The Ghost project was started by John O'Nolan, former head of the WordPress UI group, as a Kickstarter project. The team's mission with Ghost: make a not-for-profit and not-for-acquisition platform for bloggers. The tag line ("Just a blogging platform") sort of reminded me of the Evan Williams tag line at Blogger: "Push-button publishing for the people."
Over the years, WordPress has grown bloated with features as it has been stretched to support the sometimes conflicting needs of its users and developers. It has also moved from simple blogging platform to a all encompassing CMS. The result: a very sophisticated but increasingly cumbersome piece of software that is rapidly becoming the Microsoft Word of CMSs.
So last night I decided to take Ghost for a spin. The project is admittedly immature, so this was very much an experiment. I started by downloading the source code and installing it on my current WordPress server. While setting up Ghost took minutes, it took a lot longer to figure out how to migrate my several years of content. I settled on using wp2ghost to migrate my existing posts, modified the code to support my WordPress :year/:month/:slug permalink structure, and shamelessly copied my WP content uploads directory under Ghost as an interim solution to migrating images. Thanks to Hannah Wolfe for helping me put the last link in my permalink puzzle.
Long time WordPress users may be shocked at the spartan simplicity of Ghost. WP offers one stop shopping for just about anything you need for your site, from SEO to social media integration. I am sure there is a WordPress feature to make you coffee in the morning if you look hard enough. The core Ghost software offers none of that, expecting the yet to emerge plugin market to extend the simple base software. So before making the move, you'll need to ask yourself: do you really need all that functionality?
I'm not sure how how long it will last, but right now there is a Ghost in my machine.