Ghostify & Roon shutting down.

Looks like two services that I've been looking at are closing. Ghostify and Roon. Both are markdown based minimalist just blogging solutions. Ghostify was a third-party Ghost host, while Roon was totally independent and pretty nice (even has an accompanying iOS). Both will be gone by 2015. 

However, that's not really the end of the story for Roon, as it was acquired by the Ghost Foundation, makers of the open source Ghost blogging API and Ghost Pro, the premium (official) hosted service. Hopefully, the innovations of Roon will be included in the next release of Ghost, and the new team members will help speed up the version 1.0 release. 

While I've enjoyed playing with Ghost, it just isn't complete enough. So it looks like Posthaven will be my go-to personal (random) blog for now. 

I just wish that they'd release an iOS app, too. The Safari browser post edit interface just isn't that great, though it is functional. 

Using Posthaven

The more I use Posthaven, the more I like it. 

I really liked Silvrback when I first started testing alternative blogging services, but after awhile, I noticed some design choices (flaws?) that bother me. I like the Medium-style layout and structure, but for whatever reason, Safari doesn’t accept Silvrback posts as “articles” for the “Reader” view. Posthaven handles posts in a more straightforward way, but it works. 

I really like the “Insert Read More” option here at Posthaven. I like the flexibility and control of page breaks. As is, I think Ghost 0.4 is an all-or-nothing deal with excerpts. In themes, the length can be modified, but there’s really no control over individual posts. Posthaven’s page break reminds me of LiveJournal’s lj-cut and WordPress’ excerpts. It’s simple, straightforward, mobile-friendly. 

By contrast, on my Squarespace site Says Brad, I need to manually cut/copy + paste the excerpt into a separate field in post settings and options. It’s not clean. i wish they’d adopt a simpler system.

There are still things that really bother me about it, like the theme and the Posthaven logo above the site title. Certainly, for free I won’t complain about these things, but for $5/month (despite being a very good price compared to many other services) I’d like to move stuff around, change the colors, and have my own image (or nothing) at the top of the site. 

Overall, I like Posthaven more than Ghost. 

For now, anyway. When Ghost matures and new features are added, it might turn into something that does everything that I want. I really like the “Next Article” links at the bottom of Silvrback posts — I wish Posthaven and Ghost had that. 

The more I use Posthaven, the more I think that it’d be a perfect tool for personal blogging and even my political site. I’ve been considering using Ghost for my upcoming political blog (something that I hope to have more time for after moving) because it’s so straightforward and doesn’t have comments by default. Although I want to encourage discourse and participation, political sites get a lot of vile, hostile, racist, sexist, physically threatening and utterly nonsensical comments. I don’t think that I have the time or energy to filter through the muck. However, I’m now leaning toward Squarespace v6, Posthaven or something because Ghost just isn’t complete enough as is. 

Perhaps when I have more energy, I can play around with Ghost themes again. 

For now, I still have my main site Says Brad to rebuild and reviews to write for it.

Posthaven > Ghost

What’s better: Posthaven or Ghost?

For the money, between the two, I don’t think it’s much of a question. If you’re going with a hosted service, for $5/month you can either get Ghost 0.4 or Posthaven. Although there are distinct positives and negatives with each service, for most people, I think Posthaven is the superior choice. 

Reasons you’d want Ghost instead: 

  • You are an elite javascript hacker
  • You need to have a custom theme
  • You must have Markdown
  • You’re looking for a short-term website
  • You’re willing to pay for 0.4 while waiting for Ghost 1.0 

I really would like Markdown with Posthaven and would like to post from an external editor (other than email). Those features should be coming. Posthaven should soon have custom themes, so if you’re like me and you aren’t fond of the white/blue/black color palette (it reminds me of Delicious), you wouldn’t have to deal with it for long. 

It seems like the guys are really putting in a lot of effort to improve the service. 

Perhaps the best thing is permanent URLs. 

Link rot sucks. It seems like it’s inevitable on the web. People like to act like everything on the internet stays on the internet, but that’s not always the case. A lot is archived, but it often isn’t easy to find. Posthaven has promised to keep any site paid for at least one year online forever. If you stop paying, you won’t be able to add content — but it’ll be there. 

