Thoughts on Ghost

On choosing between ghost and a custom CMS. Spoiler, ghost won.... for now.

Thoughts on Ghost
Photo by Florian Klauer / Unsplash

I've been back and forth between writing my own blog CMS vs not reinventing the wheel and using the Ghost platform. I really like the slickness of the UI. The new versions come with many much-needed features like sitemaps, rich embeds, etc. And all native mind you. Theme management is fantastic.

My gripe with it mostly stems from the complexity of the learning curve for self-hosted developers. I'm sure the ghost-cli  intended to make lives easier but it truly was a headache to keep my current apps running on the latest LTS node and have another older version simultaneously for ghost apps. In retrospect, I'm sure a docker would have been the obvious solution there but I've yet to find the time to sit and read through the docs. Postgraduate medical training truly has me by the balls. I mean I'm writing this at 3:58 am, being the only time to write my thoughts out in privacy and not impinge on study time.

I do miss the double editor. You know the one it launched with that had side-by-side views of the markdown input and published output. My first attempt at an author's website was actually inspired by that editor alone. I ended up writing my own clone in MeteorJS back in the day. Wild.

I also do not fancy the idea that integrations are based solely on events via webhooks and code embeds. I feel like ghost really missed the mark there. I can only think of the makers (who kept emphasizing they broke off from WordPress because they thought WordPress wasn't about blogging anymore) trying to keep things as 'bloggy' as possible, but that severely limits its potential. I would like to post my reading lists here but in a cool, interactive way like in my old PHP-based blog. I can do this easily in ReactJS if this were again my own CMS (I actually wrote a prototype prior with slick web sockets that scale, super cool) but it would truly be reinventing the wheel if I were to make it similar to a Ghost as intended. Again, as a post-graduate student, I simply do not have the time.

Hopefully, I can put my gripes aside and embrace ghost for what it is rather than what I want it to be. Though, I get the feeling that I'm going to try hacking bits and pieces of it until I can forge it into something that satisfies me.

- Gib