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What to use for a CodeIgniter Backend


We are a web development firm and we have built our own custom backend ontop of Code Igniter. This is working well but I wanted to find out the following:

1. Are there standard backends (IE: Admin consoles) that people use?

2. I see there are many of these backend themes that can be bought but if my understanding is correct these need to be fully integrated into your code manually (IE: you have to tie in the HTML, CSS and JS, to all your backend logic, functionality and validation, etc...) Are there any off the shelf backends that work well and can be "plugged in"?

3. If the above is incorrect, is it correct to say that most people and companies custom build their own backend functionality / admin section?

What is the best practices and way to approach this?

I would love to hear what you guys use and if there are standard backends packed with functionality or if they are all custom coded.

Looking forward to the responses.

Nothing beat custom coding your backend, but I think there are ways to modularise your backend. For example, you could save these backends and their options in the database rather than write each one by hand.

The back-end is one of the things that drew me to Bonfire. It does have some conventions and inter-related modules which can constrain interoperability with existing back-end code, but most of it is designed so that it can be overridden. It is also designed to use jQuery and Bootstrap 2 (though a Bootstrap 3 branch is available, it's a little out of synch), but I have a long-term goal of at least making it easier to replace the JavaScript/CSS framework used by the back-end theme.

Another of the reasons I chose Bonfire was being able to easily incorporate my own modules into the back-end and still have the code in separate locations from the Bonfire code. It overrides some of the core and HMVC functionality to insert itself as a sort of secondary "system" layer, so the majority of the code stays separate from your application, but can also be overridden by your application.

However, I chose Bonfire at the beginning of my project, when I had nothing to integrate into it, so I'm not really sure how difficult it is to work with when trying to merge it with existing functionality.

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