Intro – Just a Blogging Platform
Ghost is a new platform just for blogging. Think WordPress, but simpler and without the expectation that you can use it for a website, ecommerce, photo gallery, or generic CMS. The focus is completely on writing and publishing long form articles.
Ghost was actually conceived as a WordPress plugin to restructure the entire interface to focus only on writing and publishing, but the limitations were too great and a new platform was created from scratch. The new platform has simplicity and focus at its core.
There are quite a few new tools out there for creating blogs that are free and feature rich, but often can be difficult to set up and use. Ghost is meant for hackers and ‘non-techies’ alike.
Other blogging platforms attempt to give you every option under the sun. The core focus of Ghost will always be on blogging, not providing a ‘platform for the web’. Not trying to bash WordPress at all, just stating that Ghost has different goals.
“Feature rich” is great if it’s what you need, or if you are doing more than just writing and publishing, but can be overkill/overwhelming/confusing if not.
It’s Open Source
Ghost is an open source project and MIT licensed. You can fork it and create your own blogging platform project, or integrate it into your open source CRM.
It’s Non Profit
Honestly, this is probably one of the most intriguing aspects of the Ghost project. The Ghost Foundation was formed after a very successful Kickstarter campaign which raised over $300,000.
The Ghost Foundation will be the umbrella organization that promotes the continuing development of Ghost, and also runs the Ghost hosted service. All proceeds from the hosted platform go back to funding Ghost development, growing the hosting service, and growing the Ghost ecosystem and community.
Built on NodeJS
This has all sorts of wonderful and magnificent implications for developers, but creates a slight problem for regular folks who just want to write…
Hosting is a bit of an issue right now. You can’t call Godaddy or HostGator and get a 1-click install for Ghost, like you can with PHP software. the Ghost Foundation is remedying this by offering their own hosting service which is currently in private beta (I have a site, it works just fine).
Other hosting companies have created their own options as well. They won’t be quite as easy as Ghost.org, but may offer some incentives depending on your needs.
Right now, Ghost has a pretty decent theme system that allows you to customize the layout and style of your blog. There are already a bunch of pre-made themes in the Ghost marketplace. Also, a few Ghost theme sites have popped up as well (including my own!).
The Future of Ghost
There is a new release coming out soon which adds tons of new features, and another release is planned for late December / early January. the Roadmap and progress is listed on the GitHub wiki.
The official Ghost forum is the best place to go for help. There are also other sites dedicated to installation and hosting, as well as themes and configuration. Of course, please feel free to ask me as well.