Ruby on Rails Open Source Web CMSs

When you look at the open source content management systems out there today, you'll find a ton written in PHP, some written in Perl and Java, and a small collection written in Python.

There is also another small OS CMS market -- those written in Ruby on Rails (RoR).


Mephisto is currently on version 0.8.2 and is described as a "blog engine with some simple CMS-ish concepts (sections, pages), a very flexible templating system, and an aggressive caching scheme."

The project appears to be working toward a .9 release with RoR 2.3 support, and is released under a custom license.

Features include:

  • CMS concepts such as sections and pages that you can apply within your blog
  • A custom templating system
  • ATOM feeds
  • Support for multiple markup languages
  • Independent layout and customization for each section

Radiant CMS

Radiant CMS is currently on version is 0.7.1 and is described as a "no-fluff, open source content management system designed for small teams." This is one of the more active Ruby on Rails open source CMS projects, and is released under the MIT license.

Features include:

  • Flexible site structure, arrange your pages according to any hierarchy
  • A macro language for building templates
  • Custom text filters for markup languages
  • Intelligent page caching
  • Layouts that can be applied to page sub-components
  • Snippets of text that can be used in multiple places throughout your content


Seymore is currently on Revision 35 and is described as "a very easy to use content management system that handles multiple revisions and revision publishing."

Features include:

  • Contextual content management
  • Page revision tracking
  • Workflow
  • Rollbacks
  • Drag and drop page re-ordering

The current project leader, Thomas Mango, says that he has no problems fixing bugs or working on new features, but that he hasn't added new features to Seymore as the system does exactly what his clients need. This project is released under a custom license.


Typo is currently on version 5.3 for Ruby on Rails 2.2 and is described as "the oldest and most powerful Ruby on Rails blogware, providing custom templates, powerful drag and drop plugins API, advanced SEO capabilities, XMLRPC API and many more."

This appears to be one of the more active RoR open source CMS projects. Its features include:

  • Customizable SEO interface
  • Individual user dashboards
  • Two types of content, articles and pages
  • Category support
  • Tag manager
  • Customizable themes

Typo is released under the MIT License.

Ruby Rocks?

All in all, most of the Ruby on Rails open source CMS offerings are still in an immature stage, built to scratch the itch of one or a few developers. Still, these are all in use on production sites.

Perhaps the biggest barrier for people interested in trying these content management solutions is getting used to working with Ruby on Rails. Installation for each is documented in at least a basic fashion. The communities around these tools are small, so finding help may not be as easy as with other open source CMSs. But for those interested in this specific technology, these options may be exactly what you're looking for.

Give them a try and let us know what you think.