Time For A Change

I've been meaning to update my blog for quite a while now, though it was always rather far down my to-do list. For years I had used WordPress - it worked well enough, had a plethora of customization options, and obviously had a lot of market support, being used by over 50% of the world's top 100 blogs. Yet for me, WordPress had lost its lustre.

What was the problem?

There was nothing significantly wrong or broken with WordPress itself. But for managing a site myself, I grew somewhat tired of installing security patches to defend against the latest threats, dealing with spam that kept trickling past both ReCaptcha and Defensio, and the inevitable WYSINQWYG (what you see is not quite what you get) of the built-in editor.

Then there was a major update to WordPress, which likely would have broken the theme modifications I had made and the handful of plugins I was using. I had other more important things to be working on, so I decided to abandon the site at that point.

But a voice in the back of my head kept nagging me. "It's your vanity domain! You can't just abandon it!" And so, I had to decide what to do with the site...

Choices, choices...

For a while I toyed with the idea of a static site generator. It's not too hard to find a templating engine that supports LESS or SASS, and pushes automatically regenerated site out to a webserver whenever the content changes. OctoPress is a great option for that sort of thing, and I even set up a test site to examine the software. Overall it was easy to configure and worked reasonably well.

But then I finally admitted it to myself: I'm not a front-end guy. Sure, I want my site to look good - but I'd rather be writing content than fussing over various nuances of CSS in order to ensure that it looks correct on major desktop browsers and mobile devices! OctoPress had some acceptable themes, but they weren't quite what I was looking for, and overall it just wasn't quite enticing enough.

Then Ghost was announced.

Why Ghost?

The Ghost Logo

At the time, I was working for NodeFly, a company that built an application performance monitoring solution for Node.js. I was really excited about all things Node, so I thought that I would wait and see what Ghost would become after their KickStarter. In mid-October, Ghost was released to the public - and I liked what I saw:

  • clean default theme (Casper)
  • simple editor that uses Markdown
  • easy customization
  • Node.js backend (hooray), so I can tweak things or fix them myself if necessary

In addition, I had been contemplating a move from Dreamhost to DigitalOcean, and the latter just happened to create a droplet with Ghost pre-configured. With such a low barrier to entry, I was up and writing content in only a few minutes.

Next Steps

For now, all my old content - a whole dozen posts! - can still be found at their old location. I haven't yet had the opportunity to move the content and comments over to this site, but plan to get around to it over the holidays.

I will also be setting up commenting via Disqus, which seems to be the simplest solution by far.

For the curious, the current header image for this blog's index is by NASA, and is of the Johannes Kepler ATV-2 after undocking from the ISS. I found the image on ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti's G+ page. I love the composition of the image, but I'll switch to another image when I have the chance, as I'm not sure of its exact copyright because I can't find the original anywhere else.