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Recently I worked on a project where there was a need for a heavy dashboard with lots of interactions and data being displayed.
My first approach was to dive in, headfirst, and try to figure out the components by myself and create them. I quickly realized that the project would take much more time if I’m going to do everything from scratch.
The main problem was that I didn’t have real experience creating complex dashboard systems. This means that I wasn’t aware of what type of elements I can use to display the data, what is the best format, what will look more appealing, and at the same time still be useful for the user.
Why use templates for the dashboard?
Templates are useful to give you ideas and guidance. You can use them as a starting point and build on them.
When it comes to dashboards, you don’t need something fancy, you want to present information in a clear way. Especially if we’re talking about a back-end dashboard for admins only. Based on the type of dashboard you’re creating and who’s going to use it (users or admins), a template might be better than a custom design.
Here are the main advantages of using a template:
- Faster development
- Good implementation of Bootstrap (or the framework that uses)
- Mobile ready
- Integration with other 3rd Mainly JS libraries like Chart.js or datatable
- Management via npm*
- Customizable SASS structure gives you the possibility to use certain parts only.
* – might not be an advantage for some
In the end, it’s the most popular CSS framework. As the State of the CSS 2021 shows when it comes to usage Bootstrap is the winner by a fair margin.
With Bootstrap being so popular there is a good chance you’re already familiar with it, know the classes and the structure that uses to create components. That can be also applied with the themes I’ll mention below, making the whole experience easy.
Bootstrap offers official premium dashboard themes that you can use. Stating at $49 you get a theme that has:
- Multiple demos
- Page examples
- Built using the latest bootstrap (v5.1.3)
- Easy customizations with extensive use of SCSS variables
- Fully responsive and works across all modern/supported browsers, devices
- Easy development and tooling with Gulp workflow
- Landing Page included (Onepage)
- Vanilla JS and webpack based build available as well
and most important
- Documentation on all available components, widgets, etc
- Hyper – Admin & Dashboard Template
- Falcon – Admin Dashboard & WebApp Template
- Spark – Bootstrap 5 Admin & Dashboard Template
If you prefer a Bootstrap 4 theme, I can recommend
- Keen – Multi Demo Bootstrap Admin Dashboard Theme
- SB Admin 2 – it’s a free Bootstrap 4 dashboard template.
There is also an option to upgrade it to Premium if you really want.
It’s a very simple dashboard template that is easy to work with. The only downside might be the fact that it uses Bootstrap 4.
Some of the things included are:
- Built using SASS for customization of Bootstrap default SASS variables
- Includes dependency management using npm
- Advanced workflow environment based on npm and Gulp with live reloading via browserSync
- js interactive responsive charts
- dataTables sortable, searchable tables
- Latest Font Awesome 5 (free version)
My suggestion is to give dashboard templates a change. If you find yourself creating a dashboard for your small personal project or for a client, try using a dashboard template and see how it works.
You’ll get familiar with it very soon and it will increase your productivity while helping you create an appealing and consistent dashboard interface.