Don’t forget app/design/adminhtml/base/default folder when adding customs elements to Magento back-office

From the beginning of Magento until today (eg Community edition 1.7 and Enterprise Edition 1.12), Magento admin design folder has always been located in the app/design/adminhtml/default/default folder.

This folder contains all the required files to build adminhtml pages:

  • layouts to define adminhtml pages structure
  • templates used by theses layouts

So, If you need to provide specific back-office interfaces, where will you put them? in this app/design/adminhtml/default/default folder?

Magento page structure loading file API

Adminhtml is managed like the same loading API used in the front office; this API has been reviewed in Magento CE 14 and related Enterprises editions to load content in the following order:

  • Custom package / Custom theme folder
  • Custom package / default theme folder
  • Base package / default theme folder

I have previously explained the aim of this rule and what you can do with it

But the question is: adminhtml default default folder is: base package or custom package?

app/design/admintml/base/default as a default package folder

Yes it is. The folder app/design/admintml/default/default is not a default one, but the the default theme for the adminhtml default package; folder app/design/admintml/base/default can also exists even if it’s not embedded with magento sources.

So for sure, this is not an error to enhance this default package, but it does not respect the role of this loading api.

So it could be interesting to use app/design/adminhtml/base/default as folder for your new back-office interfaces


app/design/adminhtml/base/default folder does not exist in Magento sources but you can create it as you wish.
In a dream world, back-office updates should be managed as this:

  • Move app/design/adminhtml/default/default folder to app/design/adminhtml/base/default folder: we ensure this way that we have the default magento design for back-office
  • Use a custom package for the back-office updates of the existing interfaces
  • Provide new back-office interfaces in the adminhtml/base/default folder

Do you have already created the app/design/adminhtml/base/default folder for your own back-office interfaces or you do not take care of this case?