Unlike seemingly everyone else within the web design / web development community and across the global blogosphere, I’ll have to admit that I still haven’t installed Ghost – John O’Nolan‘s new, slick blogging platform (that began as a Kickstarter project) out to challenge WordPresss’ position as the world’s number 1 blog software.
Why haven’t I tried Ghost yet?
Well, I’m old! 34 🙂 That means I get lazier and lazier as each day passes me by… Or rather (irony put aside) it’s because I’m very selective when it comes to which tools and technologies I invest my time in. If age is to make me anything; it’s conservative.
On Ghost launch day, like everyone else, I thought “Oh yeah! Finally released! Time to DL and install!”
… but then… I didn’t install… I stalled.
What made me stall?
Hmm… For a start, let me openly disclose and declare that I truly hope Ghost quickly will grow up – and become a worthy WordPress contender. As it is now though, I think Ghost is lacking too much, for me to really use it, in a way that feels joyful. For me at least.
I’ve got several reasons reasons, but here are the two main reasons why I’ve been too old to install Ghost:
No native Ghost iOS app
Ghost has no native iOS app. Or native Android app, for that matter. Being a WordPress user, I’m accustomed to the super useful WordPress iOS app.
While some might say “the browser UI is responsive and mobile friendly” – I’m still not wholly convinced.
Yeah, I know Ghost is optimized to be fully mobile/tablet-friendly. But it’s not the same as a native app. I’m one of those dudes who dislike web-apps. At least for mobile use, on tablet and smartphone. Needing to log in every now and then when the cookie expires: dull’n’dreadful. Having the browser chrome distracting me: sheesh. So no, a web UI doesn’t turn me on. It turns me off.
Ghosts web app experience is an improvement upon WordPress’ web-app experience though. WordPress used as a web app, on the iPad, isn’t an optimal experience. Can’t drag & drop and various other things. Cumbersome is the word.
Fortunately, WordPress has a native iPad (and iPhone and Android) app;)
I’m writing this very blog post in the WordPress iPad app. Lovely! I can’t express how much more I enjoy working on my iPad than the big, hot’n’heavy beast of a MacBook Pro I have! Yes, it can handle raw image photo processing of my Nikon D600 files (25 MB each) and I can edit and colorgrade full HD 1080p video on it. It also let’s me edit my websites, in Headway and PageLines DMS – and use code editors like Coda 2 and Espresso. It’s cool. A MacBook Pro is indispensable.
But… it can also multitask. Sigh. Gasp. Fret!
Multitasking makes me blog less!
According to the dictionary, Multitasking means “deal with more than one task at the same time” and “execute more than one program or task simultaneously”. Yet, according to me, who’s spent a big part of my life coping with ADD (the real kind) multitasking merely means: “immense distraction”.
The iPad’s singletasking “one app at a time” is amazing for me! The MacBook Pro is often a living hell, full of browsers: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, all with 10-40 tabs open each, plus a multitude of open apps like Curio, OmniGraffle, Spectrum, Photoshop, Aperture, Coda, Espresso… and 5-10 more, at any given moment.
… Anyway, I digress. Must be old age. Or that monkey-mind ADD. Anyway, browsers are a necessary evil for me. I dislike blogging via a browser.
So yes, if I am to use Ghost: I want an iPad app. Native, that is.
Ghost doesn’t come with a native commenting system.
I can see the rationale behind this decision, but really; comments are one of the most essential parts of blogging if you ask me. I know some people may not care about comments, or would rather not get any – some people don’t like having their ideas and beliefs challenged. But I do! I want my ideas challenged. I want to be told when I’m wrong, according to someone.
Oh yes, I know, I can just use third-party commenting systems like Disqus and Livefyre, with Ghost.
I’ve tried both Livefyre and Disqus on WordPress blogs, and sadly found them both quite unreliable, and unnecessarily “bloaty”. And frankly, when I’m about to comment on someones blog, and realise they’re using Disqus or Livefyre: I’m less likely to comment. Livefyre and Disqus feel so proprietary and locked-in, to me.
And like-wise: there are no iOS apps for Livefyre and Disqus. Dunno if there are Android apps?
Moderating comments while on the go, is wonderful! WordPress’ iOS app lets me do that. Great for keeping a great discussion going:)
And maybe more importantly: by leaving comments out of Ghost, I think the creators of Ghost may unintentionally end up harming the world of blogging. I fear many Ghost bloggers may:
A) Not bother installing Disqus or Livefyre.
B) Start to think that since comments aren’t available in Ghost, they’re obsolete / so last year / out of fashion.
… And maybe they are? I’m not here to be the judge of that. But to me, what makes blogging great, is in large part the comments I get. That blogging is a dialogue. And that there’s room for meaningful insights and useful content. A comment isn’t a tweet! A comment leaves room to elaborate. I feel so energized when I receive thoughtful comments from people who care. Care enough to take time out of their day, to share their thoughts with me and you. I don’t care if they disagree with me. Contrarian views are also great to get. They expand the horizon of the conversation!
Comments expand boundaries. Express opinions. Spread solutions. Heck, even creates new thinking models and paradigms at times.
I wonder whether comments will be coming in a future Ghost update? Maybe it got axed to ship an MVP (minimum viable product – a term used in agile, scrum and lean startup terminology) quickly? I dunno.
Do you know whether comments will be coming to Ghost in a future update? Please comment! Pun intended… But really; please do comment if you happen to know the roadmap of Ghost, regarding comments.
Lack of a native commenting system, and lack of a native mobile app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android smartphones and tablets. Those are my two main reasons for not yet bothering with the Ghost installation, which has been a challenge for many people.
Node.js means you need a dedicated or virtual server with root access. If that doesn’t ring a bell, you probably shouldn’t embark on installing Ghost, without being in the mood for a nerdy learning experience that’ll involve command-line prompts in a terminal. You know, the stuff geeks, wiz-kids and hackers in movies always do: write weird language with green text on a black background.
If you’re not as old, stubborn and quirky as me, eager to install Ghost on your own and play around with it, I hear many good things about DigitalOcean: a cloud hosting service, that lets you get started for as little as $5 a month. When I start regressing and magically become younger (hence want to try out Ghost): I’ll go with Digital Ocean;)
Oh, what’s cool about DigitalOcean by the way, is that they have something called droplets. What’s a droplet? Well, it’s a wiz-kid-geek replacement meal. You click a button and whom: you’ve got yourself a server. You can even click a Ghost-droplet and boom: you’ve got Ghost!
What’s your take on Ghost?