Once upon a time, a company called Resolve Digital went on a quest to find the perfect content management system. After looking high and low, far and wide, the company finally called off the search party. Sadly, they were empty handed.

But all was not lost. Instead of settling for something less than perfect, Resolve Digital decided to take matters into their own hands and build an all-new CMS from the ground up. After 5 years under the hood, RefineryCMS is not only up and running, it’s also up for grabs. 

Resolve Digital

With offices in both New Zealand and California, Resolve Digital works day and night to build custom online stores and Web applications using Ruby on Rails. Their services are aimed at those who require an online store or application to run their business, and their approach, as far as we can tell, is pretty simple and straightforward.

Is their new content management system the same? Let’s see…


Built in Ruby on Rails (of course), Refinery is a modular system that allows new functionality to be built and connected to the base application. Resolve Digital claims that every element of Refinery is designed to be simple, ensuring that the end user is not required to perform tasks that are beyond their capabilities.

There’s nothing wrong with a claim like that; after all, these days people like their processes automated and easy. However, it’s a little odd when you consider the fact that one of Refinery’s taglines is: “Built for (and by) designers and developers…” Resolve Digital goes on to note that site owners are typically not designers or developers, and Refinery caters to that.

Whatever the case, Refinery definitely does not make managing content difficult. We tested it out quickly for ourselves and found that it really is straightforward and simple. So simple in fact, that it lacks familiar features like spell check, but hey, it’s open source. Problem easily solved.

Plus, it's free, and you definitely can't beat that.

Try It!

With limited information available on the solution, our final verdict is that sure, Refinery could use some refinement, but it's not a bad solution for those looking for a simple, no-frills fix. Check out the guided tour below to see it in action (skip to about 2:30):



If you want a more hands-on experience, you can tinker around with the demo here.