That’s really attractive, especially if you’d like your blog to outlive you. Obviously there’s a risk; Posthaven is run by two people, and if something happened to them, well... who knows what will happen to the content. I’ll try to get an answer on that. 

Mobile Blogging, iOS blogging — actually works. 

Part of the original Kickstarter pitch for Ghost is that it’s a beautiful, simple platform that would work on all devices. Many screenshots show the backend on an iPad and iPhone. In practice, the UI is terrible. It’s unreliable to slow. 

Posthaven actually works really well on iOS devices. I was pleasantly surprised to see the rich text features fully functional. I would still prefer Markdown, but it’s nice to use a service that works. The split-screen design of Ghost isn’t great in general. Text replacement, “Substitutions” on Mac, don’t work properly in the javascript enhanced, Mou-inspired Ghost post editor. 

Even if it did work, I still don’t like the side-by-side panels. It’s distracting; I don’t like the main text off to the side, I want it centered, nice and big. Medium actually does a pretty good job, but their autosave feature breaks focus because the ‘M’ logo keeps shifting back and forth. 

I’d really, really like to keep Posthaven. 

I’d like to point my eponymous domain here and blog away. Alas. 

Maybe someday. I really believe that Posthaven will just get better and better. 

When I first started using Posthaven, one of the features I wanted was multiple contributors. I’ve been planning a political/opinion site; the idea is to write about different issues from various perspectives of multiple people. Ghost can’t do this yet. 

Posthaven Test Post, Facebook update

Hopefully a facebook update gets posted when I publish this. 

I was testing out and can’t seem to get the “share posts with” feature to work with either Twitter or Facebook. I’m really hoping that this works. I also really hope that Posthaven gets markdown support and the ability to post with MarsEdit, Byword and/or Mou. 

Still, there’s a lot to like about Posthaven. 

If you want an inexpensive, straightforward, simple blog/basic website, it’s a pretty good option. At $5/month, if you maintain service for one year, your content will never disappear. That’s their promise

Permanent URLs are a powerful idea, and it's a feature of using Posthaven we think you should get even if you stop paying. We'll keep the site online, but you won't be able to edit content or add to it. If you want to renew, start paying again and your account will be restored.

When will something qualify for permanent storage? Let's keep it simple initially: If you pay for a year's worth of service, your content is safe and we'll keep it online. 

This is very attractive, especially for someone with a terminal illness or something similar. I talked to Brett from Posthaven, and he mentioned that they’re adding an annual payment option in the near-future. 

I’m not really sure where to put this last bit, but...

If you’re interested in trying Crunchyroll, I have some 48-hour guest passes. I’m not sure yet how I’ll distribute them yet. I think I’ll go into greater detail about this at my new scriptrogram site. You could also contact me on Twitter or Facebook.

iPhone Test Post

I'm glad that the Posthaven UI is usable on the iPhone. It looks pretty good! More usable than Ghost overall... I'm really excited about future markdown support. 

iPad Test!

Posting from my iPad. 

It looks like the rich text editor works on the iPad, which is a nice surprise. I wish I could use a third-party posting app like Blogsy, however. 

It looks like I can successfully add images, too. So far, I'm liking this more than Ghost hosted. Perhaps I'll review them both simultaneously at my main site ( Whatever the case, I just need to publish more in general. 

Posthaven, vs...

So I’m using Posthaven right now because I contacted them about trial accounts and migrating my information from TypePad, and they said that they didn’t have either. After a short discussion, they enabled this account for me to test. I won’t be able to bring my content from TypePad automagically, but I guess I could manually transfer the most important stuff. I don’t know that it’s worth it normally, but the fact that Posthaven has this “online forever” feature for accounts after a year of service... 

Overall, I’m fairly disappointed that the service doesn’t have markdown support, as it’s my favorite writing environment. The rich text editor is okay, but it feels limiting in some ways, mostly because it doesn’t allow a thought process as free flowing. I think that that’s the best way to describe it, even if paradoxical. Rich text has more options, but it doesn’t feel like more. If I want to add emphasis to a word or embolden it, I can’t simply type my way to it—I need to pause, adjust the cursor, tap/click and keep going. 

Brett (of Posthaven) mentioned that import is a feature that they intend to add along with markdown support, but that the list of things that they want to include is long and they aren’t sure when they’ll be able to get to it.