Zenbu - Addon Review

Zenbu is an add-on by Nicolas Bottari that will change the way you think about the edit screen. You can purchase Zenbu at Devot:ee or learn more about all it's great features at Nicolas's official Zenbu page and documentation site. The main idea behind Zenbu is that it allows you to display the fields in the edit screen the way you want to.

Zenbu is an add-on by Nicolas Bottari that will change the way you think about the edit screen. You can purchase Zenbu at Devot:ee or learn more about all it's great features at Nicolas's official Zenbu page and documentation site. The main idea behind Zenbu is that it allows you to display the fields in the edit screen the way you want to. With the native EE edit screen, one is limited to the following: Title, View, Comments, Author, Date, Channel and Status. Sometimes you just need more than this, or less. I have only built one site where the author of an entry was important for example.

With Zenbu, you get to control which fields are displayed on the edit screen and in what order they display. Additionally you can have different edit screens depending on the member group of the logged in user. After installing Zenbu go to Add-Ons > Modules > Zenbu and you'll see an edit list of your entries. What you need to do now is go to Display Settings (top righ of the screen).

zenbu screen 1

The above view shows your fields that are available to all channels and allows you to check whether to display on the edit screen or not. You can also drag and drop to reorder. The real power of Zenbu comes in customizing the view on a per channel basis. This site has an ecommerce component powered by CartThrob and this is where Zenbu became most useful for the end user.

When Visiting the configuration page for the Store - Products channel there are 37 fields that can be included in the edit screen. Based on client needs Entry_id, Title, SKU, Status, Price, Categories, Inventory and Weight/Size were included and arranged in an order that made sorting/searching for specific entries easy for the client and content managers.

Zenbu also allows you to display thumbnails of images and copy from text fields which is also very helpful for finding the right entry. With rich text editor fields such as wygwam you are given the option to either show as plain text or display html markup in text. The blog edit page for this site looks like this:

Zenbu has support for all first party fieldtypes and the following third party fields types with new field types being added regularly.

The Carthrob support is great because it allows you to display your coupon codes and relevant information in the edit screen.

One feature that I particularly like, but did not need on this project is support for Matrix - you can view matrix content directly in the edit page via a modal screen. No more moving to another Control Panel/Template page to have a quick peek at some data. Now that's powerful and incredibly useful.

Final Thoughts

Zenbu is an incredibly powerful add-on for ExpressionEngine. It provides greater flexibilty on the edit page setting the edit page view on a per member group - this is realy fantastic in combination with an add-on such as Zoo Flexible Admin. It's incredibly easy to use, intuitive and flexible. There is only one thing to be aware of - when setting up member groups make sure that any member groups that will have access to the edit screen also have access to Zenbu or they will not be able to view the page.

Zenbu is highly recommended for any project that needs more in the edit page than ExpressionEngine offers out of the box. Learn more by visiting the official documentation or just head over to Devot:ee and purchase Zenbu for a very affordable $40.

This is the first in a series of planned add-on reviews. Check back in a couple of weeks for our next review.