Hands on Ghost

WordPress is an obvious choice if you want to write your own online blog. It is especially true if you are a WordPress developer which happens to be my case. Why would anyone bother to choose something else?

Playing with new technologies is one of my favorite leisure activities so I decided to check out Ghost a modern solution for simple blogging websites. Here are some of my findings and impressions.

Installation

In my opinion the only problem with Ghost installation is finding a suitable hosting provider. Nodejs support on a common shared hosting platforms in my country is still hard to get. Fortunately, my favorite one supports Nodejs out of the box and it is really easy to use. Just "copy and paste" Ghost files according to the official documentation, comparing to the WordPress installation it doesn't seem to be much harder. After the installation process just access http://yourdomain.com/ghost URL and create an admin account. I was afraid that Nodejs app setup will be much more complicated.

Admin panel

The admin panel of a Ghost, in my opinion, is extremely simple thanks to the fact that this is only a blogging platform and it doesn't try to be anything more. I doubt if anyone could have any problems with it.
Ghost admin panel view

Editor

The only thing that might be confusing for non-technical users is the Editor. It is quite intuitive and has a cool feature of live preview but I'm afraid that for MS Word users Markdown concept might not be so obvious. I should probably check it with some of my clients.
UPDATE Regarding GitHub issue that I found it seems that the Ghost v1.0 should be shipped with a brand new editor based on mobiledoc kit, which might be a smart move.

Pros and cons

Standard section for every review-like content :)

On the plus side I would mention following points:

  • fast & lightweight (works great on mobile and desktop)
  • easy to use
  • writing post with your mobile phone (or any other touch device) is not a nightmare (if you like writing in Markdown)

But there are some downsides:

  • images are not auto compressed/resized so you have to be careful when uploading them (a photo from your camera without any preprocessing would be a disaster regarding its usual weight)
  • mixing markdown with regular HTML is buggy so don't expect going out of Markdown limitations
  • assets are not minified, probably using a good theme would solve that one, but the default theme "casper" serves raw JS and CSS which is kind of bandwidth waste

Why I choose Ghost

All in all, I think that Wordpress gives me a lot more power over every aspect of the system, plenty of plugins for every occasion and is much more "complete", but running a blog on Ghost just gives "more fun". I mean writing in Markdown is easy, I'm a Vim enthusiast so I don't like leaving my keyboard home row to do some styling. Ghost speed gives me an illusion of using a native App (which is really nice), while limited options are "just enough" to get the job done if we are talking about running a blog.