Apr 17th, 2009

Top Open Source Ruby On Rails Projects

“Ruby on Rails, often shortened to Rails or RoR, is an open source web application framework for the Ruby programming language. It is intended to be used with an Agile development methodology which is used by web developers for rapid development…” Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_on_Rails)

Ruby on Rails has already created a buzz in the web development and challenged the capability of Giant Players like Microsoft's Asp.NET and Java.

Ruby On Rails also powering some of the best open source web applications. This application can be proven as best learning practices for newbie’s bottom up learners in rails development and time savers for seasoned rails developers. By looking into this applications newbie’s can easily know about best practices in rails, standard plugins/gems used in rails project to accomplish tasks and learn best practices of rails. This application can be proven as time savers for rails developers as by customizing or extending them can meet project requirements. So every rails developer should always keep eyes on such rails projects to learn rails best practices.

Below is the list and descriptions of the top most open source projects build using rails. Beside these projects there are lots of other open source rails projects are going on.

Spree (e-commerce solution)

The goal of the project is to build a complete open source e-commerce solution for Ruby on Rails. The Rails commerce space is immature and is lacking serious solutions for developers looking for answers to their complex business needs. Rails is especially problematic because it is a relatively new technology and suffers from “small project mentality. Most open source projects in Rails are maintained by a single individual and tend to be limited in scope. Spree seeks to create a large and healthy open source community of the type that developers of other languages are used to participating in.

License: New BSD License Author: Sean Schofield  Home Page: http://spreehq.org Source Code: http://github.com/schof/spree

Tracks (A GTD style task list)

Tracks is a web-based application to help you implement David Allens Getting Things Done methodology. It was built using Ruby on Rails, and comes with a built-in webserver (WEBrick), so that you can run it on your own computer if you like. It can be run on any platform on which Ruby can be installed, including Mac OS X, Windows XP and Linux. Tracks is Open Source, free and licensed under the GNU GPL.

License: GPL Author: BSAG, Luke Melia, Reinier Balt & contributors  Home Page: http://www.getontracks.org Source Code: http://github.com/bsag/tracks


OpenMind (customer feedback community)

OpenMind enables you to build an online community with your customers and partners, allowing you to, find out what features and improvements your customers as a whole would value most ,engage in an online discussion with your users to gain deeper insights into their needs, communicate upcoming releases, closing the loop on customer feedback your customers can see exactly which suggestions became committed features of a future release based upon community feedback ,Gain deeper insights into specific targeted topic areas through user surveys, Allow customers to engage in online discussion with each other and with you via online forums.

License: GNU GPL Author: Robert & Richard Sturim  Home Page: http://openmind.sourceforge.net Source Code: http://github.com/spob/openmind


Insoshi (Social networking platform)

A social networking platform, funded by Paul Graham's Y Combinator investment firm, that aims to be the "MySQL of social networking platforms: free for hackers, with a commercial product for businesses." The project lead is Michael Hartl, author of the book, "RailsSpace."


License: GNU GPL Author: Michael Hartl  Home Page: http://insoshi.com/ Source Code: http://github.com/insoshi/insoshi


Webistrano (Web-UI for managing Capistrano deployments )

Webistrano is a Web UI for managing Capistrano deployments. It lets you manage projects and their stages like test, production, and staging with different settings. Those stages can then be deployed with Capistrano through Webistrano. Webistrano's purpose is to make the deployment of multi-stage and multi-environment scenarios easy. Further it allows you to track who deployed what, when to which servers and be alerted by email on each deployment.

License: BSD Author: Jonathan Weiss  Home Page: http://labs.peritor.com/webistrano Source Code:http://labs.peritor.com/svn/webistrano/trunk


Hobo Central (web application builder )

Hobo is a collection of open-source plugins for Ruby on Rails that help you build anything from throwaway prototypes and internal utilities to meticulously crafted full-blown web apps. The goal: write less code. So much less in fact that it starts to feel like you're not implementing your app at all, you’re just declaring what you want.


