Radiant CMS

Radiant CMSEaster weekend didn’t start well – I decided to upgrade Joomla on one of my sites to version 1.5.1 from 1.0 and upgrade just totally ruined the entire site – content was lost, template wasn’t compatible with version 1.5.1. At first I thought that the reason is Dreamhost‘s automatic one-click upgrade that I used, but even after manual reinstall Joomla kept giving weird “Fatal error: Call to a member function name() on a non-object in helper.php on line 219” error in Control Panel, and legacy mode for old template didn’t work.

(To be fare I should say that Dreamhost provides excellent value for money. If you are looking for a good hosting – use IVANKUZNETSOV promocode and get a $50 discount when setting up an account on Dreamhost)

A thought of reinstalling all modules and reconfiguring Joomla from scratch was simply too depressive, so I decided to try another CMS. As a Ruby on Rails convert and a strong believer in open-source ideology I decided to go for Radiant – open-source CMS written in RoR. It is still in beta (latest release is 0.6.4), but it is surprisingly stable and powerful. Take a look at the footer of www.ruby-lang.org – official Ruby programming language web site – it is powered by Radiant 🙂

Installation of Radiant was rather easy – thanks to this guide and my prior experience with RoR applications deployment on Dreamhost. It took me a couple of hours to figure out how to actually create sites with Radiant – there are not that many tutorials available yet, so it is pretty much  “make by example”. Split into pages, snippets and layouts makes a lot of sense onse you get your head around it.

From my experience Joomla is an overkill for most of the small sites, and despite being WYSIWYG, it still requires a professional or at least a tech savvy to configure it. After Radiant is set up and configured it is no more difficult to add content there than to edit a wiki page because of its Textile support. But it is so much simpler and easier to use than Joomla.

I managed to restore the ruined site in a day’s time – fetched most of the lost content from Google cache, converted Joomla template into Radiant’s layouts and recreated the pages (well, it was a small site after all). First time I dealt with Joomla – I spent several days trying to figure out where are the settings that I actually need in the endless menus.

Radiant is clearly following “less is better” principle. If you want to try Radiant – there’s a live demo where you can do whatever you want with the content.

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4 thoughts on “Radiant CMS”

  1. Scary story – fetching own site from the Google cache!

    That’s a reason to stay away from any hi-tech CMS, write all of the site manually and keep a backup at home…

    (BTW what a pity that I’m a Dreamhost user for 3 years already and can’t take an advantage of your promocode 😉 )

  2. I’d say that’s the reason to back up data manually before relying on automatic upgrades 🙂

    It is a shame though that migration between different CMSes is soo difficult. I lost some content when migrated this blog from TypePad to own hosting and WordPress. There should be one open standard, so that users actually own their data, and not the applications.

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