Website, CMS, and Sinking (Ghost) Ships

Apr. 9, 2022

As someone who has no need for all the extra function Ghost provides – be it Newsletters, Members, or whatever else –  the continued increase of bloat has really started to irk me. Not to mention the numerous other changes of varying significance I do not agree with.

As the team behind Ghost has made their prioritization of their own paid hosting service ever more clear, further neglecting those who self-hosts their software, I can’t quite justify the time I put into maintaining the site as-is. Though, I guess none of which should perhaps come as a surprise, given their slogan: “Turn your audience into a business.” (Ghost.org, 2022)

In the long list of annoying changes, the latest might just be what actually breaks the straw: the removal of SQLite support (in production).

SQLite3 is no longer supported in production
(Wolfe, 2022)

While I can, of course, not speak for everyone else, I see no point in running something like MariaDB, a full blown SQL database server, just for the sake of powering my tiny little dumb blog. It’s just a waste of resources, compared to the perfectly fine alternative which has worked perfectly fine since the very first time I sat up this site: SQLite.

Sure, it’s “just in production,” for now, but it’s a clear indication where they want to take the (ghost) ship. The repeated claims that SQLite is so much less efficient – a claim which I very much doubt to begin with – it will not have much impact for someone of my size.

Update

Upon getting reports of broken installs with MariaDB, the developers’ response is:

Ghost v5 will only support MySQL 8 in production, so I’d strongly suggest switching to MySQL 8 to ensure you’re running on the recommended setup.

Completely dismissing all those which won’t let anything Sun as touched anywhere near their servers, myself most certainly included. Further stating, upon having several others more voicing their complaints:

In the meantime, a friendly forum user has shared how he updated from MariaDB to MySQL8 on Ubuntu here:

Linking to a user post on their forum which describes how to migrate to Sun’s SQL server. Well, that’s presumably not really an option for most, seeing as they would likely already be running that particular inferior product.

This unwillingness to support possibly the most commonly used SQL server there’s out there, which are actually clean open source, should demonstrate just how little focus there is on anything self-hosted – a complete no-go for any self-respecting person maintaining their own server.


Not to sound like a broken record and someone who never commits, I’m seriously considering moving away from Ghost.

That said, I’m not sure what else I should use. While I certainly could move to something like a Markdown file powered solution, I do appreciate having a nice UI in which I can type and preview my posts. And while wiring up a Git-style post publishing system wouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world, I’d rather not if I didn’t have to go that route. As for using WordPress: I hate that piece of trash with a passion. No way in hell I’m letting that bloated abomination anywhere near my server.

So, if anyone’s got a recommendation for something similar to Ghost – that is, with a UI for writing new posts – I’m all ears. Active development (last twelve months or so) is a must, and absolutely no MongoDB, PostgreSQL, or anything like that. Flat files, or SQLite is preferred, but MariaDB might be acceptable so long as the rest of the software is good enough to justify it.

Finally, I’ve begun porting the theme I’m currently using to another platform. The initial functionality is there, all that’s left is the overall polish and bugfixing – which, as every developer knows, will take a significant amount of time. For now, it’s simply as an experiment, but hopefully I’ll be able to completely move away sooner rather than later.

Update: Re-published the post, this time with less malding, and much more incoherent ramblings. As in, I’ve not even read this reorganized mess, so it’ll probably be full of mistakes (more so than usual).


References

Ghost.org. (2022). Ghost - The Professional Publishing Platform. [online] Available at: https://ghost.org/ [Accessed 9 Apr. 2022].

Wolfe, H. (2022). Ghost 5.0: Breaking Changes · Issue #14446 · TryGhost/Ghost. [online] GitHub. Available at: https://github.com/TryGhost/Ghost/issues/14446 [Accessed 8 Apr. 2022].