Ghost’s Koenig editor

The new content editor in the Ghost CMS, named Koenig, is so good that earlier today, I wanted to use it even though I had nothing to write about (so I’m writing this). Its latest iteration in v1.25.3 has a full-screen minimal layout and bold serif text type brought together with the Markdown goodness to yield a seamless combination of new and old: software that stays quiet and out of the way and Ghost’s original promise that writers won’t have to take their hands off the keyboard (mostly).

I’ve been using WordPress for over 10 years and was recently looking forward to the release of Gutenberg, Automattic’s new writing experience to be introduced in v5.0. A plugin they’d released a short while ago allowed WP.org users to install and preview Gutenberg, and I’d tried it out as well and was quite pleased with it. However, along came Koenig to make Gutenberg look and feel just clumsy. In fact, after Koenig, Gutenberg is only going to be a letdown, which means I have five options going forward: stay on WP.com and use Gutenberg, self-host WP.org and install the Classic editor, switch to Ghost, install Ghost on a VPS just to use Koenig, or use an altogether different text editor and use WP.com to publish. I’ve decided to go with the last option for now.

Of course, Ghost isn’t without its flaws either. For one, there’s no affordable self-hosted version available. A recent pricing revision brought the lowest tier of Ghost.org up from $29/mo to $99/mo ($19/mo to $79/mo for annual subscriptions) – which means the service is no longer targeted at individual publishers like bloggers and budding writers. Second, the self-hosted version requires some coding; while Ghost’s instructions make it simple, the tougher part is in securing the server you’re going to host your blog on. (Digital Ocean’s tutorials help.) Third, while the Ghost CMS has improved leaps and bounds in the last three years, their front-end is still very magazine-y.

Then again, if you’re going to start coding, CSS is the easiest to pick up and also probably the most enjoyable to use as you trial-and-error your way through redesigning your blog. And the effort will be worth it. Because it is newer, Ghost stands on WordPress’s shoulders, learning from the latter’s mistakes to emerge as a much better product, especially if what you mostly want to do is write. WordPress uses PHP – which is powerful but hard to learn; Ghost is more modular and uses JavaScript. Together with the proliferation of VPS providers like Digital Ocean and Linode, Ghost gives you the tools to reshape your blogging experience and doesn’t leave you hating your life for it.

Koenig, finally, is the very succulent cherry on top that makes Ghost so attractive for writers in particular.