New year, new blog

Okay, it's not a very new year, however I am feeling proud of my new blog. As both the people who saw the old blog will know, that one was running on Drupal. This wee beasty is running on Ghost.

For anyone who hasn't heard already, Ghost is a blogging platform written by a team that splintered from Wordpress. Ghost, however, is not a PHP CMS, it is a pure blogging platform and runs on node.js. Pretty cool, huh?

I decided to use Ghost out of pure laziness. I found out about it because Webfaction, my web host, added a one-click installer and when I saw the content-entry interface I decided I was on to a winner. Drupal is a very general-purpose tool which means that it needs a fair amount of configuring, even for a simple bog site, and I never finished that process. Ghost on the other hand was both pretty and very usable straight out of the box.

As easy as that?

Well, my lazy side was disappointed, but I still enjoyed the experience (and I got to play with node.js) so I reckon I'm ahead.

Ghost lacks a few "necessary" bloggy tools, e.g. site search, email subscription and maybe (I haven't looked) a tag cloud. As you can see at the bottom of this post, or on the home page sidebar, I've added email subscriptions using Google's Feedburner.

On Drupal, I would have written any new functionality in to a module. I would have exposed the UI element as a block, and I would have tidied it up in the theme. Ghost feels so small that I added the email subscription straight into the theme layer without any nagging feeling of impropriety. Obviously that will entail more work if I ever change my theme.

And the benefits?

I won't harp on about ghost. You can easily find out about why you might like it. I will mention that if you want to install it yourself then you can download releases from Github.

The things that appealed to me about Ghost were that it looked good, and came with markdown, a lovely text editor and a very simple post-management interface. Blogging is one of those areas where I feel that the product is well understood. I don't want lots of choice (i.e. configuration.) I want a highly usable tool with sensible defaults. I got it.

What about the yak?

Ah yes! The Yak was drawn for me by Sharon Cumming. Sharon's an artist who has only just started to sell her work and doesn't have an online presence yet. If you'd like to commision her then let me know and I'll put you in touch.

Justin Hellings

"Justin? Hell of a guy! We would have kept him but you know how it is. Genius like that is always restless ... Eh? ... Oh, him ... No, I thought you meant someone else."

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