A Typical Back Office

The Back Office is an often neglected part of a system, but it shouldn't be. It can make or break a site. If the people charged with maintaining the site don't like using it, then you will have big problems, as ultimately, the site will just grow stale. I am going to demonstrate a few pages from a typical back office system I provide with all my sites.

Table Viewer

back_office_table

A table viewer is an essential part of any back office. The one I developed for most of my projects has sortable columns and a search facility. To generate a table view, you construct a class containing an array of fields, sort order etc,and any associated infromation like pivot table etc.

The viewer itself constructs a query, so combining tables is a cinch. You don't have to stick to a single model.

Naturally enough, when you click on an item in the table, you want it to open a data entry screen.

Typical Data Entry Screen

back_office_data_entry

Rather than try and fully automate the back office data entry screen, I instead opted to use blade templates, which are easy to copy and edit appropriately. It also makes ite easy to add extra functionality like that "Sort Stock" item you can see above.

Drag and Drop is Included.

back_office_sort_utility

Clicking the Sort Stock button above gives you a view of all the stock in a particular category. You can then sort them as you see fit.

The more utilities I can build in to a back office the better. Anything that speeds up the day-to-day maintenance of the site will keep the people charged with maintaining it happy. Getting hands-on with the users responsible can reap rich dividends on this front. You can turn a reluctant user into an advocate by jointly finding ways to improve their work flow. One such system can be seen below.

Importing Images in Bulk

back_office_utilities

It is important when developing utilities like this that they sit nicely with the rest of the back office, and have decent documentation. Some of them may only get used once a quarter or even a year. Rather than have to relearn the procedure each time, it is better to provide a few hints up front.

I could spend days going over various Back Office options. Hopefully from these few images though, you can see that it is not an area I skimp on.