Ghost of a chance

A few months ago I wrote about the fact that I had backed Ghost on Kickstarter. Pitching itself as ‘just a blogging platform’ and ‘free.open.simple’ (though it cost me 60 quid to back!) it appealed to me mainly as I was interested in having a little something extra in my arsenal rather than *always* relying on WordPress🙂

I got the email allowing me to download the early version of the code on Friday (after I dug through my spam – seems Gmail doesn’t much like the ghost.org domain) and spent a bit of time Saturday morning getting a local copy up and running.

These are very much my first thoughts. I haven’t really decided what to do with it at the moment but I think I need to use it as my main blogging tool for a couple of weeks to get a real feel for it – not sure how to approach that.

Getting it up and running was actually relatively straightforward. Locally at least – the instructions for something like Amazon EC2 look terrifying* not to mention the steps to get email working. It required a bit more Terminal action than I am really used to but the instructions were clear (if a little sparse) and I soon got things working.

There really isn’t much to it at the moment – and I think that is probably part of its appeal.

The split screen Markdown editor works very nicely and looks lovely with careful choices clearly made around typography. I remain a little unconvinced about the focus on Markdown in this manner. I think the Medium approach – with the floating toolbar that allows you to add minimal formatting and semantic structure to the content is probably the sweet spot. All that said now I am pretty competent with Markdown it is pretty easy to work with and wonderfully uncluttered.

Screenshot_22_09_2013_17_08

Currently there is only one ‘theme’ though that seems destined to change pretty quickly. I wonder whether designers will embrace the minimalist feel of the platform or whether it will just be a load of clones of WordPress themes (that would be a real pity I think).

Like it ‘says on the tin’ it does feel very much like just a blogging platform. Given all I really do is write & post it suits me and reminds me of WordPress in earlier days but once the plug-ins start being added I do wonder how long it will take before it starts to follow the same trajectory as WordPress and start trying to extend itself to answer wider and wider requirements.

I don’t really understand the benefits or not of using node.js to build something like this above PHP or Ruby or Django – it didn’t seem to cause many problems for me on my Mac but it seems to shut off quite a few standard hosting options.

Anyway I remain glad I backed the project, it is the first Kickstarter I have backed that has delivered so far and I remain supportive of the thinking behind the project so you can expect the launch of some kind of new blog in the near future – probably resurrecting my mildmildwest.org domain.

Congrats to the team at Ghost – I’m going to look out for them at conferences I think as I’d love to hear more about the project and also maybe contribute in some small way as well – not sure how with my painful lack of tech skills though🙂

* I was slightly amused to have someone contact me on Twitter pitching their Ghost hosting services – way to be quick off the mark guys🙂

4 thoughts on “Ghost of a chance

  1. Early days, of course, but there are already alternative themes at http://marketplace.ghost.org/ and no doubt many more to come.

    My first impressions very much match yours. I did spend a bit of time seeing if I could get it running on an EC2 instance, but failed even with what were apparently blow by blow instructions. I think they are going to need the equivalent of the wordpress five minute install (by which. of course, I mean I am going to need it).

  2. Matt Jukes says:

    Could have sworn that Marketplace was empty when I looked🙂 I like the Kapow theme – might give it a go.

    I think I pledged enough to get a few months on the Ghost platform so at some point that will take care of hosting but you are right re the ‘5 minute install’ – a lot of the feedback on the forums is that it is too hard and too techy at the moment.

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