Ghost hits 1.0: Reflections on three years of Ghost blogging


In September 2013, after years of light blogging with Jekyll via Octopress, I switched to a very sexy-looking new blogging platform called Ghost. Ghost was written with Node.JS and promised to be fast and efficient, with a minimalist writing interface and a slick looking dashboard.

I wrote up the platform in a quick article for Ars shortly after the public beta became available. The new and shiny had won me over, and I ditched Octopress and converted everything to Ghost.

But development took far longer than anyone anticipated. Essential blog features like post scheduling lagged; others, like customizable excerpts or the ability to center images without resorting to manual HTML and CSS entry still haven’t shown up. And that slick dashboard? Canceled.

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Has ars moved to the Gutenberg editor on WP? If so, any changes in what you think? I haven’t installed it on my sites yet, but I hear it’s more Medium-like.


No, Ars is very much still on the standard WP editor interface. The Ars WP instance has several custom fields and a a couple dozen custom shortcode tags for inserting various things into stories (like auto-generating of a table of contents for long pieces, fancy formatted pullquotes, customized iframes, customized galleries, integration with the Conde Nast ad network for programmatic ad selection by story or tag, and whatever the hell else is going on behind the scenes), and the tech team is being very cautious with integrating Gutenberg—lots of testing to do still.

Though the biggest obstacle, as with any major critical system change, is user retraining. Ars is like any office—there are some people who do well with IT changes, and some who appear to do all computing by rote memorization and who will be unable to function if even the slightest thing changes. Gutenberg represents not just an interface change, but a change in a lot of fundamental writing workflows—changing the writing interface metaphor to being more “block focused” or whatever they’re calling it requires adjustments to a lot of common tasks, especially around inserting and managing images.


On the either plus or minus side of things (depending on your point of view) Gutenberg’s use of (I think) the REST API means that it requires things to be configured well for it not to break stuff. I had to disable old plugins that had otherwise been functioning just fine and still haven’t quite figured out what I need to fix to get SSL working. Right now if I login via https, I can do everything on the site short of writing, publishing, or saving posts. Which is to say, the Admin part of the site works, but nothing crucial to the actual blogging works. Before Gutenberg it was working. So I’ve obviously got something wrong there (doesn’t surprise me - I’ve probably worked up a lot of cruft having run that site since 2005)