RubyConf: John Long: Radiant CMS

Posted by Nick Sieger Sat, 21 Oct 2006 02:54:00 GMT

What is Radiant?

  • No-fluff, lightweight CMS for small teams
  • Simplicity over features
  • A little more than a blogging engine
  • Made for designers and programmers (techies)
  • Tag-based template language
  • Total control over output
  • Plugin extension mechanism under development
  • Content sites, not portal software

Getting Started

  • Install: gem install radiant
  • Generate a new application: mkdir demo && cd demo && radiant .
  • Configure database: cp config/database.sqlite.yml config/database.yml

Installation types

  • Instance mode vs. application mode (whether or not you have Rails source present). Instance mode also makes it possible to clone and share customize Radiant applications.
  • Base application includes an admin interface

Pages, Snippets and Layouts

  • Hierarchical page management
  • Create page in several states (draft, reviewed, published) in Textile or Markdown with slug, breadcrumb, and layout
  • Snippets are small chunks of content that can be shared between pages (to DRY up your content)
  • Layouts that can be broken down into components of the layout (sidebar, etc.)


  • Radius
  • <r:title/>, <r:content part="sidebar" inherit="true"/>, <r:snippet name="footer"/>, <r:if_content part="extended">...</r:if_content>, <r:children:each limit="5" order="desc">...</r:children:each>
  • Tags can be embedded anywhere, not just in the layout
  • Tags are contextual -- e.g., <r:title/> picks the correct title even if it is embedded within a snippet within multiple pages
  • Custom tags possible with “behavior”

Text Filters

  • Textile (RedCloth), Markdown (BlueCloth), SmartyPants
  • Vanilla HTML (no filtering)
  • Custom filters possible. [This is my own example below, not John’s.]
        class MyFilter < TextFilter::Base
      register 'profanity filter'
      def filter(txt)
        txt.gsub(/(damn|ass|shit)/i, '####')

Radiant is powering the new site. Overall, a slick, well-thought out, polished, extendable CMS done very much in the philosophy of Ruby and Rails. Check it out!

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