Moving to Ghost

After a long run with WordPress1, this blog is finally switching to Ghost. Why Ghost? Here are three sweet reasons:

  • Markdown. Probably the single biggest reason by far. Markdown has won the format war for me and it’s the easiest and most portable text editing format out there. WordPress support for Markdown feels like an afterthought at best but Ghost has it as a first class citizen.
  • Ghost is a non-profit. This is another biggie. I’d like to have a simple, stable solution that’ll last for the next 10 years. And where the CEO will never say things like he wants to be the next web platform.
  • Ghost is built in Node. Which is far more hackable for me nowadays than WordPress PHP.

Here’s three things I’ll miss:

  • Comments: this is the biggie. Ghost doesn’t have comments inbuilt, and the best solution seems to be Disqus, whose UI I abhor for some reason. This site hasn’t been particularly comment-heavy ever2, so this is not a pressing concern.
  • Hosting: I used to use hosting and even though it was expensive, there wasn’t a worry of managing servers or backups yourself. I’ve now created a Digital Ocean account.
  • The Publicize plugin. I liked the notifications being posted to Twitter every time I posted & that’ll not happen anymore.

A nod of the hat to the following projects who made this happen:

  • wp2ghost: An importer from WordPress XML.
  • Vapor: A great theme that I instantly liked.

Why not move entirely to a static site generator like Jekyll? While that might yet happen, I like friendly UIs a bit much because it lets me focus on the writing.

Things left to do:

  • Set up redirection for old blog posts.
  • Set up comments. I’m leaning towards Facebook comments for now. Implemented Disqus despite its ugliness because the other options seem worse. Facebook comments aren’t responsive, and Google+ is just meh.
  • Set up Cloudflare for DDOS protection. This is necessary, not a luxury anymore for this site.
  • Move code to Github. Here!
  • Bring back old comments. Surprisingly not as hard as I thought. Disqus has a very robust import system.
  • Move to SSL default. Slight weirdness, but Cloudflare has a Force SSL Page rule.
  • Send email via Mailgun Very easy.
  • Bring back images on older posts.
  • Correct links to old writing posts.

I’ll keep updating this post as the adventure begins again.

  1. This blog used to work with B2, WordPress’ predecessor.
  2. Except for a few articles about the dastardly Relief India Trust.

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