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README.md

Cadmus: an embeddable CMS for Rails

Cadmus is an embeddable content management system for Rails 3 applications. It's based on Liquid and is designed to be small and unobtrusive.

Cadmus doesn't define controllers or models itself, but rather, provides mixins to add CMS-like functionality to controllers and models you create. This allows a great deal of customization. For example, Cadmus doesn't provide any user authentication or authorization functionality, but because it hooks into controllers in your app, you can add virtually any authorization system you want.

Similarly, Cadmus doesn't provide a Page model, but rather, a mixin for creating page-like models. This theoretically allows you to add functionality to your Page objects, include multiple different page-like models, or use any ActiveModel-compatible ORM you want instead of ActiveRecord.

One additional feature is the ability for pages to have parents. A parent can be any model object. Page parent objects allow you to create separate "sections" of your site - for example, if you have a project-hosting application that includes multiple projects, each of which has its own separate space of CMS pages. (Page parents aren't intended for creating sub-pages - instead, just use forward-slash characters in the page slug to simulate folders, and Cadmus will handle it.)

Basic Installation

First, add Cadmus to your Gemfile:

gem 'cadmus'
gem 'redcarpet'   # (required only if you intend to use Cadmus' Markdown support)

The next step is to create a Page model. Your app can have multiple Page models if you like, but for this example, we'll just create one.

rails generate model Page name:text slug:string content:text parent_id:integer parent_type:string

You'll need to tweak the generated migration and model slightly. In the migration, after the create_pages block, add a unique index on the parent and slug columns:

add_index :pages, [:parent_type, :parent_id, :slug], :unique => true

And in the model, add a cadmus_page declaration:

class Page < ActiveRecord::Base
  cadmus_page
end

You'll need a controller to deal with your pages. Here's a minimal example of one:

class PagesController < ApplicationController
  include Cadmus::PagesController

  protected
  def page_class
    Page
  end
end

If you're on Rails 4 (or using the strong_parameters gem) you'll probably want to use forbidden attributes protection. Here's how you do that:

class Page < ActiveRecord::Base
  include ActiveModel::ForbiddenAttributesProtection
  cadmus_page
end
class PagesController < ApplicationController
  include Cadmus::PagesController

  protected
  def page_params
    params.require(:page).permit(:name, :slug, :content)
  end

  def page_class
    Page
  end
end

Cadmus::PagesController automatically adds the seven RESTful resource methods to your controller. It requires that you define a page_class method that returns the class for pages it's dealing with. (This could potentially return different classes depending on request parameters, if you need it to - or, you could also set up different controllers for different types of page.)

Finally, you'll need to create routes for this controller. Cadmus provides a built-in helper for that:

MyApp::Application.routes.draw do
  cadmus_pages
end

This will create the following routes:

  • GET /pages => PagesController#index
  • GET /pages/new => PagesController#new
  • POST /pages => PagesController#create
  • GET /pages/slug => PagesController#show
  • PATCH /pages/slug => PagesController#update
  • PUT /pages/slug => PagesController#update
  • DELETE /pages/slug => PagesController#destroy

Authorization Control

The pages controller is where you'll need to hook into any authorization or authentication system your app might use.
We use CanCan, so here's an example of how we do that:

class PagesController < ApplicationController
  include Cadmus::PagesController

  authorize_resource :page

  protected
  def page_class
    Page
  end
end
class Ability
  def initialize(user)
    can :read, Page
      return unless user

      # in this example, we've added an owner_id column to our Page model
      can :manage, Page, :owner_id => user.id
  end
end

Easy-peasy. You can use other authorization plugins in a similar way - with Cadmus, you control the CMS models, controllers and routes, so you can add whatever code is appropriate for your app.

Pages With Parents

Suppose you've got an app that hosts web sites for local baseball teams. Your app lets the teams manage their own sites, and do stuff like add their team logo, uniform colors, roster, etc. Now you'd like to let them add custom content pages as well.

