Active Admin: The admin framework for Rails
Posted on May 15, 2011
This week we launched Active Admin, an administration framework for Ruby on Rails. It's been in the works for many years, but finally came to fruition as an open source project over the past year and half.
Active Admin started about 3 years ago at my consulting company, Orange Peel Media. We built a set of reusable components called The Citrus Modules. These modules spanned both front and back end, however the biggest productivity gain we found was in abstracting an administration site that didn't suck.
Originally, we assumed a CRUD based representation of the database would suffice for administration. What we quickly learned was that the current tools and approaches were difficult for non-programmers to use.
Typically the requirements for administering a production application far exceed CRUD. Our customers needed things like reporting, internal notes and commenting, filtered list for operations staff to review, dashboards for decision making, show screens for reviewing data, and a thousand other small features specific to the given application. On top of all these requirements, our customers (who are not programmers) needed to be able to use it.
Fast forward 2 years and I found myself at VersaPay where we ran into the exact same issues. We needed tools that developers could quickly build, but be usable by our operations staff. We needed tools that gave us the flexibility to build the administration tools we needed.
So, in our spare time, we designed and built Active Admin. A new framework for building applications using Ruby on Rails.
Although Active Admin is a framework for generating administration interfaces, really its just a new abstraction on top of Rails. It takes the framework one step further and drastically reduces development time for certain types of applications.
I could not be more excited about the response from the community so far and I can't wait to see where we take Active Admin in the future. Thanks to everyone who has helped pull the project together.
Stay tuned because I'll be posting lots more about Active Admin's internals, design and roadmap over the coming weeks.