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Concen is a Rails Engine for managing and monitoring a Rails application from a web interface. It includes content management system, real-time traffic monitoring, and real-time performance monitoring. It's built to be flexible and customizable to fit custom needs.

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README.md

Concen

Status: Dormant. Checkout Content Directory for a much lightweight alternative.

Concen is a Rails Engine for managing and monitoring a Rails application from a web interface. It includes content management system, real-time traffic monitoring, and real-time performance monitoring. It's built to be flexible and customizable to fit custom needs.

Requirements

  • Rails 3.1 and above. Concen uses Rails asset pipeline, which is only available starting from Rails 3.1.
  • MongoDB 2.0 and above. All data are stored in MongoDB database, including all of the files uploaded (stored in GridFS).
  • Typekit (optional). Concen uses Proxima Nova font. This font can be obtained from Typekit.

Installation

Add the following to the Gemfile of a Rails application.

gem "concen", "~> 0.2.9"

Run the rake task to setup Concen.

rake concen:setup

Follow the brief guide upon completion of the rake task.

Content Management System

Most of the Rails applications will likely need a Content Management System (CMS) at some point or another. It could be for a blog or just static content. For the static content, it is very simple to write in the Rails views. If the programmer was the writer himself, this approach is very straight forward. But often the writers are not programmers. Concen allows the writers to write the content easily from day one. Then, programmers can programatically include this content in the Rails views. The CMS itself has a simple text editor and a simple file uploader. Content can be represented in the form of text and files (images, videos, sounds, etc).

Back to the Rails application, the developer/programmer could place these contents in the views. For example with the following method call.

Concen::Page.published.desc(:publish_time)

The above method call will return all the contents that have been marked as published and sort them by publish time. In this fashion, Rails views could be free from any static content.

Concen also comes with a configurable Markdown parser. Markdown is a recommended text format to be used in Concen. Markdown is easy to understand and always in plain text mode. You can easily generate HTML from the Markdown formatted content with the following method call.

Concen::Page.published.desc(:publish_time).first.content_in_html

Generating static content should not be performed for every request because it is expensive. Concen does not have a mechanism of caching. However it is very simple in Rails to cache a page. You don't have to use Rails page caching mechanism. You simply need to set the proper Cache-Control header. For example the following code will cache a page for 5 minutes in any reverse proxy and in the client browser. You can add a Rack Cache or setup Nginx reverse proxy cache easily or even Varnish when the time comes.

expires_in 5.minutes, :public => true
fresh_when :etag => @article, :public => true

Writing Style for Content Management System

There are no rules enforced for writing content in the CMS. But there are certain writing styles that will help writing content more convenient and manageable.

Here is an example with single-segment content.

Title: 1984

Description: Nineteen Eighty-Four (sometimes written 1984) is a 1948 dystopian fiction written by George Orwell about a society ruled by an oligarchical dictatorship.

Publish Time: tomorrow

-----

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.

Here is another example with multiple-segment content.

Title: 1984

Description: Nineteen Eighty-Four (sometimes written 1984) is a 1948 dystopian fiction written by George Orwell about a society ruled by an oligarchical dictatorship.

Publish Time: tomorrow

-----

@ Chapter 1

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.

-----

@ Chapter 2

As he put his hand to the door-knob Winston saw that he had left the diary open on the table. DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER was written all over it, in letters almost big enough to be legible across the room. It was an inconceivably stupid thing to have done. But, he realized, even in his panic he had not wanted to smudge the creamy paper by shutting the book while the ink was wet.

Content can be divided with 3 or more hyphen (-). The first part will always be metadata declaration. The rest will be the content.

"Publish Time" meta data has special treatment, where it accepts date in natural language format, relative to the current time.

To obtain the content, you typically will call the following.

Concen::Page.published.desc(:publish_time).first.content

Or if you want the content in HTML format, simply call the following.

Concen::Page.published.desc(:publish_time).first.content_in_html

content_in_html accepts an argument of the content segment key. In this example if you declare "Chapter 2", the key will be "chapter_2".

Real Time Traffic Monitoring

Insert the Visit Recorder JavaScript in your layout. It's recommended to append this code block right before the closing </body> tag.

For layout in Haml, insert the following code block.

= javascript_include_tag visit_recorder_js_url
:javascript
  VisitRecorder.record({});

For layout in ERB, insert the following code block.

<script src="http://steverandytantra.com/visits/js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script>
  //<![CDATA[
    VisitRecorder.record({});
  //]]>
</script>

Real Time Performance Monitoring

There are many commercial performance monitoring solutions for a Rails application. But when starting out with a simple application you might not want the extra steps to setup these commercial solutions. Concen comes with a simple real-time performance monitoring. It doesn't give you an extensive reports like the commercial solutions, but it's just enough to get you going to the next level. When the time comes, you can add a more suitable solution.

There is no extra setup for this free real-time performance monitoring. And there is no more reason not to know which controller actions are slow.

Concen Web Interface

To access Concen web interface, use "concen" subdomain for example http://concen.domain.com. When it's accessed for the first time, it will prompt to create a new master user. This user will have full control over the Concen. Pow rack server is recommended because it provides access to subdomain by default.

Websites That Have Used Concen in Production

If you have used Concen for any of your websites and would like to be listed here. Please send me a message.

Versions

  • 0.2.9:

    • Handle special cases when mime-types gem fails to recognize
    • Update Redcarpet version to "~> 2.2.0"
    • Update Chronic version to "~> 0.6"
  • 0.2.8:

    • Controller's classes are now inherited from Concen::ApplicationController
    • Update Redcarpet to version 2.1.1
  • 0.2.7:

    • Better time formatting
    • Show full name in user list
    • Update Redcarpet to version 2.1.0
  • 0.2.6:

    • Update Redcarpet to version 2.0.0
  • 0.2.5:

    • Temporary fix for Redcarpet's smartypants extension
    • Minor color changes
    • Remove Compass dependency
    • Remove Haml dependency
  • 0.2.4:

    • Set Mongoid dependency at "~> 2.2" for flexibility
    • The fields for Concen::Response are now predefined
  • 0.2.3:

    • Update Mongoid version (2.2.2)
    • UI design enhancements
    • Tests are now using MiniTest
    • Add ancestor_slugs field for Page model
    • Page is given a default title if none is present
  • 0.2.2:

    • Update Chronic gem dependency
    • Fix set_position and reset_position
  • 0.2.1:

    • Minor bug fixes
    • Update jQuery to 1.6.4
    • Update Redcarpet to 2.0.0b5 (fixes for inline HTML bug in Markdown parser)
  • 0.2.0:

    • Rails 3.1 compatibility
  • 0.1.7:

    • Fix installation error when using Ruby 1.8.7
  • 0.1.6:

    • Fix gemspec encoding issue.
  • 0.1.5:

    • A better approach of handling slug. Slug by default is generated from title. It can then be overwritten by specifying "Slug" in metadata declaration (from the text editor).
  • 0.1.4:

    • Simpler setup process (only in 2 steps)
    • Brief guide is available upon the completion of setup
    • Fix a bug in file path drag and drop function
  • 0.1.3: Minor bug fixes

  • 0.1.2: Minor bug fixes

  • 0.1.1: Minor bug fixes

  • 0.1: Initial release

Upcoming Features

  • Time range selection in traffic statistics
  • Time range selection in performance statistics

License

Copyright © Steve Randy Tantra

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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