RubyConf: Radiant – Content Management Simplified

John Long, lead developer of Radiant CMS gave an in-depth overview of this Ruby on Rails driven Content Management System. Radiant is a lightweight CMS with a ‘pristine interface’ and basic elements such as pages, layout, and snippets. According to John, the design philosophy of Radiant is ‘simplicity over features.’ Basically, Radiant is ‘a little bit more than a blogging engine.’

Radiant CMS uses a tag based template engine, unlike rails which uses ERb in views. Radiant tags look like those provided by Struts taglibs. Radiant tags provide the same functionality available in rails erb-based views, only that tags are more Dreamweaver/WYSIWYG friendly.

If you want to take a look at Radiant in action, take a look at Ruby homepage. According to John, Radiant is ideal for content oriented sites or small brochure-style sites. John is also a designer so he strives to make Radiant simple and easy to use not only for programmers but more specifically for web designers. From my observations I have noticed that Rails and Radiant makes it easy for designers to program an application, but there is no tool that helps programmers design a site.

John spent time going over upcoming features in Radiant. The following features are in the works for future version: plugins, replacing behaviors with custom page types, full blogging (comments and tagging) support, search, workflow with roles, and maybe version control.

In the break after John’s talk, I downloaded Radiant and got started. I found it easy to use and manage. I plan to use Radiant small sites that I have in the works.

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