Breakdown Analysis of Ruby on Rails Content Management Systems (CMS)

Someone commented that there was a few other Ruby on Rails CMS systems and wanted to know how they might compare to Rubricks. First off, when comparing CMS systems, there are basic features to look at like user management, blocks controls, menu controllers and general system control such as how data is presented. Then you start getting into features and extendable capabilities such as existing modules and plugins that the system supplies including some of the new Ajax support possibilities out there.

I’ll be discussing five Ruby on Rails content management systems in this post. The systems i’ll be talking about are:

  • Rubricks
  • Railfrog
  • Eribium
  • Muraveyweb
  • Rubish


Rubricks uses spinelz scripts as opposed to scripts, for its ajax powered menu like controllers. Both Rubricks and spinelz scripts are fairly young in terms of development, so take what anyone says (without trying for yourself) with a grain of salt. Furthermore, Rubricks implements its own rubricks plugin which supplies the standard rubricks librarys. The standard library acts mostly as view helpers and approval scripts for authorizing new users. It also has a cache cleaner and a content approval system (although i’m not sure if it works or not).

Rubricks: Conceptual Overview

The general idea around Rubricks is components, blocks and menus. It uses YAML for configuration which you might find interesting, although many settings such as min_user_login and min_user_password for setting min/max user information take some searching for. And you’ll find there are MANY notes throughout the code stating that things are still TODO, or in other words, not yet done. This means a lot of times you’ll find something that you think should be there, but isn’t implemented yet. Rubricks is by no means production ready for industrial applications. As far as a CMS goes, it’s selling points are that it uses ajax scripts, has a semi-decent user system in place and has a japanese and english language support. ,/p>



Railfrog was one of the earliest conceived CMS systems for Ruby on Rails, and grew popular in concept by many who hoped to see them develop something. After several months, they have shown absolutely no progress to the public except for two posts to their blog. Neither of those blog posts indicates if they have a working Ruby on Rails CMS or if they are still working on gathering contributors. I think the person who conceived Railfrog had the right idea, but i’m not sure if they had the ability to followthrough on it.




Eribium, much like Rubricks, is under very active development. They have chosen to implement different AJAX features from Rubricks, but none the less they are still taking advantage of web 2.0 technologies. One nice thing I saw was form sliders, which allow you to increase the size of a textbox using a slider. They are used to select the size of the text area of the fields you are creating (pretty neato). Beyond that, it’s just a lot of fun to play with! Eribium also implements a stats system (something that Rubricks seemed to lack), but their overall interface is not nearly as clean as Rubricks. The comparison between the two is interesting because on one hand you have a clean gui with ajax controllers (Rubricks) and on the other you have a cms with more options and statistics, yet the user interface seems rather rough (Eribium). I think Eribium could use some improved CSS and layout enhancements if it’s going to take a leading role as a staple of what Content Management in Ruby on Rails should be like.


Muraveyweb, the next CMS on the list is not as full featured in the entire content-management spectrum as the earlier two, but specializes in File management and controls as well as publishing of content. The other two seem to be making headway in the directio of actual content publishing, wheras this is the area Muraveyweb excels. What it lacks in spiffy ajax features and web 2.0 user controls, it makes up in an attempt to bring content power to the users of the system. The downside and I may be wrong here, is that it doesn’t look like Muraveyweb is under the constant type of development that Rubricks and Eribium are. It simply doesn’t have the momentum of changes in its changelog. It does however have quite a history, dating as a project back to 2003.

Rubish by Kyle Shank

Kyle Shank creator of Radrails) and the long awaited Rubish has not yet actually published the first version of this CMS. So as to not bore the reader with a long detailed explanation as to why, Kyle has said on his podcasts and website that he’s been extremely busy but is working on it as quickly as possible. He’s finishing classes in college, working on Radrails the Ruby IDE for Rails development and probably trying to live life beyond the computer as well. Based on my experience with Radrails and Kyle’s continued enthusiasm about Rails development, I can tell you that I’m definetely looking forward to his release of Rubish and will be interested to see what outrageous (yes you heard me say it Kyle – they’d better be good!) goodies he has in store for us. I hope I haven’t set my expectations too high but I don’t want to underestimate his abilities either. I think Rubish will be something we should all be keeping our eye on, and if it does look to be worthwhile, we can contribute towards its growth and development as well.

Growth of open source CMS projects requires your involvement!

When it’s all said and done as far as CMS analysis is concerned, there’s a lot of features these CMS systems don’t have that would make them a lot better. While they do implement some outstanding AJAX functionality and are taking advantage of the power of Ruby on Rails in full effect, they don’t nearly have the maturity of a CMS such as Drupal which is entirely PHP based and has more modules and features then you can shake a stick at. On the bright side, there are a few Drupal developers who have gained an interest in Rails and are likely to be on the lookout for a Ruby on Rails CMS that they can lay their hands on. Ultimately if we are to see any CMS for Ruby on Rails become incredibly useful, it’ll take teamwork and community involvement. I encourage any of you who are interested in content management or use it for your projects to contribute to these cms projects, even if its simply helping to translate their documentation to another language. Every little bit helps and the Ruby on Rails community needs to come out strongly with CMS systems we can all use in your development to speed up our workflow, learn from and enhance the quality as a whole of doing open source and commercialized web-development using Ruby on Rails.

I hope you found this information useful pertaining to the rails content management systems!