Fabrica Dashboard is a relatively new plugin released earlier this year by the team at Yes We Work, after a long beta and extensive internal use on their own projects. The plugin revamps WordPress’ default Dashboard screen to display information that is useful for multi-user editorial sites, highlighting content, activity, and engagement. New dashboard widgets include a high level overview of the following:
- The Posts, Pages, Blocks, and custom content types that make up your site
- Recent activity and updates across content, media, and comments
- Upload sizes / formats and possible security issues
Fabrica Dashboard was built to be content-aware without any configuration. It automatically detects the different types of content in use on the site, including custom post types and custom taxonomies, and populates the dashboard widgets accordingly. The display respects user roles and privileges and the screen can also be customized using the Screen Options tab. Fabrica Dashboard is also compatible with other dashboard widgets, which can be mixed in and moved around.
“The plugin aims to make the dashboard more useful as an ongoing tool for managing site content (rather than a first time user’s guide to the wonderful world of WP, that more experienced users will be forced to skip over),” Yes We Work director Thomas Eagle said.
The Editorial Overview and Content Activity widgets are particularly useful for distributed, multi-author teams that are working in different timezones. It makes it easy for users to catch up on editorial activity across all content types, with a filter for activity by post type, user, or time period. There is even a direct link to view each post’s Compare Revisions screen.
“The Dashboard also means that as an external developer or site maintainer, only logging in occasionally, you can quickly get up to speed on the evolution and growth of a client site, and spot potential problems ahead of time,” Eagle said.
Fabrica Dashboard also works seamlessly with the team’s new plugin, Fabrica Reusable Block Instances. It is a plugin that provides an inventory of all the reusable blocks that are being used in content across a site on a separate management screen that displays the number of instances. This plugin is useful for sites where Reusable Blocks are sometimes updated and it’s important to know where they are in use.
Better management capabilities for Reusable Blocks is a feature that has been indirectly requested several times in Gutenberg support topics. A solution for this may soon be coming to core, as a screenshot of a similar Reusable Blocks screen was published in July with the Block Directory design prototypes. In the meantime, Fabrica Reusable Block Instances is a lightweight plugin for managing these types of blocks. It doesn’t modify the database in any way, nor does it come with any settings.
Fabrica Dashboard and Reusable Block Instances are some of the best CMS plugins I’ve seen recently that have been designed to include Gutenberg block content. While they are targeted specifically at multi-user editorial installations, the plugins may also be beneficial for highly active, single-author blogs. Both are available for free on WordPress.org. Users who want support can purchase the commercial version that also comes with the ability to remove the Fabrica branding from the dashboard.