for free. You will be asked to fill a sign-up form.
- You must choose whether it’s a personal project or you need to create an organization, and name your project.
- Pick your data source.
- Follow the onboarding instructions – for more information, check Forest Admin Installation Guide.
- Once your project is working, an automated quick tour will walk you through the basic views and settings: click on the blue circles whenever you need more information.
- Now, adjust your internal tool to fit your business logic. Check how powerful our Layout Editor is, and invite team members! Pro tip: Use tags to facilitate their onboarding.
Forest is now available for Koa, NestJS, Fastify and ExpressJS.
Do you want to dig in deeper? Check these resources:
- Forest Admin Documentation
- Developer Community, where you can get your questions answered
- Live Demo of Forest Admin
- A detailed explanation of Forest Admin architecture and its security level.
- Case Studies