ghost, blog, platform

Moving to Ghost

When I decided to start this blog in November 2016, I really wanted to give Ghost a try. There were a few reasons for this:

  • I like that it's open source
  • I was attracted to the freedom of writing my posts in markdown
  • It's written using a framework I felt was going to be pretty easy for me to pick up (Handlebars) as I've used Knockout in the past
  • I've followed Troy Hunt for quite a while now and it's something he's talked about as he moved his own blog to it in April 2016

Even with all of those reasons, I didn't go straight to Ghost to get my blog up and running. This was mainly down to a barrier of my own making. If I was going to do Ghost, I wanted to write my own theme for it. If I'd gone straight to Ghost, I probably wouldn't now have a few blog posts as I'd still be thinking, "I should really learn how to build a Ghost theme".

The fastest way for me to get a blog online was to use Wordpress as all it required was a few clicks with my hosting provider. I found a decent free theme and edited the style a little and there it was. My blog was live and I had my first post within a couple of hours.

It's taken me 6 months to get around to finally building the Ghost theme, but here it is! I rather enjoyed building it too. I decided to start from scratch and use the default Casper theme as a reference. I'm trying to get more familiar with tools like NPM & Grunt as I haven't done any heavy front end development since around 2014 (and so much has changed since then), so it was a good opportunity to use them. I'll admit, there was some trial and error. I still need to learn the intricacies of NPM & the various flags that can be used!

To get me through the build, I found the Ghost Developer Guide, the Ghost Theme Development Guide and the Ghost For Beginners sites were all of tremendous help. Obviously there were a few trips to Stack Overflow for some NPM & Grunt help too, but you probably guessed that already.

So far I'm really happy with my choice, and I can't see that changing. I still have some work to do on the theme. I want to tweak the styling a little more and ultimately I want to put it on Github so that others can use it if they want to. I used Bootstrap to help with speed of getting the theme up but I'm using very little of it so I want to remove that to reduce page overhead. I'm really enjoying writing my posts in markdown too. So much freedom!

If you're thinking of trying out Ghost, I definitely recommend it.