The big news of the day is that the amazing Ghost platform has just received a long-awaited maintenance update to v0.4.2
Billed as a maintenance release, this isn’t just fixing a few bugs but also introducing some major new pieces of functionality. A full list of changes can be found over at ghost.org with all the details available commit-by-commit over at Github.
When I first migrated this blog to Ghost, one of the features I was missing from WordPress was the ability to create “tag” or category pages. Under WordPress, these served as category homepages/landing pages – offering up easy access to all posts contained in a particular category.
Prior to v0.4.2, Ghost didn’t include support for this meaning that all your posts were effectively getting displayed on the site’s homepage, with a variety of clunky workarounds being implemented by themes to filter long lists of content in-browser. These worked reasonably well, but performance invariably suffered – especially as post counts increased.
Categorising content is vital for many good reasons though, and as Ghost doesn’t have support for WordPress-style category structures, the only option is to use post tags to build a logical structure for your content.
With v0.4.2, Ghost now supports tag pages – meaning that you can simply browse to /tag/your-tag-name to get a list of posts with a particlar tag. Visiting /tag/technology/ for instance on here will show you all posts tagged with “technology“; rather than needing to load in posts from every tag before filtering them in-browser.
There’s also now the ability to create templates specifically for tag pages, and as such possible (should you feel the need) to use a little basic logic in the Handlebars templates to use a different layout for each sort of tag… if that sort of thing floats your boat.
Tag pages aside, 0.4.2 also bring a raft of fixes to the editor – to the point that you can now create and edit posts on touch devices. This solves one of the largest annoyances from my point of view and eliminates the need to use a 3rd party application such as CasperHQ, which I had a brief look at a week or two ago.
It’s still not possible to upload images from mobile devices yet, but that’s apparently coming soon. For now, it is of course possible to easily upload an image to a service such as Flickr or Smugmug and use it via embedded within a post. Images don’t need to sit on the same server as the blog so while annoying, it’s not really a problem.
Updating Ghost on DigitalOcean
Updating Ghost was something I was was interested to check out when the opportunity arose. Coming to Ghost from WordPress left me in two minds around updates. WP makes it very, very easy to update – but you always end up taking a bit of a leap of faith when clicking the update button for a major version. Usually, they update fine – but you do kind of wonder how much damage it might do to your sometimes delicate WP installation should something not go to plan.
As Ghost is a much simpler platform at the moment, it’s vastly easier to safely back everything up before updating anything by simply copying your blog’s folder.
Assuming use of the default SQLite database, it’s just a file on disk – no need to run specific blog backups or database dumps… just copy the file/folder. With a little ingenuity, you can also throw the lot into some sort of source control – giving the ability to roll back by simply reverting a commit.
There’s a great overview of the whole install/update process on Ghost.org, or alternatively the team at AllAboutGhost.com have written a series of detailed update guides for various popular hosting services which are well worth a read. I opted to follow their guide for DigitalOcean as it seemed to be a good starting point – and had 0.4.2 up and running in a couple of minutes.
The theme I’m currently using needed a couple of minor tweaks to improve compatibility with 0.4.2 as a few things have changed with how Ghost handles tags, but as you can clone a blog by just copying the files to another folder it’s pretty simple to test out your complete end-to-end upgrade before it goes anywhere near your live blog.
All in all, Ghost just keeps on getting better!