Reserving Judgment On Ghost

While reading an article on WPLift about Ghost by Nathan B Weller there were a couple of points brought up that I thought would make for a good discussion. One of the issues deals with the attractiveness of the WordPress back-end.

Additionally, the drawbacks of the WordPress platform do not stop at its growing complexity. It’s also notoriously ugly. Now don’t get me wrong, if you know me then you know I’m a huge WordPress fanboy who makes the majority of his income each month from writing solely on and about the WordPress platform. So I have crazy amounts of love, respect and appreciation for this software. But with that said I’ve often wondered: who stole all the sexy? I mean, seriously! Why does the backend of this amazing tool have to look SO dull and boring?!

I agree with him to an extent. The WordPress back-end is grey, dull and boring although using the different color scheme of blue, things brighten up a bit. But then, the entire back-end becomes too blue. Other than the colored text in the Discussion area of the Right Now box, there is very little in the way of refreshment in the back-end of WordPress. What happened here?

If we rewind our calendars to October 2008, WordPress was undergoing a major UI change from 2.5 codenamed CrazyHorse. This new UI was described as sexy, awesome, Wow! out of the box, etc. It was definitely a large improvement over WordPress 2.5 both in usability and looks. While I can’t find the article which contained the screenshots, there was at least one instance where MovableType showcased a screenshot of a new UI that was designed that looked very similar to the back-end of WordPress which was flattering to say the least.

WordPress 2.7 Dashboard

The back-end has gone through design tweaks since then and with WordPress 3.7, it appears that more user interface design changes are in the pipeline. In my opinion, for the better. Looking at the current iteration of the back-end UI, what would make it more delightful to the eyes or refreshing to use so that it wasn’t so boring?

One of other sticking points is the bit about Ghost being a true non-profit.

Ghost will be a true non-profit. There will be no commercial side to things as there currently is with Automattic and WordPress

What does it mean to be a non-profit but then be classified as not a true non-profit. The WordPress project is not aimed at making money, it’s free software. The only thing that is actually labeled as a non-profit is the WordPress Foundation. For those that don’t know what’s what in the world of WordPress, you should read this article by John Saddington on which summarizes things nicely. Also, from what I’ve read, Ghost will have a hosting service similar to what provides. From the Ghost Kickstarter page.

Users hosting with us = revenue = development = better software = more users = more revenue = more development = well… you get the idea.

Sounds to me like there will be a commercial side to things.

I’m keeping a close eye on the progress of Ghost because not only are there a lot of people clamoring for a chance to use what’s been presented in the screenshots, but I’m interested in trying it out myself to see if it really does enhance the publishing process. However, comparisons between WordPress and Ghost should be reserved until an actual piece of software is released. I’m sure John is under a huge amount of pressure to deliver considering the amount of funding he will end up receiving.


6 responses to “Reserving Judgment On Ghost”

  1. To be honest I’m not all that fussed if the back-end of WordPress is sexy or not. I want and need it to be clean, efficient, functional. And there are plenty of other ‘back-ends’ I would much rather cast my eyes over this spring….

  2. I’m with Viktoria on this one. Sexy often gets in the way of getting things done. Like any backstage it’s a place to work, the stage is the visitor’s side, that’s where the scenery belongs.

    Good example with the current UI is the upper left corner, a sure newbie-baffler if the mouse strays, the Visit Site rollover is a perfect example of a pointless addition to that traffic jam.

  3. @Carl – Sometimes this is true but there is no reason why it can’t be sexy and easily allow users to get things done.

    @Xavier – THANK YOU! I asked all over Twitter and searched Google high and low only to have both platforms wrong. Article corrected.


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