By Matt Birchler

I Love Ghost

I moved Birchtree from Wordpress to Ghost back in December 2019 and just over 2 years into the move, I can say I'm exceptionally happy with my decision. I don't have a big article to back this up, and I don't think Ghost is right for everyone, but I wanted to mention it because I like to publicly support the software I get value from in my life.

Things I Love

  • Everything is fast and fuild. I don't spend a ton of time in the admin UI, but when I do, things work well and let me get my job done without bombarding me with a million options.
  • I don't need third party plugins to get a good experience. WordPress needed so many plugins to get something useable for me, but none of that is needed for Ghost. Again, just my use case, but it's a great fit for me.
  • The Ulysses integration has only gotten better. I write almost everything for this site in Ulysses on my iPad, and I can publish directly to this site from the app, including feature images, tags, scheduled posts, excepts, and I can even make edits to posts I've already published from Ulysses, which is something they've added in the past 6 months.
  • When I do use the web editor, it's pretty great! It's not a plain text editor, but it lets me do everything I want simply, and with keyboard shortcuts I'd expect.
  • I'm more a PHP guy than an JaveScript guy, so I'm not as good at editing things in my theme, but Ghost makes it easy enough that I've made a few significant UI updates to this site in the past 2 years and they've been quite simple to implement.
  • Ghost is always getting updated. I had version 3.something when I started, and now I'm on 4.37. The core experience hasn't changed a ton, but everything's gotten better, especially when it comes to newsletters.
  • Speaking of newsletters, I moved my newsletter to Ghost a few months back and it's gone great!

Things I Don't Love

  • The web admin UI is not good on the iPad or iPhone. It's better on the iPad when using a mouse, but even then it has some bugs with the UI that make it hard to do things. They really need to sort this out in a future update because it is by far the worst part of the product in my opinion. Again, I almost never go into the admin UI, so it's not terrible for me, but it should be better all the same.
  • Similarly, while I love the editor overall, it devilishly maps CMD + H to "turn this line into a heading" so hiding the browser is literally impossible with a keyboard when in the editor. Safari doesn't allow this, but Firefox and Chromium-based browsers have this issue. Insane.
  • There's no built-in search, so I can't get a search box on my site for you fine folks to use. There are options out there, but they are either old and dusty, or too complicated for me to implement. I know you want search, I want it too, I just can't make it happen right now. What's frustrating is that there is a search box in the admin portal, it's just not usable on my public site.
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