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ComfortableMexicanSofa (MicroCMS)

ComfortableMexicanSofa is a tiny and powerful micro CMS for your Rails 3 application. This CMS is a plugin for your application, not the other way around. Implemented as an Engine so installation is no different than for any other plugin out there.


Add gem definition to your Gemfile:

gem 'comfortable_mexican_sofa'

Then from the Rails project's root run:

bundle install
rails g cms
rake db:migrate

When upgrading to a newer version just run rails g cms and replace files when prompted. You may also need to run rake db:migrate again.


After finishing installation you should be able to navigate to http://yoursite/cms-admin

Default username and password is 'username' and 'password'. You probably want to change it right away. Admin credentials (among other things) can be found and changed in the cms initializer: /config/initializers/comfortable_mexican_sofa.rb

Before creating pages and populating them with content we need to create a layout. A layout is the template of your pages; it defines some reusable content (like header and footer, for example) and places where the content goes. A very simple layout can look like this:

    <h1>{{ cms:page:header:string }}</h1>
    {{ cms:page:content:text }}

Once you have a layout, you may start creating pages and populating content. It's that easy.

Sofa's Page Edit View

CMS Tags

There are a number of cms tags that define where the content goes and how it's populated. Page and Field tags are used during layout creation. Snippet, Helper and Partial tags can be peppered pretty much anywhere. Tag is structured like so:

{{ cms:page:content:text }}
    \    \     \      \ 
     \    \     \      ‾ tag format or extra attributes
      \    \     ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ label/slug/path for the tag, 
       \    ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ tag type (page, field, snippet, helper, partial)
        ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ cms tag identifier

Here's a number of tag variations:

# Page tags are pieces of text content that will get rendered on the page. Format defines how form field
# gets rendered in the page editing/creation section of the admin area.

{{ cms:page:some_label:text }}
{{ cms:page:some_label }}             # shorthand for above. 'text' is default format for pages
{{ cms:page:some_label:string }}      # in admin area text field is displayed instead of textarea
{{ cms:page:some_label:datetime }}    # similarly, datetime widget in the admin area
{{ cms:page:some_label:integer }}     # a number field
{{ cms:page:some_label:rich_text }}   # TinyMCE wysiwyg editor will be used to edit this content

# Field tags are pieces of text content that are NOT rendered on the page. They can be accessed via
# your application's layout / helpers / partials etc. Useful for populating this like <meta> tags.
# Field formats are exactly the same as for Page tags.

{{ cms:field:some_label:string }}
{{ cms:field:some_label }}            # same as above. 'string' is default format for fields

# Snippet tags are bits or reusable content that can be used anywhere. Imagine creating content like
# a sharing widget, or business address that you want to randomly use across your site.

{{ cms:snippet:some_label }}

# Helper is a wrapper for your regular helpers. Normally you cannot have IRB in CMS content, so there are
# tags that allow calling helpers and partials.

{{ cms:helper:method_name }}          # same as <%= method_name() %>
{{ cms:helper:method_name:x:y:z }}    # same as <%= method_name('x', 'y', 'z') %>

# Partial tags are wrappers just like above helper ones.

{{ cms:partial:path/to/partial }}     # same as <%= render :partial => 'path/to/partial' %>
{{ cms:partial:path/to/partial:a:b }} # same as <%= render :partial => 'path/to/partial',
                                      #   :locals => { :param_1 => 'a', :param_1 => 'b' } %>

Multiple Sites

Sofa is able to manage multiple sites from the same application. For instance: '' and '' will have distinct set of layouts, pages, snippets, etc. To enable multi-site functionality make sure you have this setting in the initializer: config.enable_multiple_sites = true.

Integrating CMS with your app

ComfortableMexicanSofa is a plugin, so it allows you to easily access content it manages. Here's some things you can do.

You can use your existing application layout. When creating CMS layouts there's an option to use an application layout. Suddenly all CMS pages using that layout will be rendered through <%= yield %> of your application layout.

You can use CMS pages as regular views:

def show
  @dinosaur = Dinosaur.find(params[:id])
  # CMS page probably should have either helper or partial tag to display @dinosaur details
  render :cms_page => '/dinosaur

Actually, you don't need to explicitly render a CMS page like that. Sofa will try to rescue a TemplateNotFound by providing a matching CMS page.

You can access Page or Field tag content directly from your application (layouts/helpers/partials) via cms_page_content method. This is how you can pull things like meta tags into your application layout.

# if @cms_page is available (meaning Sofa is doing the rendering)

# anywhere else
cms_page_content(:page_or_field_label, CmsPage.find_by_slug(...))

Similarly you can access Snippet content:


You can also directly access @cms_site, @cms_layout and @cms_page objects from helpers, partials and application layouts used in rendering of a CMS page.

Extending Admin Area

If you wish, you can re-use Sofa's admin area for things you need to administer in your application. To do this, first you will need to make your admin controllers to inherit from CmsAdmin::BaseController. This way, your admin views will be using Sofa's admin layout and it's basic HttpAuth.

class Admin::CategoriesController < CmsAdmin::BaseController
  # your code goes here

From your views you can use cms_form_for method to re-use Sofa's FormBuilder. There are also some existing styles for tables, will_paginate helpers, etc. Take a look in /public/stylesheets/comfortable_mexican_sofa/content.css

You will probably want to add a navigation link on the left side, and for that you will want to use ViewHook functionality. Create a partial that has a link to your admin area and declare in in Sofa's initializer: ComfortableMexicanSofa::ViewHooks.add(:navigation, '/admin/navigation'). Similarly you can add extra stylesheets, etc into admin area in the same way.

Do you have other authentication system in place (like Devise, AuthLogic, etc) and wish to use that? For that, you will need to create a module that does the authentication check and make ComfortableMexicanSofa use it. For example:

module CmsDeviseAuth
  def authenticate
    unless current_user && current_user.admin?
      redirect_to new_user_session_path

You can put this module in /config/initializers/comfortable_mexican_sofa.rb and change authentication method: config.authentication = 'CmsDeviseAuth'. Now to access Sofa's admin area users will be authenticated against your existing authentication system.

Working with Fixtures

Sofa allows you to build entire site using files instead of updating database via admin area. This significantly speeds up initial content population. To enable fixtures go to the initializer and set this: config.enable_fixtures = true. You may also change the folder that is used to store fixtures.

If you run rails g cms you should find an example set of fixtures in /db/cms_fixtures. If you run multiple sites, each set of fixtures should be inside a folder named as the hostname of the site. It's optional if you only have one site.

When fixtures are enabled, database is updated with each request, but only if fixture file is newer than the database entry. Database is also purged of items that are not defined in fixtures. So be careful not to clear out your database by mistake.

When deploying to a production server don't forget to turn off fixtures. To load them into the database just run this rake task: rake comfortable_mexican_sofa:fixtures:import. When running multiple sites specify which one by passing argument like this:

Active Components

ComfortableMexicanSofa utilizes the following:

Contributing to ComfortableMexicanSofa

  • Fork the project
  • Start a feature/bugfix branch (don't just work on the master branch)
  • Commit and push until you are happy with your contribution
  • Create a Pull Request

Looks pretty comfortable to me. No idea what makes it Mexican.

ComfortableMexicanSofa is released under the MIT license

Copyright 2009-2011 Oleg Khabarov, The Working Group Inc

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