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Over the past few months (when time allows) I’ve slowly been migrating my personal website to the Ghost platform, experimenting with things as I go. As such, I’ve been spending a lot of time crawling around GitHub issues and IRC, trying to determine best practices, known bugs, and fixes to common problems. I eventually ended up contributing to their 0.5 release.

Thoughts on Ghost

Although the software is still a far ways from a 1.0 release, I don’t have any second thoughts about using it as a platform for my personal website. The biggest issue I have right now is the difficulty in theming. There are a lot of restrictions due to the unfinished state of Ghost; in order to work around these, you need to sometimes edit Ghost Core, making future upgrades a pain in the neck. I’ve decided to just use the default theme (Casper) for now, and work on a custom theme later down the road.

The two changes I still make to the codebase is allowing HTML in the blog description and adding Google Analytics. I allow HTML by modifying Casper’s index.hbs, changing {{@blog.description}} to {{{@blog.description}}}. This way I can link to static pages and offsite profiles, such as GitHub. I’m hoping in the future allowing linking is the default – it’s currently being discussed in issue 1517.

How I Helped

Ghost 0.5 was tagged as being the multi-user release. Most of my contributions were cleaning up the administrator “settings” interface. I helped add visual restrictions based on the account group of the logged-in user. If you were just an author for instance, you shouldn’t be able to change blog settings; you should be restricted to seeing the New Post menu. If you were an editor, you should be able to view user accounts, but not change blog settings.

The hardest part was figuring out where things were. Since the 0.5 release also included an extensive code rewrite, documentation was sparse. Reading through a massive codebase trying to figure out how things tied together took a lot of time, but the team was incredibly helpful. Whenever I had a question, someone in the #ghost Freenode channel had a quick response.

Contributors Contributor list for Ghost 0.5.2

The Future

Now that I have some experience under my belt, I’m hoping I can increase the level of my contributions. I’m a fan of the Ghost platform, and I think Erin has done a fantastic job running things. I’m looking forward to giving back!