License: MIT Author: Tom Locke  Home Page: http://hobocentral.net/ Source Code: http://hobocentral.net/blog/getting-started/


Savage Beast 2.0 (forum plugin)

Based on the very popular Rails message forum, Beast, this is a Rails forum that implements multiple topics, posts, moderators, RSS feeds, localization, and most all the niceties you've gotten to know on the Beast forums (beast.caboo.se). The goal of the Savage Beast plugin is to get the featureful forums of Beast, without the hassle of maintaining separate Mongrels, subdomains, and User sharing that make Beast tricky to setup.

License: MIT License Authors:   william.harding

Home Page: http://code.google.com/p/savage-beast-2/

Source Code: http://code.google.com/p/savage-beast-2/downloads/list


Community Engine (social network plugin)

Community Engine is a free, open-source social network plugin for Ruby on Rails applications. Drop it into your new or existing application, and you’ll instantly have all the features of a basic community site.

Features of this social network plugin:

  • Authentication (sign up, log in)
  • User profiles
  • User search
  • Blogs with tagging, categories and rich text editing
  • Photo uploading and tagging
  • “Clippings” - visual bookmarks
  • Commenting and comment notification by e-mail (Blogs, profiles, photos, and clippings can be commented)
  • Forums
  • Friendships and activity feeds
  • Favoriting of clippings and blog posts

License: MIT Author: Bruno Bornsztein  Home Page: http://www.communityengine.org Source Code:https://github.com/bborn/communityengine/tree/master


OneBody (community focused social network)

OneBody is web-based software that connects community members, especially churches, on the web.

License: GPL Author: Tim Morgan  Home Page: http://beonebody.com Source Code: http://github.com/seven1m/onebody


Mailr (web mail application)

Mailr is an open source webmail application that can be used with any IMAP server. E-mails can be created both in HTML & plain text. E-mail addresses in the contact list are Ajax-auto-completed just like Gmail & more.


  • Uses IMAP protocol
  • Caches IMAP server connections
  • HTML and plaintext message composition
  • Addressbook (contacts) with possible import from CSV file
  • Ajax based autocomplete of email addresses
  • Mail filters based on Maildrop
  • i18n support


Home Page: http://mailr.org/ Source Code : http://mailr.org/latest-code


Mephisto (blogging system)

Mephisto is a free Ruby-based weblog-engine which combines the quality, functionality and user-friendliness of other systems in a simple, elegant and powerful user interface.

Mephisto offers a classic equipment which bloggers would probably expect form a professional weblog-engine. Posts can be stored and presented in different sections and on different pages. You can set the time and date you’d like Mephisto to publish a given article automatically. The system doesn’t provide a WYSIWIG-editor, however it supports Textile, Markdown and Markdown with Smartypant. You can use the embedded preview function to make sure your article looks just the way you’d like it to be presented. The number of posts shown on one page can be defined for every single section.

The main advantage of Mephisto lies in the simplicity and user-friendliness of collaborative publishing. Not only multiple authors can use the engine, they can also edit the same document at the same time

License: MIT Author: Rick Olson and Justin Palmer  Home Page: http://mephistoblog.com/ Source Code: http://github.com/technoweenie/mephisto


Substruct (Shopping cart / e-commerce application)

* The first and most robust Ruby on Rails open source e-commerce project. A replacement for old, brittle and crusty shopping cart packages

* Cleanly designed, easy to extend and maintain  o Implemented as a Rails Engine.  o Adheres (where possible) to XHTML / CSS standards  o Persona and scenario driven UI design

* Extracted from ''real world'' code

License: GPL v2 Author: Subimage LLC  Home Page: http://substruct.subimage.com/ Source Code: http://code.google.com/p/substruct/


Radiant (content management system)


  • An elegant user interface
  • Flexible templating with layouts, snippets, page parts, and a custom tagging language
  • A first-class extension/plugin system
  • Simple user management and permissions

License: MIT Author: John W. Long Home Page: http://radiantcms.org/ Source Code: http://radiantcms.org/download/