Tony Wolski

First Impressions of Ghost


I’ve stuck with Blogger as my blogging platform for the last few years, mainly because it’s free, but also because it’s tied to my Google account and integrates well with other Google services like Google+ and Adsense. But mainly because it’s free.

There a a couple of gripes I have with Blogger:

  1. It is just plain painful if you want to dig into the HTML and CSS to make any changes to the layout. Yes it is possible, but after several attempts over the years, with varying degrees of success, I just don’t understand why they’ve made it so difficult.

  2. The editor is hideous. I can never get my posts to display the way that I want. More often than not I have to switch to the HTML editor and painstakingly pull out the plethora of <br/> and other elements placed everywhere.

I first read about the Ghost Blogging Platform while reading Jeff Atwood’s post 10 Years of Coding Horror. If someone with as much blogging clout as Jeff Atwood has made the switch, that’s endorsement enough for me. So I moseyed on over to the Ghost site to check it out.

And my first impressions are really, really positive.

The editor is amazing. You can see how your posts will look in real time with the split panes (left side editor, right side preview). And using markdown speeds things up editing dramatically. Just wait until I know all the shortcuts.

The settings are really simple. I managed to add a custom url inside two minutes.

I was almost put off when I read that Ghost uses Handlebars for its Themes — not another templating engine to learn. But after 10 minutes browsing through the documentation and some code behind a couple of free themes hosted on Github, I’d made my first customisations and uploaded the .zip archive. You can check out my cleansed theme on Github.

I never really wanted to pay for a blogging platform, but at only $5 a month for up to 10,000 page views, I’m happy (for now) to lay that out for the ease of use and productivity gains. Plus it will be an incentive to post more regularly.

Your thoughts? I'd love to hear them. Please get in contact.