Moving my blog to Ghost

I haven't been blogging regularly. I have a litany of excuses, but one I wanted to eliminate was dealing with WordPress.

It all started with Medium

Medium is a relatively new lightweight blogging service created by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. I'd been using (some would say avoiding) WordPress for some years now, and the thought of something simpler caught my attention.

Medium is simple. I tried it. I like it. I can't use it:

  • It's very aggressive with formatting pasted text in code blocks. It quietly changes normal double quotes into pretty matched (and completely un-usable) double quote characters, among other things. This would make adding usable source code examples tedious and potentially error-prone.

  • It funnels my readers to, well, other writers. I got you to read my blog, and I want you to read a little more before you fly off to someone else who is being promoted by the Medium editorial staff.

  • It crashes the BlackBerry 10 browser. We're talking app screen of death here. While I'm sure this may be something odd on BlackBerry's part, Medium remains the only one of the solutions I tried which isn't compatible with that browser.

Enter the Markdown

I love Markdown. I've been using it extensively to create design documents and source code documentation for some years now. It's great. Yes, WordPress now supports Markdown, but I began looking for something even simpler.

Ghost

I ended up settling (for now) on Ghost. A very successful Kickstart project, Ghost is based on Node.JS and Markdown, two of my favorite things.

While the Ghost team is busy setting up their own hosting, it's open source and relatively easy to setup on your own box. After some playing around on a dev box, I decided to put it up on my server. But am I happy with my current provider? Not really. I started a new server up on Digital Ocean in about two minutes flat. Well, and some time for my DNS changes to propogate.

Things to do

While Ghost is really cool and very extensible, I'm still settling on which theme I want to use and what features I want to enable or add. For now, I'm just fiddling with the default theme Casper. I tried a few, but all seem to have some issue or another which prevents me from using them. I'll post other updates as I go along.

Let's see if I actually use this blog more regularly than once every three months...

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