My Blog, Simplified: Ghost, Gust, & Headwind

Gust - Ghost-style markdown writing for WordPress
If you haven’t heard of Ghost, it’s an excellent new blogging platform designed to get back to the roots of blogging: just writing. It’s simple, straightforward, and uses Markdown to allow you to add formatting as you type, without having to stop and click buttons to do the formatting. I’m actually using Markdown for the 1st time, right now as I type this.

Additionally Ghost shows you a live preview of what you’re writing, in a pane to the right of the Markdown area. For straightforward writing/blogging, it’s the best solution I’ve ever seen or heard of.

The downside is that unless you want to pay their pricing for a hosted blog, node.js (which Ghost runs on) is not something most of us can just setup in a few minutes. Plus, I’m heavily invested in WordPress: building, managing, and maintaining many sites on WordPress.

I’d thought about playing with Ghost, having my hosting provider setup node.js for me. Fortunately before we got that far, I happened upon Gust, an excellent plugin that brings the Ghost experience to WordPress.

This blog used to use the P2 theme because it’s front-end post box made it easier to write. It took me away from all the distracting aspects of the WP Admin. However, it was still a pain having to write HTML all the time, to get the formatting I wanted. Gust copies the Ghost experience almost exactly. It provides a 2-pane, markdown-based writing experience, but on top of WordPress. Appearantly Ghost was originally going to be a fork of WordPress, stripping it down and simplifying it back to it’s blogging roots.

This is my first post written using Gust and Markdown, and I must say, it’s a dream! I can just write, using very simple codes to insert links, formatting, etc.

I decided that the front-end of my blog needed to look more modern and simple. After a little searching I came across the incredibly simple, but well designed, Highwind theme by James Koster. It seems the perfect fit to compliment Gust: simple, modern, and clean.

The end result: A simpler, cleaner tevyawashburn.com. I may be installing Gust on all my blogs since I love the writing experience (yes, I’m in-love in just one post). It’s an excellent way to remove the mental barrier that comes with blogging taking a long time. It simplifies and speeds up the writing process. I feel like I have an entirely new blog, both front-end and back-end, but still with all the customizeability and power of WordPress.

Basecamp look-alike on WordPress

This website uses the P2 theme by Automattic. I use it because its so quick and easy to post with (though I wish it were easier to add a link to text). A company altered the P2 theme to make it look like Basecamp, the online project management and collaboration software by 37 Signals. Its unfortunately not up to date right now, as P2 has come a couple versions since they did it, but hopefully they’ll update their variation soon. Get it here: http://templatic.com/news/gtd-%E2%80%93-private-blog-theme-for-teams-to-collaborate

Also, if you wanted to take it a step further, here’s a plugin that allows you to manage projects, assign tasks, and more: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-project/. Unfortunately it hasn’t been updated in a while, so I’m not sure if it works with the most recent versions of WP.