It’s quite hard to believe that our QuickAdminPanel has been live for 2 years already, in its current SaaS version, first customer paid $9.99 in August 2016.

This was the joyful beginning…

We’ve learnt a lot, built good relationships with dozens of customers, and grew out of the initial vision. So in Summer 2018 we started re-creating the product from the ground up. In this article, I will share the thoughts of WHY we’re doing it and WHAT can you expect from new version.

Most important: WHEN?

Current status of new QuickAdminPanel system is in progress, live release is scheduled for February 2019, but we’re already inviting our current customers to help us test new features.

Our Github milestones as of November 2018

Now, what are our goals with QAP 2019?

Goal 1. Stability and performance

The main problem and the reason we’ve started re-creating the system is the amount of issues related to big adminpanels. When building the first version, we envisioned the generator as QUICK panel builder but didn’t expect our customers to build panels with 100+ CRUDs (I’m not kidding).

One of our biggest adminpanels

So the amount of failed generator operations grew, along with unhappy large customers, which is the worst that can happen – these people actually deserve the best product cause they invested a lot of money.

On top of that, the amount of generated panels (30,368 panels at the time of writing, including trial users) caused performance issues, some customers had to wait 10-20 seconds to update any CRUD. Unacceptable.

Finally, we experienced quite a few issues with using some modules with each other in unexpected way. For example, we didn’t build Multi-tenancy with relation to Mega-search, but in reality, search results should be filtered with the same scope.

Anyway, all those problems just forced us to rewrite the software. Architectural decisions for current version just weren’t made for such scale. You can call it a “growing pain” or “nice problem to have”, but for us it started an operation called “back to the lab”, which is in progress for half-year now.

NEW: Auto-deployment to our server

The most important fundamental change is that we will deploy all generated panels to our own servers, to make sure they actually work. In current version, we generate the code and can see potential bugs only after it’s downloaded and installed locally or on some server. In the new version, we will deploy every panel and run some automated tests, and only then give green light to download code that will actually work.

Thinking about it, this way we could even offer hosting for the panels. But currently we’re not actively planning this new business model.

Goal 2. More Modules and Customizations

Currently we have 28 modules, some of them are just pre-built sets of CRUDs, others much more complicated.

Our most popular modules

During those two years, we’ve received a lot of customer requests for customizing models, mixing them together and creating new ones.

Again, current architecture didn’t allow for some wishes to be fulfilled. So currently, in our plans for 2019 we have this list:

  • More flexible multi-tenancy module
  • More reliable push to Github/Bitbucket
  • More options in Dashboard Widgets module
  • Better multi-language integration with Language Switcher
  • Mega-Search module integrated with Algolia
  • Stripe modules updated to latest Stripe API version
  • Import CSV – to handle relationships
  • New module for handling timezones for separate users
  • More thematic CRUD-based modules like we have for Asset Management, Contact Management.
  • …etc.

The list will grow even bigger, I’m sure.

Goal 3. Visual Themes

This is by far the most popular question from our customers – how can I change or customize the visual theme of adminpanel?

We use the most popular free theme on the market – AdminLTE 2, based on Bootstrap 3.

In new version, customers will be able to choose from three themes (so far):

New AdminLTE 3, based on Bootstrap 4

Most importantly, we’ve changed the architecture of how blade and assets work, so it will be relatively easy to add more themes in the future.

Goal 4. Documentation and Education

I know, it sounds boring. Who reads documentation these days? Well, our official Docs page gets 20-40 visitors a day, not sure if it’s a lot:

Analytics for our documentation visitors

This documentation covers all the features of QuickAdminPanel, with screenshots and code samples.

Side note: here’s a video of the tool I used to generate this docs page.

But it’s not (only) what our users need.

What we’ve noticed over the years that our customers are not necessarily professional Laravel developers. So they need help with customization of the code, or sometimes even understanding some concepts. So what we’ll do in new version is have an FAQ section with a lot of typical questions related to Laravel, not only to QuickAdminPanel.

Also, the plan is to have fast search on various topics, integrated with Algolia. On top of that, search should “understand”, what page user is navigating, and suggest relevant topics or most popular questions.

So, these are the goals and reasons for the change. We hope that with new system we will have a new jumpstart for new features, modules and even more adminpanels created.