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Monika Ambrozowicz for Forest Admin

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Case Study: Internal Tools at Raspberry Pi

Executive Summary

  1. Raspberry Pi, the creator of famous tiny computers sold in over 40 million units around the world, has chosen Forest Admin as an internal tool solution to manage the network of trusted resellers and design partners.
  2. In the past, the development team at Raspberry Pi has built internal tools from scratch, then got started with Forest Admin using Lumber and a separate Node.js admin application, and eventually migrated to Forest Admin for Rails applications.
  3. Forest Admin saved Raspberry Pi a significant amount of time and resources by letting developers focus on the core product, and by automating the work of operations teams.

About Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is famous for its single-board, credit card-sized, low-cost, and powerful personal computers, sold in more than forty million copies around the world. Thanks to its tiny size and high performance, Raspberry Pi can become fully functional desktop computers, industrial controllers, robots, even retro games consoles. Such versatility makes them truly special, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Raspberry Pi computers are everywhere, including the International Space Station.

Raspberry Pi 4: A $35 dual-display computer.
Raspberry Pi 4: A $35 dual-display computer.

Challenges that made Raspberry Pi seeking a robust and flexible internal tool solution

Raspberry Pi offers a wide portfolio of products, including ready-to-use computer kits, microcontroller boards and chips, cameras, touch displays, and various accessories such as cases, power supplies, and educational materials. Every item can be easily ordered online: Raspberry Pi’s official website signposts customers to a global network of trusted businesses called Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers.

Raspberry Pi 4: A $35 dual-display computer.
Raspberry Pi 4: A $35 dual-display computer.

Raspberry Pi needs an internal tool to handle the process that starts from clicking on ‘Buy now’ to the final purchase on the reseller’s website. Thanks to Forest Admin, Raspberry Pi can have one application dedicated to administering its data and one dedicated to serving it in a read-only fashion. This way, the company can delegate responsibility for user accounts, etc. to Forest Admin and keep the APIs as simple and focused as possible.

Raspberry Pi 4: A $35 dual-display computer.
Raspberry Pi 400, the newest addition to the Raspberry Pi’s portfolio, is a powerful computer built into a neat and portable keyboard.

Raspberry Pi also leverages Forest Admin to manage its operations with Approved Design Partners. This network is in charge of helping businesses that use Raspberry Pi to jump-start the design process of their products.

Forest Admin: The ideal admin panel solution

As Raspberry Pi handles a large number of reseller links for each product, their staff needs to download and upload links as CSV files, sanitizing the data and associating it with the correct reseller, product, and country as it is imported. For such operations that are tight to a very specific use case, Raspberry Pi needed an admin panel that is highly configurable and flexible. That’s why they quickly set up Forest Admin Smart Actions that allowed Raspberry Pi to both add and update existing links in bulk without staff having to update each record individually in the admin panel.

Raspberry Pi relies on Forest Admin's Data View to manage products, countries, approved resellers, design partners, and product links, using Rails Liana with a Rails API to power the integration. Its staff share CSV exports with the resellers who can then add their own links before they are imported back into the system.

An example of the Data View in Forest Admin from the demo account.
An example of the Data View in Forest Admin from the demo account. Forest Admin doesn’t have access to customer data.

When Raspberry Pi got started with Forest Admin, they used Lumber and a separate Node.js admin application, just like in this video:

However, Raspberry Pi made a decision to migrate using a Rails app as a data source. Here is what one of the developers working on the project said about the move:

By migrating to Rails Liana we were able to consolidate our infrastructure and run a single Rails application that serves both our various product pages and provides the API necessary for Forest Admin. By relying on Forest Admin's single sign-on functionality with Google, we don't need to maintain our own authentication and permission system, avoiding yet another user account for our staff and keeping our application code entirely focused on our business problems.

Read how to install Forest Admin for Rails app.

Are you looking for an internal tool solution? I highly recommend trying Forest Admin for free

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