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Yet another CMS tutorial: “What are the benefits of using a CMS for my business and how should I apply it?”

Feb 13 · 5 min read

What is CMS?

Content Management System is a software application that allows several contributors to manage (create, edit, publish) digital assets on a website.

Having a CMS helps non-technical business owners to have a direct impact on the content without knowing programming languages such as Ruby on RailsPHP or HTML.

What are the benefits of running a website with a CMS?

  • It is user-friendly;
  • You can update the content without a deploy;
  • It is SEO-friendly;
  • It offers a variety of extensions and plugins;
  • It is easy to update and maintain;

Why a CMS is important to my business?

Basically, a CMS allows you to reduce the maintaining costs, come up with website updates remotely, have other non-technical team members make changes directly and keep under control the consistency of your website.

Other useful business perks of implementing a CMS is the easiness with which the content on the website can be optimized for the search engines.

What CMS should I use for my website?

There are several CMS providers you can choose from. For example, at Wolfpack Digital we have built CMSs using Active Admin and Administrate.But from our experience, some CMS are not customizable enough and building one from scratch takes lots of resources. This is where FAE CMS steps in and saves the game.

How to use FAE CMS — the tool for building a powerful CMS?

We want to introduce a Ruby on Rails gem which is easy to use and has many built-in features. The FAE CMS is completely customizable and has legacy support down to Rails 4.1.

Hence this is a very common thing used to ease both technical and business operations, we decided to make a short tutorial to show how to apply FAE CMS to a website for any kind of business. Most of the brands have created their blog in order to communicate, educate and engage with their users. Next, we have prepared a step-by-step tutorial on how to manage blog content on your website.

A step-by-step tutorial on how to use FAE CMS

Create a new Rails application.

 

Add fae-rails to Gemfile and install it. 
In your Gemfile add the following line:

 

And then run the following commands in order to install it:

 

Let’s start our application and see what we have so far.

  • the fae install command mounted the fae engine in config/routes.rb. 
    You should see mountFae::Engine => ‘/admin
  • start the run bin/rails server and then visit http://localhost:3000/admin
  • the first time you access the /admin route it will ask you to create a Superadmin Account.

The process of creating a Superadmin Account

  • go ahead an create an account and you will be redirected to the admin page. As you can see, it automatically used my profile picture from gravatar. How cool is that? 😎

The Admin page that automatically has used my profile picture from gravatar

  • On the right corner, you can see the settings menu from where we can add new users to the CMS (adding a new user already have some predefined roles — awesome 🤗) or see the activity log. This is useful for tracking some changes or see who published what etc. 
    Also, we can configure the root settings of the application.
    It has some pretty neat features out of the box such as faviconproduction and staging URLdefault time zonelogo.

The Root Settings configuration with some neat features

PS: This can be used to add additional information like meta tags or keywords.

Let’s see how easy it is to add some models and content using Fae.

  • create the BlogpostCategory model by running:

 

  • create the Blogpost model by running:

 

  • don’t forget to run the migrations and restart the server.
  • if you go to your admin page you should be able to see the Blogpost categories and Blogpost sections in the navbar.
  • let’s go ahead and create two categories and then create a new blog post.
  • you should see something like this:

How to create a new Blog post

By the way, FAE it’s using Carrierwave by default, so any cool thing you can do with carrierwave you can do with FAE just as easy.

Quite cool, but for a blog post, I will for sure need a rich text editor. Here is an easy way to add one.

  • open app/views/admin/blogposts/_form.html.slim and change the following lines:

 

  • to:

 

  • Basically just add markdown: true to the fields you want to have the rich text editor functionality.
  • The inputs will change to this:

It’s magic!

But hey, I don’t want my title to be longer than 50 characters, so I’ll go ahead and add a basic validation in my blogpost.rbmodel:

  • add validates :title, length: { maximum: 50 } inside app/models/blogpost.rb
  • refresh the page and what do you notice? That’s right! It has also added a fancy front-end validation. Magic part 2.

The front-end validation

You can read more about their validations here. Thank me later.

Still, what’s so cool about it? We have all the views from the scaffold already generated in the project and we can easily change whatever we want on them — it’s extremely easy to configure them.

By the way, did I mention that it uses slim by default?

Another thing I love about these forms is that even though they use their own DSL (see fae_input, fae_association etc) — they are using the simple_formgem. This can be useful when you need something which FAE’s DSL is not supporting by default.

For example, let’s say we want to add some keywords from an array to our blog post.
I suggest we create a new migration and add a jsonb called keywords on our blog post model by running:

 

Open the generated file and change:

 

To:

 

In order to initialize the keywords object with an empty array.

Run the migrations and then add the following line insideapp/views/admin/blogposts/_form.html.slim

 

I know it’s bad to hardcode the options in the view, but this is for demo purposes only and I’m sure such code will never make it to production. 😂

- start the server and refresh the blogs form page and notice that it comes with a neat multi-selector by default.

The multi-selector which comes by default

PS: Have you ever wondered why we added the position field on the blog post category model?

Check this out:

Choosing the order of the items manually

That’s right! If FAE detects a position field it automatically allows you to set up the order of the items.

Just one more feature and then I’m done. I promise. 😇

Generate a simple page where we display all the blog posts for the users.

Let’s generate a simple controller by running

 

Open config/routes.rb and set this as our default route by adding:

 

Right below Rails.application.routes.draw do

If you open your server again and go to http://localhost:3000 you should see this:

Not much, right? Let’s add a list of blog posts.

  • Open app/controllers/blogposts_controller.rb
  • And inside the index method add the following line:

 

  • Inside your view add the following:

 

  • And you should see something like this:

In the end, this is how things should look like

I know the introduction is not displayed as markdown, you’ll need to set up a markdown renderer like redcarpet.

Congrats on surviving the “Yet another CMS tutorial”! 
I’ll leave the entire code here just in case you might need it for practice. You know what they say. Sharing is caring.

Useful resources
The entire code from above:
 https://github.com/florinionce/fae-cms-demo

Check the FAE CMS documentation:
https://www.faecms.com/documentation

At the end of the day, the main purpose of the FAE CMS is to take the repetitive and time-consuming tasks off your shoulders and let you focus on the business logic and let the tools do part of the work for you.

We know how important it is to have a digital solution that helps your business function smoothly and grow steadily. If you need help with developing a web or a mobile app, drop a line at [email protected] and we’ll get right back to you. #WeByte