14 Comments


  1. Great piece, Sarah!

    I’ve been following Ghost for quite awhile. It was very interesting to see our friends over at WooThemes jump on board. And there’s no question that it looks gorgeous.

    I’ve long thought that WordPress needed something to motivate it to make an elegant and inviting experience to the pure and fresh blogger. When I see projects like Medium, PostHaven, SVBTLE, it becomes more and more clear that WordPress is missing out on a gigantic opportunity. Most people coming to the Web just want a simple, no-frills platform to write and share a few images or videos.

    So when this serious, open-source contender like Ghost comes along, I feel it will be a very good thing for WordPress. The development community will react to what Ghost has done, and I believe WordPress will snag a few pages from Ghost’s approach to result in a significantly simplified experience that meets the needs for people who are new to content publishing, while also maintaining the power and control that us power users desire.

    WordPress can be that platform that not only enables the most incredible amount of control, customization, and community from a CMS, but I feel that one day WordPress can be the entry point for future and aspiring content creators. But it’s not completely there yet.

    I’ve already seen time and time again when friends of mine who get started on a WordPress blog (and, in many of those cases, I’m the one setting them up), they post for a few times for maybe a month or two, and then they ask me for something simpler. They don’t want to deal with plugins or customizing themes. They don’t like seeing endless text fields with settings galore. They just want it to work.

    Interestingly, over at ManageWP, we’re at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. We’re helping people who have complex businesses with dozens to thousands of websites to easily manage their sites. Even for the hardest of hardcore content publishers and hackers, they still desire a platform to make it very easy for them to get to business.

    There’s still a lot of improvements that need to be made to WordPress. However, tackling the problem of complexity, so that people who are just wanting to get started blogging can go easily pick WordPress, seems to be the way to go. I look forward to seeing what Matt and the WordPress community is going to come up with next.

    In the end, I hope that this will result in everyone in the WordPress ecosystem benefiting greatly in the future.

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  2. I read in the announcement brief that automatic updates for Ghost would be exclusive to those on the hosted service. If that remains true, this will be a huge detriment to self-hosted users, especially WordPress converts who’ve been used to this commodity feature since the early days of WordPress.

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  3. Nice writeup Sarah.

    This is essentially all the flexibility of WordPress.org with the support and reliability you’d expect from WordPress.com

    I don’t consider that to be true. WordPress.com has a huge advantage in that they control all of the code. That’s a fundamental difference and an important one. WordPress.com lacks functionality and control, but it has better stability because of it. I don’t think any system which gives the user access to the file system or which replicates the file system for each user will ever be that stable. There’s just too many points of failure.

    That’s not a net negative for the Ghost hosted service, I just don’t think the two are comparable in that sort of way.

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  4. Sarah, good writeup on Ghost. I’ve been using WordPress for nearly 10 years and can it see it evolve from a very simple writing platform to a massive CMS with more options than a normal user needs.

    That being said, I think a key strength that WordPress has is that it can work almost out of the box when you install it without going crazy with a 100 configurations. You’ll ofcourse want to install a few plugins and themes to get you ship shape.

    Ghost (without having tried it hands-on) appears to be like what WordPress started out, with the latest technology embedded in there.

    It will be an interesting platform to watch. Will it revolutionise the blogging industry? Maybe. But, a lot of this will determine how well they can influence users to make a switch from WordPress to them.

    I’ll be waiting for the release.

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  5. @Erlend Sogge Heggen – I think you might’ve misunderstood Erland – Of course we are going to try and have the same 1-click automatic updates as WordPress has enjoyed for years for everyone (hosted and self-hosted).
    In addition we’re going to look at doing 0-click automatic updates (like Google Chrome) on our hosted service, if possible. This is quite a long way away though, we are – after all – only at 0.3 :)

    @Ryan Hellyer – Watch this space!

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  6. Sarah:

    I enjoyed this post. Good job!