You already have the following routes set up in your routes.rb file:

DugoutCoach::Application.routes.draw do
  resources :teams do
    resources :players
      resources :schedule
  end

  cadmus_pages # for global pages on your site
end

So, for example, the URL for the Cambridge Cosmonauts might be http://dugoutcoach.net/teams/cosmonauts. They also have http://dugoutcoach.net/teams/cosmonauts/players and http://dugoutcoach.net/teams/cosmonauts/schedule.

You can add a "pages" namespace pretty easily:

DugoutCoach::Application.routes.draw do
  resources :teams do
    resources :players
      resources :schedule
      cadmus_pages :controller => :team_pages
  end

  cadmus_pages
end

Now you have a way of separating team-specific pages from global pages on the site. The URLs for these pages might be, for example, http://dugoutcoach.net/teams/cosmonauts/directions, or http://dugoutcoach.net/teams/cosmonauts/promotions/free-hat-day (remember, Cadmus slugs can contain slashes). We'll now need a TeamPages controller to handle these:

class TeamPagesController < ApplicationController
  include Cadmus::PagesController

  self.page_parent_class = Team   # page's parent is a Team
  self.page_parent_name = "team"  # parent ID is in params[:team_id]
  self.find_parent_by = "slug"    # parent ID is the Team's "slug" field rather than "id"

  authorize_resource :page

  protected
  def page_class
    Page
  end
end

Note that for this example, we've kept the same Page class for both controllers. We could have also created a separate TeamPage model, but that's not required.

Shallow Page URLs

The Cambridge Cosmonauts are unhappy! Their URLs are too long. Why should the pages in their team site have a "/pages/" in them just because they created them themselves?

Chill out, Cosmonauts. Cadmus makes it easy:

DugoutCoach::Application.routes.draw do
  resources :teams do
    resources :players
      resources :schedule
      cadmus_pages :controller => :team_pages, :shallow => true
  end

  cadmus_pages
end

Now the PagesController's show, edit, update, and destroy actions don't use the "/pages/" part of the URL. The URLs now look like this:

  • GET /teams/cosmonauts/pages => PagesController#index
  • GET /teams/cosmonauts/pages/new => PagesController#new
  • POST /teams/cosmonauts/pages => PagesController#create
  • GET /teams/cosmonauts/page-slug => PagesController#show
  • GET /teams/cosmonauts/page-slug/edit => PagesController#edit
  • PUT /teams/cosmonauts/page-slug => PagesController#update
  • DELETE /teams/cosmonauts/page-slug => PagesController#destroy

When you use shallow page URLs, it's important to put the cadmus_pages declaration as the last one in the block, because it's going to put a path-globbing wildcard in the scope from which it's called. Thus, it should be the lowest-priority route in its context.

Liquid Variables

The Cambridge Cosmonauts have a policy of changing their uniform color on a weekly basis. Why? I don't know. Go Cosmonauts!

Needless to say, they don't want to go editing every single page where they mention that. Fortunately, you can help them by providing them with a Liquid template variable they can use like so:

<h1>We're the Cosmonauts!</h1>

<p>Our uniform color this week is {{ team.uniform_color }}!</p>

To do this, you'll need to expose team as a Liquid assign variable:

class TeamPagesController < ApplicationController
  include Cadmus::PagesController

  self.page_parent_class = Team   # page's parent is a Team
  self.page_parent_name = "team"  # parent ID is in params[:team_id]
  self.find_parent_by = "slug"    # parent ID is the Team's "slug" field rather than "id"

  authorize_resource :page

  protected

  def page_class
    Page
  end

  def liquid_assigns
    { :team => @page.parent }
  end
end

Defining a liquid_assigns method will cause Cadmus to use the return value of that method as the Liquid assigns hash. (Similarly, you can define liquid_filters and liquid_registers methods that do what they say on the tin.)

You'll also need to make your Team model usable from Liquid. The simplest way to do that is using liquid_methods:

class Team < ActiveRecord::Base
  liquid_methods :name, :uniform_color

  # everything else in your model...
end

You could also define a to_liquid method that returns a Liquid::Drop subclass for Teams, if you need to do things more complicated than just return data values.

Copyright and Licensing

Copyright © 2011-2012 Gively, Inc. Cadmus is released under the MIT license. For more information, see the LICENSE file.

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