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Spina CMS

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Getting Started

Spina is a CMS for Rails 5.1. This guide is designed for developers with experience using Ruby on Rails.

To start using Spina CMS add the following line to your Gemfile:

gem 'spina'

First run the installer to get started:

rails g spina:install

The installer will help you setup your first user.

Then start rails s and access Spina at /admin.

Upgrading from 0.13 to 1.0.0.alpha

Going from 0.13 to 1.0 will introduce a couple of changes. Globalize is replaced by Mobility and later down the road CarrierWave will be replaced by Rails' ActiveStorage.

Switching to Mobility is fairly straightfoward.

  • Run rails g spina:install to add the mobility.rb initializer.
  • Replace instances of Globalize with Mobility in your own code

Upgrading from 0.12 to 0.13

Simply run the new migrations

rails spina:install:migrations
rails db:migrate

This will create a table for the Spina::Resource model.

Upgrading from 0.11 to 0.12

Just run the new migrations.

rails spina:install:migrations
rails db:migrate

Upgrading from 0.10 to 0.11

The spina-template gem is merged into the spina gem. You don't have to use the original spina-template gem anymore.

Upgrading from 0.9 to 0.10

When upgrading to Spina 0.10 it's essential to update spina-template to version 0.4 or higher. Otherwise layout issues will occur.

Upgrading from 0.8 to 0.9

Theme configuration changed to:

# config/initializers/themes/default.rb
Spina::Theme.register do |theme|
# Theme config

And theme sections, structures, layouts, view_layouts and layout_parts has been normalised.

Check out config/initializers/themes/demo.rb for an example.

Add new migrations rake spina:install:migrations and rake db:migrate

Upgrading from 0.7 to 0.8

Spina-specific configuration moved from Spina::Engine.config to just Spina.config. Change the following in your initializer:

# config/initializers/spina.rb

Spina::Engine.configure do |config| # OLD
Spina.configure do |config| # NEW


The installer generates a few initializers that contain necessary configuration for Spina.

In the initializers folder there's a new folder named themes. Inside you will find a configuration file named default.rb. This file contains all of your theme-specific settings. You can define multiple Page parts, View templates and Custom pages.

Page parts

A page in Spina has many Page parts. By default these page parts can be one of the following:

  • Spina::Line
  • Spina::Text
  • Spina::Photo
  • Spina::PhotoCollection
  • Spina::Structure
  • Spina::Option

These are the building blocks of your view templates. You can have an unlimited number of page parts in a page. We prefer to keep the number of parts to a minimum so that managing your pages won't become too complex.

Spina uses an initializer to create the basic building blocks of your page. There are three steps to add a new building block or page part to your app:

  1. Set up a new page part in the initializer
  2. Set the new initializer into a view template
  3. Add it to the view

Create a new page part

When you install Spina, you will see the following in config/initializers/themes/default.rb

::Spina::Theme.register do |theme| = 'default'
  theme.title = 'Default Theme'

  theme.page_parts = [{
    name:             'content',
    title:            'Content',
    partable_type:    'Spina::Text'

  theme.view_templates = [{
    name:       'homepage',
    title:      'Homepage',
    page_parts: ['content']
  }, {
    name: 'show',
    title:        'Default',
    description:  'A simple page',
    usage:        'Use for your content',
    page_parts:   ['content']

  theme.custom_pages = [{
    name:           'homepage',
    title:          'Homepage',
    deletable:      false,
    view_template:  'homepage'


Right now, the default theme is applying a title to the page, with a simple text div below it. Go to /admin on your app and have a look. Edit the textbox and go to preview the page.

Spina represents each building block of your page, called a 'page part,' as a hash inside the page_parts array. If we look at the default setup we can see there is one hash inside the array representing the one textbox we see on our page.

Let's say I wanted to add another text box below this called portfolio. First I would add another hash to the self.page_parts array like so:

theme.page_parts = [{
  name:             'content',
  title:            'Content',
  partable_type:    'Spina::Text'
}, {
  name:             'portfolio', # added this hash
  title:            'Portfolio',
  partable_type:    'Spina::Text'

Add it to the view template

Now, we need to update the self.view_templates hash next. These view templates provide customization for the different views you might want. For example, you may have a 'blog' view or an 'about' view which add different page parts. For this example we will add the portfolio part into the 'Default' view template.

theme.view_templates = [{
  name:       'homepage',
  title:      'Homepage',
  page_parts: ['content']
}, {
  name:         'show',
  title:        'Default',
  description:  'A simple page',
  usage:        'Use for your content',
  page_parts:   ['content', 'portfolio'] # added 'portfolio'

Add it to the view

Finally, let's go to views/default/pages/show.html.erb and add the following:

<h1><%= @page.title %></h1>

<%= @page.content(:text).try(:html_safe) %>
<%= @page.content(:portfolio).try(:html_safe) %> # added this line

We have successfully added another textbox! Restart your server and load up the admin section again. You should see another text box below the content box.

View templates

Each theme typically has a few different view templates which make up your website. By default Spina generates a homepage and show template.

The views for these templates are stored in app/views/default/pages.


Usually managing a single list of pages is enough for most use cases. Sometimes however, you need a little more flexibility. This is where navigations come in. You can create multiple navigations which are basically different collections of your pages. You can choose to include all or just a few of your pages. You can also edit the order of pages per navigation.

You define navigations in your theme's config file:

::Spina::Theme.register do |theme|
  # ...

  theme.navigations = [{
    name: 'main',
    label: 'Main navigation',
    auto_add_pages: true
  }, {
    name: 'mobile',
    label: 'Mobile'  

  # ...

auto_add_pages ensures that each page that you create automatically gets added to this navigation.

Besides navigations there's always a single overview of all pages. Your sitemap and friendly URLs are generated based on this overview.

Creating navigations is optional.

Custom pages

You can define custom pages for your theme that will be generated when bootstrapping your website. You can define whether or not they're deletable. By default Spina creates a custom page named Homepage which is not deletable.


Check our Contributing Guide for instructions on how to help the project.


Thank you to all our backers! 🙏 [Become a backer]


Support this project by becoming a sponsor. Your logo will show up here with a link to your website. [Become a sponsor]


Spina is released under the MIT license.


Some parts of Spina are heavily influenced by the wonderful Refinery CMS. Credits to the Refinery team.

All icons in Spina were made by Brent Jackson Geomicons.

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Spina CMS



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