Site update

After six months of using Ghost, I update my site's theme and introduce the ability to create link-posts.

Site update

It’s been almost six months since I relaunched my website, switching in the process from Pelican to Ghost. I figured it was time I made a few changes and upgrades.

The most obvious change is the theme. Until now, I used a modified version of Lyra, itself a fork of Ghost’s default theme (Casper) modified to work with Ghost’s membership features that debuted with Ghost 3.0. Since then, Ghost’s membership features have matured nicely, making it easier to integrate with themes that don’t have the membership features baked in.

Meanwhile, I have also spent some time learning handlebars, the NodeJS template language that’s used in Ghost’s themes. Feeling more confident than I did six months ago, I started with a simpler theme and slowly built on it until I had something that suited my needs. Though I didn’t use it directly, a lot of what I’ve done is inspired by the front-end framework, UIKit, of which I’m rather fond. The result – I think – is cleaner and less busy than my previous theme, and it should also load faster.

The changes in Ghost (mostly the portal) has let me offload a lot of the membership stuff back on to the core, meaning that there’s a lot less hacking involved on the theme’s code. I like this separation of concerns, and it means that maintenance is a lot easier.

I’ve moved a lot of the incidental customisations into Ghost’s Code injection feature — again it means less hacking, and means I can change something on the fly instead of editing the theme and re-uploading it.

Another thing I’m excited about is Ghost’s new Newsletter design settings. I’ve been wanting to migrate from MailerLite to Ghost for my newsletter needs for months, and this will certainly encourage me to do so.

Another change to impact the way I blog is Link Posting. A link post is the means to post a link to an article elsewhere on the web and write a brief commentary about it. This style of blogging was made famous by John Gruber, and I’ve wanted to implement it on my site for ages — in fact I was working on the feature in Pelican when I made the switch to Ghost.

My reason for finally implementing link posts though was in the fall out of Facebook banning news temporality in Australia. I was already deeply suspicious of social media in general, but Facebook’s actions underscored why you can trust a platform you don’t own. So, now I can link and comment with abandon, and I’ll be using the features for share my brief commentary on articles and news that take my fancy, and to share the content of my friends and those who I respect in the writing and tech community.

If you missed my first one, here's what they'll look like on my post index.

Link-post as rendered in my blog's index

Anyway, that’s all from me. I hope you enjoy my new site.