Blogging came from humble beginnings. It has, as technologies must do, evolved over the years. Web technologies, though, tend to follow a strict evolutionary pattern. First, a simple product arises from a simple concept. For many subsequent years, features are added, capabilities extended, and an ecosystem arises. The final phase is maturity, in which much of the complexity of the concept, once presented to the user in a confusing array of buttons, options, and UI elements, is absorbed into the backend of the technology, leaving, again, the simple premise to stand alone, but with far more capability built-in.
Blogging has gone through the first two of these three changes. It has not gone through the third, and consequently, has yet to mature (some would argue this point, but, for the sake of argument, let's assume that simplification is required for maturation).
Ghost wants to simplify blogging, and, by doing so, realize its potential.
Ghost is not yet a product. It's a Kickstarter campaign started by John O'Nolan, Former Deputy Head of The WordPress UI Group. If £25,000 ($38,795) is raised by May 18, Ghost will be built.
So what exactly does the future of blogging look like?
First, it's open-source, meaning anyone will have access to the underlying code on which Ghost is built. Open technologies tend to make for a robust ecosystem (that is, if it becomes popular, drawing talented developers who want to build on top of the project). It's also crucial in transparency.
Second, ease of use becomes the primary focus. When writing a post, for example, twos screens are presented side-by-side: one, a Markdown editor, and the other, the result of that Markdown. So, you can write in the easiest web writing language there is, and see the actual layout as you type. Easy.
Then, there's the dashboard, which presents all pertinent information like social media info, traffic, and news feeds on one beautiful, easy-to-read page.
Then there's the content, otherwise known as the reason we blog. Again, all of your stuff is on one page, allowing you to browse and preview all posts easily and seamlessly.
All the prerequisites are here: social, search, responsiveness. The team is also thinking of scalability. This is a product for bloggers, but with scalability in mind, the team wants to make sure that, if Ghost catches on, it can be used by the big players, too.
Theme and plug-in support will be there, so developers and designers can customize to their heart's content.
Of course, one looming question remains: why do we need another blogging platform? Isn't WordPress enough?
Yes and no. WordPress powers 22% of all new websites (as of November 2012), but it has grown to be so much more than a blogging platform, becoming a sort of operating system for the web. Ghost wants to take blogging back to its roots.
One of the more intriguing aspects of Ghost is the fact that it will be a not-for-profit organization. The team wants to focus on users, not shareholders. They seemingly have no desire to build something great and gather a loyal user base only to sell to the first company that waves a sufficiently-sized check in front of them. In an age in which so many companies are being gobbled up by the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon, et al, that means something, and will go a long way in earning trust among the web community.
There's more, of course, and you can read all about it on the Kickstarter page. If you're intrigued, head over and back the project to make it a reality. I already have.
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