More on Ghost

I know I gave an overview of my impressions so far, but previously had written about it from my point of view, of a guy who’d had some experience with spinning up virtual servers, coding database driven website, and html.

So, let’s take a look at what people are complaining about in ghost. Most of these are from this whiny straw man filled post here.

  • It’s just the new hotness
  • It requires command line setup and a dedicated server
  • No iOS app
  • No comments
  • it’s overrated, a solution to a problem people think they have with Wordpress, which isn’t going anywhere.
  • It’s Wordpress without all the stuff that makes Wordpress useful.
  • it promises speed but it’s not any faster than (a basic install of) Wordpress
  • it’s just a simple editor, without all the stuff that makes Wordpress extensible and awesome

I understand the frustration with it and the inspiration to build something “better” but the truth is that we’re not looking for better software. Instead, we’re trying to control our impulse to overcustomize, add plugins and functionality that we might not need, ignore all the knobs and dials, and just blog. Wordpress lets you do that quicker and more easily than Ghost.

I see Ghost as the hipster younger brother of Wordpress. It’s old and boring. It’s lame because it uses PHP. Its used by everyone and thus has lost its cool factor. It’s really easy to hate on Wordpress. But the truth is that a basic Wordpress install with a single caching plugin will be exactly as useful and great as Ghost. If having the option to post static pages makes Wordpress bad and if the Wordpress API has a lot of features that you are never forced to take advantage of is lame then call me lame.

Insofar as setup goes, let’s talk Wordpress. Both ghost and Wordpress have a paid fully hosted option. Both ghost and Wordpress have the ability to install on a server instance from scratch. Wordpress’s strongest advantage is that it is easily installed on a cheap shared hosting instance, where nodeJS and NGinx don’t easily run on shared instances, and that most shared hosting setups have one-click installs for Wordpress that handle the backend setup.

Make no mistake - setting up Wordpress up without the prefab setup is roughly as complicated as setting up ghost. Database configuration, directory permissions, command line tweaks, etc. are all necessary. Fortunately with the one-click setups, that’s generally not needed for WP anymore, but for those of us who remember the early days of WP, Drupal, Joomla, the setup for Ghost from scratch is refreshingly simple, and on a platform like Digital ocean where you can spin up prefab instances preloaded with ghost, almost as easy and cheap as the single-click installs.

The lack of an iOS app, since the new editor isn’t fully supported in the iPad browser, is moderately annoying, but there are several good markdown editors on the iPad, and for me personally I don’t do web posting on tablets. Screen typing is better than it used to be but I still type much faster on a real keyboard. Given that there are desktop apps for Windows and MacOS and Android, there will be one at some point. In the meantime, if you must post on an iPad, that’s a strike against ghost.

Comments are also another factor that, if you need them, and don’t want Disqus/whatever, you’re shit out of luck.you can integrate NodeBB. It it’s not quite the same to set up a separate platform just to have comments.

Hell, I’ll even grant having better search through post contents both on the backend and as a front-end option would be nice.

But the naysayers who put it down as something that Wordpress could do if stripped down don’t get it. For those of us who just want to write an article without an interface getting in the way, there’s too much clutter getting in the way in even a default install.

And for those who don’t need to integrate a shopping cart, submissions forms, etc., who just want a blog with a couple static pages, it is certainly not Wordpress without the things that make it useful. For that matter, Wordpress is now getting bloated and complex enough to customize that the gap in ease of setup/management between Wordpress and Joomla/Drupal is narrowing.

Further, for the html hobbyist who wants to tweak their own templates and themes, ghost is actually easier.

Further, unless you want your site hacked or to be dog slow, you will never run a default setup of Wordpress. Much like Drupal needs additional work and setup just to be usable, WP is getting to the point where cacheing, security, etc. plugins have to be downloaded just to provide basic security and speed optimizations.

Hell, one of the reasons I’d used Squarespace for a while at a completely different site was the hassle of Updating and securing Wordpress on an ongoing basis. And I had free hosting at the time if I used Wordpress.

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.