The Beauty and Potential of Ghost

If you've never heard of Ghost, you should do yourself a favor and take a look at their website. Ghost is a very interesting and unique new tool for blogging that has recently completed a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Initially requesting only £25,000 to help fund their creation, they ended up raising almost £196,362.

When I first heard about Ghost, I was excited about the prospect of a new blogging platform coming online that might be able to serve a new set of future bloggers with an interface designed purely for blogging. WordPress, although a very capable platform, has simply started to move out of the “just a blogging tool” arena and into a broader market, offering up a great set of tools for creating other types of websites such as those for business, etc. While it's still a great blogging platform, this is no longer it's only purpose and having a tool specifically for just blogging that does it well and beautifully, is certainly appealing.

I'm also a huge fan of simplicity and minimalism (one of the reasons I switched CMS Critic from WP to ProcessWire not too long ago), so when I saw how beautiful the Ghost interface was going to be, I had to jump onboard and become an early adopter.

Check out this video to see why Ghost was created:


After watching the video and seeing the passion that John has for his project, I had to try it. I decided to install Ghost on my personal blog, which I've been meaning to get up for quite some time. While the process right now is incredibly complicated (for someone with no technical experience), once I got it up and running, I was able to quickly see why Ghost has such potential. Not only is it incredibly fast running not on Apache or PHP but rather node.js. To get an idea of how the install process works, I've written a post addressing how to get Ghost up and running on a VPS through ServInt, whom I use as my web host of choice for CMS Critic. You can read it here (on my Ghost powered blog, That Critic Guy).

The Interface

What I particularly like about Ghost is how simple it is. In the video, you'll see they have a beautiful dashboard showcased. This isn't complete yet so if you choose to test Ghost out now, you won't be able to see it but it's planned to be released within the coming months. What does work is the publishing interface and yes, it's missing some functionality given that this is an early development release but they are making progress quickly.

Here's how the back end of Ghost looks to me on my blog, That Critic Guy when I log in:

Ghost interface

Pretty simple isn't it?

What I like the most is the way that Ghost handles writing. The way it works is you write in the left pane in Markdown Syntax (which is super easy to use by the way) and on the right, everything is previewed live.

Ghost - Writing

It's an elegant. yet simple interface that feels good to write with. In fact, I dare say it made me want to write more often just to use the interface.

Is it done yet? No, it still is in the development process although it's most certainly usable for those of you who, like me, have no patience and like getting their hands dirty. They are planning to launch the hosted version of their platform within the next few months along with the cool dashboard you saw in their video around the same time.

Ghost has some amazing potential and considering they are not in it for the money, but rather to make the web a better place for bloggers, they've got my support. If you are tech-minded enough and feel you can handle the process of trying out Ghost, give it a try. Alternatively, you can wait for their hosted version to come online in the next few months.

There is already a solid selection of Ghost themes available on Themeforest as well.

Check out Ghost. or see it running on my personal blog, That Critic Guy.