Where I want to be

I've been a bit up and down with the blog recently. It's partly because of my low mood and the need to switch off, but also because Wordpress is driving me mad. I used Pico CMS for a while, which I really like, but had a problem with the design that I couldn't fix. I'm picky with such things, so I ended up back with Wordpress but writing there hasn't been fun.

Now I've changed to a new-old blog platform. Hopefully for good this time. I tried Ghost years ago and loved it, but the hosting options were very limited or expensive back then and it's too fiddly to install yourself (although I'm trying to learn command line and server stuff so that I can do it if I need to). Now the situation is different, there are a few different hosting alternatives and I'm very glad about that.

The third party comment systems are better now too. I've come across some good privacy-respecting commenting options and I'm delighted! No more Disqus! For now I use something called Fastcomments but will change later to another, better, option, I'm waiting for them to add a certain feature. Sadly I couldn't take my Wordpress comments with me, but that's ok. The most important thing is that I now love to write again.

I really dislike Wordpress. I don't mind the block editor - actually I think it's one of the best things that's happened to Wordpress in recent years. The second best thing is that they've finally enabled auto updates of plugins in the admin panel. Honestly, what took them so long?!

But I still dislike it. I want to be able to use the iPad because I often write sitting in my comfy chair in the sitting room but I don't want to use the Wordpress app. It simply isn't good, and having XML-RPC enabled brings security problems. But the Wordpress editor in the iPad browser (any of them) has lots of annoying bugs.

The Wordpress admin panel is also generally still very cluttered and the whole experience is just annoying. I hate having to fiddle with tons of plugins especially for basic things that should be built into the core. I receive tons of e-mails just because plugins are updated, and theme development is a disaster. I can go on and on! Wordpress is obviously very flexible and good in many ways, but to me it's become too annoying and I want something smaller, cleaner, with less maintenance.

Because Wordpress has so many features and is so customisable, nobody seems to see a reason to develop another CMS "because there is Wordpress". It's like Wordpress has CMS monopoly and no other CMS can exist. What's the problem with variety? Different types of CMS suits different people's needs and preferences. I don't like using Wordpress, and I don't have the skills to build my own CMS. This is perhaps the most annoying aspect.

It's been years that I've been annoyed by Wordpress but since there hasn't been any decent alternative, I've had to come back to Wordpress every time I've tried something else.

I hope I don't have to do that anymore. I LOVE using Ghost. The admin panel and editor is clean, uncluttered, nice. No fiddling with plugins. SEO is built in, as it should be. There are integration tools with good documentation. The editor is similar to the Wordpress block editor but better, and it's lovely and easy to use even on the phone. With some coding skills you can easily build things into your theme. You can obviously do that with Wordpress themes too, but everything around theme development is so much less confusing or complex with Ghost themes.

Ghost may be fiddly to deal with in many ways because it's built on node.js and quite different from PHP applications, but since I've used it before I knew quite much about it. With the hosting option I've found, even my limited IT and coding skills have been enough so far to set things up.

During the past week I've re-created my Wordpress theme for Ghost and I'm really happy with it although there are still details to fix up. The mobile menu is now built with Bootstrap and works much better. There have been some bummers along the way but everything has been fairly easy to find in documentation or forums. It's been a fun activity that has kept me happy enough while the Covid situation has gone from bad to horrible out there.

But again - the writing experience here is superb and that's the most important thing. I'll be back after the (super busy) weekend!

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