    It’s true that we’ll all gain from Ghost. I’ve been watching it for some time. It’ll be interesting to see how it unfolds.

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  7. Thanks! Great post. I wonder if Ghost will ever develop an ecommerce module and if they do, would it be better than whatever we have over here on WordPress?

    I know some of our WP guys are already checking out Ghost, like Fooplugins.com =)

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  8. Andreas Nurbo

    First things first. The comparison of the theme file structure is missleading. There are A LOT more than required templates shown in the WP directory. All you need for WordPress is two, an index file and a style.css.

    But what is actually different from WordPress?
    Main thing is actually Ghosts requirements and the complexity that comes from that.
    The biggest thing thats missing here is that they use nodejs. Which user can easily host and configure that on their own? Wheres the target group that commercial devs are suppose to sell too? Almost no users can use it easily. Nodejs has a lacking support on Windows (mostly 3rd party npms but none the less issues).
    And for a hosted service, there are no frizz providers already.

    Its cool and so forth but whats the unique selling point for the project?
    Nodejs? almost none of the ones that want a no frizz easy blogging system that can be self hosted easily can use it. If its hosted, the end user dont care. Also complex in comparison to get WP running (See http://ghosted.co/install-ghost-digitalocean/ 10 steps are actually like 38 commands or steps)

    Markdown? easily added to WordPress if need arises. Its a bummer there is no support for this in core yet though. (The whole blogwriting should really be refactored)

    Handlebars for themes? woopydoo. There are easier to use solutions for end users and devs to work with. Jade is such an easy template language. (See http://docs.ghost.org/themes/ my eyes hurt from all the {{…}})

    Then there are those that donated and dont get what they expected since the wording and the promotion was somewhat missleading. Can read about it in their support forum.

    Easy to develop for? WordPress
    Easy to setup and get hosting for? WordPress
    Existing ecosystem with lots of good resources to learn from in one owns dev endeavors etc? WordPress

    In conclusion, basically what WordPress can learn from Ghost is:
    1) Simplify the blog posting, support Markdown.
    2) Simplify the admin area

    PS
    Ghost is just suppose to be a blogging platform, that is, as far as I understand it. eCommerce support and all that jazz seems really to totally go against the whole point of Ghost.

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  9. Flick

    @Sarah: Thanks for the write up. I had heard about the Ghost Kickstarter project and was just wondering what had happened to it. Is it bad that I have never heard of nodeJS? Going by what @AndreasNurbo said, it seems to be more complicated to setup compared to WP’s PHP+mySQL combo. I must do some more reading up.

    Great interview though – it was informative to be able to ‘listen in’ on the thoughts and decision processes of John and Hannah. And then to see how their work has effectively influenced the WP-sphere.

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  10. Great to hear that John. In this case, you should change this part of your copy, because it’s rather misleading:

    [With pro hosting] You’ll have the full Ghost software with all bells, whistles, themes, plugins, and some extras that are only available with us (like automatic updates and backups).

    Emphasis mine.

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  11. @Erlend Sogge Heggen – WordPress 3.7 is getting auto updates and for 3.8 they are looking at reinventing the post editor – although it’s not using markdown – I’m sure there will be a plugin for that.

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  12. Personally I think that a lot of the ideas and gripes (especially the initial thoughts John published that sparked the whole thing) are quite valid. There is definitely room for improvement in many ways. And the fact this is an open source product is great. But at the moment it’s all too young and too early to make any proper judgements.

    Plus, despite what people (seem to) say, it doesn’t have a simple setup at all. Most hosts don’t support Node.js – whereas almost all hosts support PHP. I don’t care what tech software is written in – but for mass adoption you have to use what the masses have available.

    Of course in 5 years time the adoption of node.js could be much higher – but then WordPress (and PHP) will have changed a lot in 5 years as well.

    Either way – I agree that competition is good and I’m sure both apps will learn from each other.

    Reply

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