Ghost Blogging Platform Screenshot

First Impressions of the Ghost Blogging Platform

Back in 2012 , John O’Nolan wrote a brilliant blog article about where WordPress was heading. The readers loved the article and joined voices for a solution to the way WordPress was headed. After some time John and Hannah Wolfe joined forces with talented coders/designers and went crowd surfing on popular Kickstarter to get funding for the Ghost Blogging Platform.

I wanted to try Ghost for a long time, so I took the time to download and install it so I could tell you what my thoughts were.

How do I get Ghost?

You can download Ghost from https://en.ghost.org/download/.

Ghost is also available as a github project at https://github.com/tryghost.

Should you try it?

Why not? They claim to be changing the way we blog, or rather publish. I’ve had high expectations since John announced he was making it, and I’m positively surprised of what they have managed. So let’s take a look at why!

This is what ghosts.org claims will benefit their users:

  • Never stop writing, format on the fly
  • There is no messing around with buttons everywhere
  • No writing repetitive HTML markup
  • Mobile friendly

Sounds good, right?

Never stop writing, format on the fly

First of all, format on the fly means that everything you write, you write in Markdown. Whenever you write a post in WordPress you have the option to write in the visual tab or the text tab (html). Markdown however, allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format. This basically means that you finally won’t have to worry about your HTML. In addition to this, whenever you write your content, the screen will be split with a preview window that updates in real-time! I absolutely love the writing screen, and all these features does indeed save me a lot of time and effort.

Here is a video that showcases some of the features in the writing screen:

There is no messing around with buttons everywhere.

There really isn’t. Working with WordPress has made me used to having alot of choices, and to be honest it really did feel strange for a few minutes. I found myself looking for formatting options frequently and ended up checking the ghost.org website several times to figure out the options I had. In the end though, I realized how smooth and easy this makes writing posts. With no buttons, Ghost literary force you to write in a clean environment and without potential distractions. I do however miss a “How-to”-button/area that I could hide/remove containing instructions on how to use markdown. Anyone without knowledge of how to use this formatting language would probably have some issues in the beginning.

No writing repetetive HTML markup

Brilliant, thank you!

Mobile friendly

Inspiration can strike anywhere, not just when you’re sitting behind a computer. So, Ghost works where you work. Ghost is a fully responsive web application that works on all devices, and how amazing is this!? If anyone has ever tried using WordPress with their cell phones you know what I’m saying. It’s clumsy, big, and totally impractical. Ghost however, takes your blogging experience to a whole other level when the user interface changes depending to your screen!

Still in early development

There’s still some things I would like to see from Ghost.

Dashbord and plugins: Unfortunately, this feature didn’t make it to this build (0.3), so I guess we have to wait a little. Can’t wait to see the beautiful dashboard and try out some plugins, because I can’t really customize anything besides my header logo and image. The site title and description however, will always be displayed and I can’t change the text color or remove them. An easy fix would be to modify the css-template of your Ghost-theme, but I’m guessing they will include options for these as well.

Ghost also wants to make it possible for users to host their blogs through their site and chances are that it will be possible in a few weeks.

Remember that this web-application is still in it’s very early days (0.3) and lots can change in the coming weeks/months. Actually, if you take a look at their roadmap you will get an understanding of what their planned features are the coming months.