Dom Christie

A Simple Website on Rails?

Ever since I started using Rails, Git and Heroku, I've been looking for a way to use these tools to create basic websites that have a nice interface for managing content.

I'd normally approach this kind of site with Wordpress. I like it's easy installation and the features it has out of the box; but getting it setup with Git and keeping development/production environments in sync (+ deployment) is a bit of a headache[1].

What's more, as with most content management systems I've used, I've often found myself using ugly fixes to force it do do what I want it to, or trawling through directories to find a plugin that's sure not to break when I upgrade the CMS.

I've briefly looked into Radiant and Refinery: Rails-based alternatives that work fine within a Git workflow; but while they maybe easy to learn, I'd rather be getting to know Rails better, rather than the particular workings of a CMS (I know, this sounds lazy!).

The best solution I've come across so far is Rails Admin, which, as the name implies, provides a simple way to administer content on a Rails backend. Although I've only just started using it, it appears to have just the bare minimum features necessary to create/update content - allowing me to make the decisions about how my data is organised.

Installation is easy and getting something up and running couldn't be quicker. This is probably because I work more with Ruby/Rails than I do with php/Wordpress (or any other CMS); but it suits me - particularly as I can focus on creating web apps with Rails and learning Ruby (a bit nicer than php, in my humble opinion!)

[1] For example, it's all too easy modify files outside of the Git workflow - what with the ability to update the CMS via the Wordpress interface.