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About Backpack\Base


Backpack/Base kickstarts your admin panel building by:

  • pulling in the AdminLTE HTML theme, based on Bootstrap 3;
  • providing different views and functionality for authentication;
  • integrating prologue/alerts and and pnotify for showing notification bubbles upon error/success/warning/info;
  • providing pretty error pages for most common errors;
  • providing a horizontal menu and a side menu you can customize;
  • providing a place for your admin to to change his email/name/password;
  • providing a few helpers you can use throughout your admin panel;

For the simplest projects, you will never need to know how it works, never need to customize anything but the config/backpack/base.php file. But here's how everything works, below.

Layout & Design

General

Backpack\Base pulls in the free AdminLTE theme and adds our own CSS file on top, for a few cosmetic improvements. We've chosen AdminLTE because it provides design blocks for all common features of an administration panel. When you decide to build something from scratch, you can just use its HTML blocks - no designer needed.

Published Views

After installation, you'll notice Backpack has added one or more files to resources/views/vendor/backpack/base/. By default, it only publishes:

  • inc/sidebar_content.blade.php;
  • dashboard.blade.php;

Those files are used to show the contents of the menu to the left (sidebar), and the first page the admin sees when logging in (dashboard). They've been published there so that you can easily modify their contents.

Unpublished Views

You can change any blade file to your own needs. Determine what file you'd need to modify if you were to edit directly in the project's vendor folder, then go to resources/views/vendor/backpack/base and create a file with the exact same name. Backpack\Base will use this new file, instead of the one in the package.

For example, if you want to add an item to the top menu, you could just create a file called resources/views/vendor/backpack/base/inc/menu.php. Backpack will now use this file's contents, instead of vendor/backpack/base/src/resources/views/inc/menu.php

Folder Structure

If you'll take a look inside any Backpack package, you'll notice the src directory is organised like a standard Laravel app. This is intentional. It should help you easily understand how the package works, and how you can overwrite/customize its functionality.

  • app
    • Console
    • Commands
    • Http
    • Controllers
    • Middleware
    • Requests
    • Notifications
  • config
  • resources
    • lang
    • views
  • routes

Authentication

When installed, Backpack provides a way for admins to login, recover password and register (don't worry, register is only enabled on localhost). It does so with its own authentication controllers, models and middleware. If you have regular end-users (not admins), you can keep the user authentication completely separate from admin authentication. You can change which model, middleware classes inside the config/backpack/base.php config file.

The BackpackUser model extends Laravel's default App\User model. This assumes you weren't already using this model, or the users table, for anything else. If you were, please read below.

Using a Different User Model

If you want to use a different User model than App\User or you've changed its location, please:

Having Both Regular Users and Admins

If you already use the users table to store end-users (not admins), you will need a way to differentiate admins from regular users. Backpack does not force one method on you. Here are two methods we recommend, below:

  • (A) adding an is_admin column to your users table, then creating a middleware that checks that that column is true. You can use \Backpack\Base\app\Http\Middleware\CheckIfAdmin::class as a starting point;
  • (B) using the PermissionManager extension - this will also add groups and permissions;

Please remember to tell Backpack to use this new middleware to check if a logged in user is an admin, inside config/backpack/base.php.

Routes

By default, all administration panel routes will be behind an /admin/ prefix, and under an admin middleware. You can change that inside config/backpack/base.php. Inside your custom admin pages or admin features, please:

  • use backpack_auth() instead of auth();
  • use backpack_url() instead of url();

This will make sure you're using the prefix & middleware that you've defined in config/backpack/base.php. In case you decide to make changes there later, you won't need to change anything else. There are also other backpack helpers you can use.

Admin Account

When logged in, the admin can click his/her name to go to his "account" page. There, they will be able to do a few basic operations: change name, email or password.

Change Name and Email

Changing name and email is done inside Backpack\Base\app\Http\Controllers\Auth\MyAccountController, using the getAccountInfoForm() and postAccountInfoForm() methods. If you want to change how this works, we recommend you create a routes/backpack/base.php file, copy-paste all Backpack\Base routes there and change whatever you need. You can then point the route to your own controller, where you can do whatever you want.

If you only want to add a few new inputs, you can do that by creating a file in resources/views/vendor/backpack/base/auth/account/update_info.blade.php that uses code from the same file in the Backpack package, but adds the inputs you need. Remember to also make these fields $fillable in your User model.

Change Password

Password changing is done inside Backpack\Base\app\Http\Controllers\Auth\MyAccountController, using the getChangePasswordForm() and postChangePasswordForm() methods. If you want to change how this works, we recommend you create a routes/backpack/base.php file, copy-paste all Backpack\Base routes there and change whatever you need. You can then point the route to your own controller, where you can do whatever you want.

Notification Bubbles

Triggering Notification Bubbles in PHP

We use prologue/alerts to trigger notifications. Check out its documentation for the entire syntax. Basic examples:

public function foo() 
{
  \Alert::info('This is a blue bubble.');
  \Alert::warning('This is a yellow/orange bubble.');
  \Alert::error('This is a red bubble.');
  \Alert::success('This is a green bubble.');
  \Alert::success('<strong>Got it</strong><br>This is an HTML message.');

  // the layout will make sure to show your notifications
  return view('some_view');
}

public function bar()
{
  \Alert::success('You have successfully logged in')->flash();

  // please note the above flash() method; this will store your notification in a session variable, so that you can redirect to another page, but the notification will still be shown (on the page you redirect to)
  return Redirect::to('some-url');
}

Triggering Notification Bubbles in JavaScript

We use PNotify to show notifications from JavaScript, on the same page. Check out its page for more detailed use. Basic example:

new PNotify({
  title: "Operation successful",
  text: "You have deleted the internet.",
  type: "success"
});

// available types: success, info, warning, error
// PLEASE NOTE it's "error" here, not "danger"

Helpers

You can use these helpers anywhere in your app (models, views, controllers, requests, etc), except the config files, since the config files are loaded before the helpers.

  • backpack_url($path) - Use this helper instead of url() to generate paths with the admin prefix prepended.
  • backpack_auth() - Returns the Auth facade, using the current Backpack guard. Basically a shorthand for \Auth::guard(backpack_guard_name()). Use this instead of auth() inside your admin panel pages.
  • backpack_middleware() - Returns the key for the admin middleware. Default is admin.
  • backpack_authentication_column() - Returns the username column. The Laravel and Backpack default is email.
  • backpack_users_have_email() - Tests that the email column exists on the users table and returns true/false.
  • backpack_avatar($user) - Receives a user object and returns a path to an avatar image, according to the preferences in the config file (gravatar, placeholder or custom).
  • backpack_guard_name() - Returns the guard used for Backpack authentication.
  • backpack_user() - Returns the current Backpack user, if logged in. Basically a shorthand for \Auth::guard(backpack_guard_name())->user(). Use this instead of auth()->user() inside your admin pages.

Error Pages

When installing Backpack, a few error views are published into resources/views/errors, if you don't already have other files there. This will make sure that, if a user gets an HTTP error, at least it will look decent. Error pages are provided for the following error codes: 400, 401, 403, 404, 405, 408, 429, 500, 503.

Please purchase a commercial license or apply for a non-commercial license code before you put your project online, to prevent nagging notification bubbles.