Character Rails Admin

Have you heard of Django, Wordpress, Active Admin, Locomotive? Yeah?! — Those are all awesome... and Character is BETTER!

Character Image


  • Enable published/unpublished option for new posts (now post is published after first save);
  • Fix paste code issue for redactor.js + chrome (this is pain in the ass);
  • Add smart toolbar buttons customization for redactor.js;
  • Add JS validation on form save;
  • Fix focus jump after image insert / link edit in redactor.js;
  • redactor.js source view is too big in height;
  • redactor.js source view removes new lines from code;
  • fix upload icon while uploading;
  • fix default styles for blog: links do break words;
  • SVG icons do not work for Firefox;
  • Add menu groups option to make one icon in menu for group of models (apps);
  • Add expand button to details header;
  • Reset validation after succesful form submission;
  • Cache list all list views in DOM and save scrolling state for them, rerender only details;
  • Fix fontawesome for firefox;

Setup new Rails 4.1 project

rails new ProjectName -T -O

Add gems to the Gemfile:

# Mongoid ORM + Character
gem 'carrierwave-mongoid', github: 'carrierwaveuploader/carrierwave-mongoid', require: 'carrierwave/mongoid'
gem 'character'

Run bundle and run generators:

bundle ; rails g mongoid:config ; rails g character:bootstrap


After character generator finishes it's dirty business, in /config/routes.rb you see:

mount_character_instance 'admin'

This mounts character instance admin to /admin path and make character app accessible there. There are also two optional helpers mount_posts_at and mount_pages_at, they mount default controllers to routes as well. Remove them if no need in posts or pages app.

Instance name admin could be changed, and you can use something different. This option is here for the case when a few character instances are required.

  • mount_character_instance
  • mount_posts_at
  • mount_pages_at

Running Automated Tests

$ bundle exec rake test


  • chr.genericModule()
  • chr.postsModule()
  • chr.pagesModule()
  • chr.settingsModule()
  • chr.settingsWebsite()
  • chr.settingsPostCategories()
  • chr.settingsAdmins()
  • chr.settingsRedirects()


To have custom form implementation for model, create form.html in /app/views/admin/model_names/ — replace model_names with pluralized models name and if needed character instance name admin (default).

Generic form template

Generic form template looks like this:

<%= simple_form_for @object, url: @form_action_url, method: :post do |f| %>
  <%= f.input :name %>
<% end %>

Checkout Simple Form reference for all options (there are tons of them) which are available here.

No need to include SUBMIT button in form!


If you want to make model hideable include include Hideable in model and add hidden field to your form:

<%= f.input :hidden, as: :hidden %>

This will add an eye button trigger in the admin header, which allows to switch state for model.

Inline forms

Form inline elements could be added with this code (images example):

<div class='chr-form-nested chr-form-nested-images sortable-list'>
  <%= f.fields_for :images do |ff| %>
    <%= ff.link_to_remove "Remove" %>
    <%= image_tag ff.object.image.small.url %>
    <%= ff.input :title, placeholder: 'Image title' %>
    <%= ff.input :image %>
    <%= ff.input :_position, as: :hidden %>
  <% end %>
  <%= f.link_to_add "Add an Image", :images %>
  • This template is based on Nested Forms gem by Ryan Bates, checkout docs for implementation details.
  • Including sortable-list class and <%= ff.input :_position, as: :hidden %> make inline objects reorderable.
  • This example uses chr-form-nested-images class for layout styling.


  • Character::Post
  • Character::PostCategory
  • Character::Page
  • Character::Image
  • Character::Settings::Variable
  • Character::User
  • Character::Redirect


  • UpdatedAgo
  • CreatedAgo
  • Orderable
  • Hideable


  • Character::SitemapGeneratorHelper


  • CMD+s — save changes
  • CMD+e — toggle fullscreen


Character.Generic.DetailsView and Character.Settings.DetailsView

These are blank methods that could be overriden to extend view functionality. Example of Character.Generic.DetailsView override: character/posts/

  • @beforeContentRequest()
  • @beforeRenderContent()
  • @beforeFormHelpersStart()
  • @afterRenderContent()
  • @beforeSave()
  • @beforeFormSubmit(arr, $form, options)
  • @afterFormSubmitSuccess(responseText, statusText, xhr, $form)
  • @beforeOnClose()
  • @afterOnClose()


Initializers for different instances are in config/initializers/character.rb:

Character.configure do |config|
  config.title = 'Project Title | Admin'


  • @title = 'Character'
  • @user_model = 'Character::User'
  • @development_auto_login = false
  • @force_ssl = true


  • Create a new project (GA_APP_NAME) at:
  • Enable Analytics under APIs & auth -> APIs -> Analytics API
  • Create another client under Credentials
  • Download and put key-file (GA_KEY_FILE_NAME) to your projects config folder
  • Go to you (Analytics)[] account and add the Service account email address to your account (GA_SERVICE_ACCOUNT_EMAIL). It should be something like [email protected].

Set all variables in server environment:




(to be continued...)


Redirects app allows to quickly setup 301/302 redirects for the website.