CMS based on Ruby on Rails: examples and features

4 min reading
User Experience / 26 April 2016
CMS based on Ruby on Rails: examples and features
CMS based on Ruby on Rails: examples and features


No editorial project can exist without CMS (Content Management System). The times when communication professionals needed HTML knowledge to publish their content are gone, largely due to work by the community of developers who launched straightforward alternatives like WordPress, Drupal and Blogger. These days there are CMS in almost every type of programming language and development framework. One of them is Ruby on Rails.

Ruby on Rails is the combination of Ruby, the programming language, and Rails, the back-end development framework for web application development. This open-source project is most certainly one of the most flexible frameworks on the market. It also provides essential functions on the server side, through database queries and management of different design layouts.

Radiant CMS

Radiant is the example of a CMS that is not an exercise of power, but is highly useful for small projects with no limit on number of pages. Like with other CMS on the market, such as WordPress, Radiant can add any functions desired by installing plugins. For developers, the code is clean and simple and so directly fine-tuning the programming to make improvements is a godsend. Having said that, any new extension must be built on Ruby on Rails. Its creators describe it as “a no-fluff, open source content management system designed for small teams”.

Some of its features include:

●      An elegant, user-friendly interface. It is made up of three simple components: pages, snippets and layouts.  

●      Flexible layouts with several designs.

●      Personalized print markup language: RDoc, BBCode and Structured Text

●      System of default plugins: there are plugins to enter breadcrumbs for SEO (search engine optimization), add advertisements, audio player, carrousel plugin, configure comments…There are dozens available in the repository.

●      Option of developing own extensions.

●      User, role and permission management such as WordPress.

●      Flexible structure: some CMS have a very static page structure system. Radiant is different in this regard: the developer can structure the pages as he/she likes, to the point that a blog can be a group of secondary pages under a parent page.

●      Intelligent caché storage: Radiant only stores the content in caché for a maximum of 5 minutes, which enhances performance. 

●      Licensed software MIT License

Adva CMS

Adva is a Ruby on Rails CMS for websites with a hierarchical page structure. The Adva content management system is less used than Radiant, but is still considered highly among developers who specialize in Ruby on Rails. This CMS is a platform based on Ruby Engines, which provides its own search engine features.

Some of the most important features of Adva CMS are:

●      Adva is an open-source software.

●      Extendable tool: like with Radiant, Ruby on Rails allows extensions to be added for new functions. 

●      CMS as the basic structure: the purpose of Adva CMS is to give development teams a basic structure based on which they can develop any kind of applications above this structure. To put it one way, it is a good start for a broader development.

●      Ruby on Rails caché system: this allows developments with very quick upload times, enhancing performance and enabling scalability. There is an advantage to caching responses to requests: the system can respond to more requests in less time. 


Refinery this is designed for users who need a simple CMS to start an editorial project, a blog or a small website. This is not to say it is not suitable for larger-scale projects. This is possible to a large extent due to being free open-source software. The Ruby community is responsible for enhancing it for other users. Unlike other Ruby on Rails CMS , Refinery runs on the latest development framework version, 4.2. The idea is for the manager to be able to always get the most out of all of the new features added to Rails. Yes the latest version to be launched is 5, but its three beta versions are still in the testing phase. 

Interesting features of Refinery:

●      CMS for beginners: the idea of the creators of Refinery is for any user to have a website in 10 minutes, without any technical problems. They also want this userfriendliness to apply to creating entries and managing user profiles.

●      Personalized scalability: if the user needs extra functions to those that come with the CMS by default, Refinery allows personalized plugins to be created and added to the manager.

●      Flexibility in designing and creating layouts.

●      CMS available in 30 languages


Casein is a Ruby on Rails CMS based on Bootstrap, the Twitter development framework for responsible web projects. This CMS provides the necessary structure for any editorial project, not only on the interface side but also on the database side with a CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete, the four basic functions that any database performs in digital development). It is a CMS that can be easily included in new projects or existing ones, although those developments are built on a completely different software.


There are not only open-source options, there are also some payment options. One of them is Scrivito, another Ruby on Rails CMS, which is available by paying a rate (between 149 and 949 dollars a month). Depending on the needs of each project, a more expensive or a cheaper option is better. Scrivito has its own SDK and API for any team of developers to work with them to adapt the back-end, develop specific functions… 

These are some of its defining characteristics:

●      WYSIWYG editing: this editing style is What You See Is What You Get.

●      Collective work based on copies: this system allows collaborative work between different editors on one single piece, something that CMS do not usually allow to avoid problems in publications. Scrivito creates a copy that depends on the master publication to generate any change in it. This means that there can be several different copies of the entry that is already published, similar to version control systems for developments such as Git.

●      Cloud service: this CMS executes the entire infrastructure on Amazon Web Services, one of the most powerful cloud services on the market. For the database, Scrivito uses DynamoDB, Amazon’s NoSQL database.  

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