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Best Ruby On Rails CMS

Mar 26, 2008
If you are looking for the best Ruby on Rails Content Management System (CMS), then Radiant should be on your short list of options. Radiant provides all the facilities of a content management system in a very easy and powerful way. It can help you by creating a nice, clean, organized website for personal or corporate purposes.

A content management system provides the foundation for an easy to maintain a website. Unlike most CMS, Radiant is not a PHP based CMS. Radiant is written in Ruby and utilizes the Ruby on Rails framework. As you would expect from a Ruby on Rails based solution, it is very efficient for developing websites.

Radiant fits well into projects that do not require document management or complex publishing workflow scenarios. In other words, Radiant is a great fit for the majority of websites.

A key factor in deciding which CMS to use should be the customization factor. When I say "customization factor", I mean the how difficult it is to develop custom functionality particular to your project. Some CMS systems make this easy while others present more of a challenge. Based on my experience, a key element in the customization factor is the amount of out-of-box functionality. Out-of-box or default functionality is both a pro and a con. On the pro side, you might be able to take advantage of existing functionality. But, a con can be an environment/code base that is difficult to customize and maintain. This con presents a low customization factor.

Radiant makes adding custom functionality straightforward. Developers add additional functionality by adding what Radiant developers call Extensions. The Extension system enhances the functionality capabilities of the website. (Extensions is sometimes analogous to "plug-in" in other software) There are numerous Extensions already available and more appearing every day.

Extensions can also be used to customize the administration interface of the CMS. This is of particular interest to independent software vendors who choose to use Radiant as part of an overall solution.

Radiant includes all the features of a good content management system. A real strength of the software is simple, intuitive administrative interface. This makes the software easy to use for both seasoned CMS users and beginners alike.

The three key components of the administrative panel are Pages, Snippets and Layouts. It looks similar to three functions used in blog software, but it possesses more functionality and enhancements when compared to blog software. Different page content is managed through the "Pages" area. Common content, such as headers and footers is managed through "Snippet" area. And the overall website design templates are managed in the "Layout" area.

Radiant also comes with a macro language called Radius which works in the form of custom tags. It provides a variety of useful dynamic functionality; example: manage parent-child page relationships and inclusion of content from a snippet.

For those concerned about performance, page caching is also available in Radiant content management system.

With all these features, it is possible to create an easily maintainable and customized website. As it is open source, you can use the content management system without spending money on license fees. So, if you want to use a simple, extensible, easy to use, ruby based content management system, you should consider Radiant Content Management System.
About the Author
Vince India is the systems administrator for ServiceCycle.com ServiceCycle provides Radiant CMS hosting and customization
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