New to Rails 3? Check out the Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial book and screencast.

A book and screencast series showing you how to develop and deploy industrial-strength Rails apps in a direct, step by step way. The screencast series includes 12 lessons over more than 15 hours! Get the best "over the shoulder" experience of following what a top Rails 3 developer does when building an app today. Click here to learn more.

Seed: A New Rails Powered Open Source CMS With In-Page Admin Interface

In Tools

seedThe Media Collective's "common sense CMS" named Seed (code) (demo) (screencast) is a diamond in the rough. It supports Akismet spam blocking, monitoring via New Relic, media storage via Amazon's S3, page caching, and fine-grain control of page editing on a per-user basis - all out of the box. It joins existing Rails CMS's like Refinery and Radiant, but comes better styled at the start than either of the two and the live on-page administration interface sets it apart. Seed is also MIT licensed so you can use it in your own projects without any hassles.

Seed's WYSIWYG Interface

The Future: Compare and Contrast

Refinery, Radiant, and Seed are all being actively developed but Refinery currently lacks page caching, and will ultimately need to assimilate all of the things that Seed already has before it can be considered a better alternative. As it stands, the re-order/edit-in-place functionality of Seed is preferable to the scheme Refinery presently uses, which places similar technology in the administrative interface. Clearly, in terms of functionality, with having what approximates a WYSIWYG arrangement tool, Seed is quite slick.

It should be mentioned that Seed is currently built upon Rails v2.1.2, and after contacting the author on GitHub, it isn't likely to advance to a newer version of Rails until there is an intrinsic need that requires doing so.

Features and Customization

Both Seed and Refinery use Rails' engines functionality, and you can override the packaged controllers and views by creating your own copies in the vendor directory and customizing them. This makes it straightforward to back-up business data and simplifies the upgrade process to future versions. Seed also provides calendar functionality, as well as differentiation between articles, news entries, and blog entries out of the box, and it also supports displaying YouTube videos as page components. Both Seed and Refinery allow for file uploading and attachments, but I found myself preferentially drawn towards the smooth light-box that Seed employs.

One thing I don't appreciate with Seed is that the images seem programmatically bound to the upper right hand corner of the articles, but that is most definitely something that can be addressed either through tweaking the CSS or the underlying source code. Had it been possible to drag-and-drop the images such that they could be spread into different paragraphs within the articles, Seed would hands down be my favorite CMS for Rails at present, bar none.

Odds and Ends

There is a built-in table-producing page component that uses a simple mark-up of pipe (|) symbols to create evenly spaced tables within features. I've never seen this before and it's quite handy. Seed does a lot for you, straight out of the box, and is a serious contender in the Rails CMS landscape. I personally think that every Ruby CMS should ship with Compass, and adding Compass to Seed is near the top of my to-do list.


I'm pretty actively tracking open-source web technologies, perhaps to a fault, and I've never seen or heard of Seed in my online experience to date. Found via chance as an aberrant search result on GitHub, Seed has impressed me these past weeks and is definitely worthy of a couple of minutes to setup. At present, it's my favorite of the Ruby CMSes, and while I've traditionally found myself tending towards the Sinatra-based Nesta for a lightweight solution, I think Seed is my new go-to solution for a Rails-based CMS.

Quick Setup Instructions

(case of ubuntu server x86_64 running the latest REE based on 1.8.7)
gem install -v=2.1.2 rails
git clone git:// seed
cd seed
cp config/examples/*.yml config/
rake gems:install
emacs config/settings.yml

script/setup demo
be sure to replace the "secret" string as suggested in the environment.rb file ...
Load http://localhost:3000 in your browser and relish in all that you didn't have to code!

A big thanks to grantmichaels for providing this guest post.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Vaguely Related Posts (Usually)

13 Comment Responses to “Seed: A New Rails Powered Open Source CMS With In-Page Admin Interface”

  1. #1
    Targino Silveira Says:

    Interesting see that CMS in rails are growing, because always that we hear to talk about CMS we remember PHP.

    It's very good.

  2. #2
    Philipe Farias Says:

    Another great Rails based cms is BrowserCMS (
    Also has edit-in-place, page caching, great interface and uses Rails 2.3.2.

  3. #3
    Rafael Schaer Says:

    not really active this project (browsercms), but it is a good start
    but there is no serious CMS yet, another CMS which evolves is adva-cms, check it out:

  4. #4
    Double Shot #556 « A Fresh Cup Says:

    [...] Seed: A New Rails Powered Open Source CMS With In-Page Admin Interface - Rails Inside covers a new contender in this market. [...]

  5. #5
    bruno Says:

    Curious how easy it might be to integrate an Engines-based CMS like seed with CommunityEngine ( I often get questions from CE developers about the best CMS to integrate with, but I haven't really experimented. Any thoughts?

  6. #6
    grantmichaels Says:


    As you might recall from a recent email over at github, I had mentioned that I thought adding CMS functionality to CommunityEngine's capabilities was going to be easier than adding CommunityEngine's capabilities to a CMS ... I think that the combination of the two, with the addition of Compass, would result in a generic base installation capable of making a lot of different kinds of websites.


  7. #7
    richardgonzales Says:

    Started a fork of seed to have it initially running on Rails 2.3.3 at least (

  8. #8
    grantmichaels Says:

    in getting Seed 15x the number of repo watchers and having it now brought up to a (near) current Rails version, the article was successful in helping the project stand on it's own two feet - especially since the original author suggested (gasp) a php-based CMS in his most recent email on github =) ... ... no thanks.

  9. #9
    richardgonzales Says:


    Nice to know that! I love the features of Seed and hopefully by the end of the coming week have this one loaded for my personal site using my fork. Also made a big switch from attachment_fu to paperclip, options to use MySQL or SQLite on setup. More to come! Thanks!

  10. #10
    ahmed Says:

    hi, please can i have the Quick Setup Instructions for Windows environnement.

  11. #11
    Chris Says:

    Not impressed at all with this CMS. Limited, niche oriented. Not ready for public consumption without a lot of custom code integration.

  12. #12
    Dharmdip Says:

    Actually , these all are good but must see is
    fatcfree CRM :

    Covers numbers of functionality and can help in various manner !

  13. #13
    Prasi Says:

    Rails CMS compared and reviewed.

Leave a Reply