UiPress is a Toolbox plugin for customizing and extending the WordPress admin. There are a large number of individual utility plugins for this purpose, but UiPress brings the features of several of these together in one.
I recently did a walk-through of WP Adminify and there were questions about how it compares to UiPress, so here is a UiPress walk-through. I’ll create a post in the Dynamic WordPress Facebook group where we can discuss a comparison, so feel free to join if you are not already a member, but here I’ll focus on UiPress, which I think deserves a look on its own merits.
I created two sites on my local development server, one for each plugin. I migrated the starter site I use for testing page builders and dynamic data because they have a number of posts, a Custom Post Type, several plugins, and several user accounts. I figured that would provide some variety in the admin. I use the free Kadence theme for this build.
When you activate UiPress it just switches into its theme.
UiPress puts most of its admin menus under Settings. There are 3 menus, UiPress Settings, UiPress Styles, and Menu Editor. There is also a menu item created for Admin Pages under the Comments menu item. On the settings page I’ve entered my license. There are a bunch of tab options across the top of the page. It seems that UiPress also has a lot of modules, but not as many as Adminify.
Testing Dark Mode and UI Styles
For the sake of comparison, I set Dark Mode as the default and refresh the page. Hmm, out of the box I could live with that.
I click around to various admin menus. I noticed that the All in One WP Migration screen is not fully themed, though it looks OK.
I’m surprised to see that the ACF interface is fully themed.
Going back to the UiPress settings page there is a “Theme” tab. Here I see that you can disable the UiPress styles totally, or disable them for user roles or even users.
I go to the UiPress Styles page and see a very long page where you can set the colors for the various admin components. So, you can tweak any color setting or create your own theme.
Testing the UiPress Menu Editor
I was content to keep the dark mode and moved on to testing the menu editor. I decided to try the same three tasks as before: reorganizing the menus by putting top level menus of plugins under the settings menu, hiding a menu item from some user roles, and adding items to the top admin bar which makes them easier to get to.
I went back to the settings page and clicked the tab for Menu. Here there was a long page with the options for the menus, including the page to set the logo for light and dark mode.
I look over the settings and leave them at the defaults, expect the one to collapse the menu by default.
Moving a Top Level Menu Under Settings
When you go into the menu editor for the first time you see a screen to create a new menu. I guess that means that you don’t start by tweaking the current one. I looked on the UiPress website but they didn’t have a help doc on the menu editor. Hmm, will it be intuitive?
When you click to create a new menu there are two tabs on the left, one for items and one for settings. I looked at the settings first and gave it the name “Default” as I wanted to start by modifying the default menu. There are options for “inclusive” where you have to specify each user role or use it applies to and “exclusive” where it applies to everyone by default except who you exclude. I went with the second option.
The menu items tab had a list of all of the menu items.
When you hover over one a little plus sign icon shows and when you click it then it is copied over to the Preview list. I clicked on all of the high level menu items. I wasn’t sure if the sub menus would come over automatically or not, but they did.
I then clicked on the arrow icon next to Settings to expand it and then dragged the AIOWPM menu into Settings. Worked great.
I saved and clicked out of the editor. I found that the menu change worked.
Hide Comments Menu from Editor Role.
I repeated the process of creating a new user with the Editor role and went to log in as that user in a new private window. I was surprised to see that the login screen had already been partially styled. OK, I guess, but that means I either have to style it or disable this feature.
There was another surprise when I logged in and went to the admin. I saw the same menu as the admin role. Wait! Of course I did because in the menu editor I applied that menu to everyone. User error. Of course if you clicked on one of the admin only menu items you got a WordPress notice that you didn’t have permission.
I went back in as admin and changed the settings for the Default menu so they were inclusive and added the Admin role.
Back to the user with the editor role and the correct items were showing, but wait, the top level Admin Pages menu item was showing. Note to set the roles you want for that!
Back to the starting screen of the menu creator. On the hot dog menu there is an option to duplicate a menu.
This is what you get when you duplicate.
When you hover over a menu item there is a trash icon. I removed most of the items.
One thing I noticed was that all of the submenu areas were empty. So I copied in the submenus I wanted.
If you click on an individual menu item there is a popup where you can edit the name, change the link, change the icon, and have it open in a new tab.
This is what the final looked like to the editor user.
I tried the direct link to the Comments screen and it worked, so UiPress is also not a role editor. However, UiPress did have the option to add a new separator or admin link to a menu.
Adding Links to the Admin Toolbar
UiPress has the ability to change the default admin toolbar to their own version, but does not have the ability to add links of your own.
Customizing the Login Page
The options for customizing the login page are pretty basic. You have a light mode / dark mode option, the ability to change the logo, and the ability to change the background image.
Folders for the Media Library
UiPress has the option to use folders for organizing the media library. Sites with lots of images might find this feature makes finding items easier.
Discussion and Conclusions
I had a good experience using UiPress. The admin theme customizations were very nice and the look was consistent. I could see using the dark mode on a site as a default look. The menu creator also worked very well. It was full featured and I was able to move menu items up or down levels, which is nice for cleaning up with what can sometime be a long list of items.
The folders feature is nice for managing the media library, and the ability to put some cards on the Overview page to show Google Analytics reports would also be useful. The login page customization options would be sufficient for me, but they are pretty barebones.
The one long content page didn’t make sense to me and neither do folders for posts, pages, and post types, so I would probably turn those features off. I didn’t really run into any issues, except the mission icon when I moved a custom admin page out to the top level. I reached out to support a couple of times when I didn’t know how something worked. I left a question in the chat and got a response in a reasonable timeframe.
Overall I am pretty happy with UiPress. It did not have as many features as you might find elsewhere, but the features it does have were well polished.