Hello, my name is Robert and I am a platform hopper.
I know, I know, not the sort of thing most people confess to in polite society, but this is a circle of safety and it is time I confess to you all.
In the not so distant past, I have run Windows, Mac OS, Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Kali, Mint, OpenSEUSE and currently Pop! OS). I have hand-held iOS, then Android, back to iOS, back to Android and now back to iOS again. I’ve been pro-Google, anti-Google, de-Googled, re-Googled and lately back to de-Googling again. My software has been FOSS, proprietary and back to FOSS (with a sprinkling of proprietary tools).
For websites, I have been lean and minimal, bloated and loaded with ads and trackers, then back to privacy respecting. I’ve prostrated myself to the book of face, fallen in love with Google +, tweeted and most recently tooted.
Perhaps the sole, and soul, area of constancy has been in messaging. Though my understanding of what is ‘really’ secure is an ever evolving feast (for example, Keybase was secure then Zoom bought it and now many are running for the exits shouting “fly! fly!”), I have long been aware and used platforms I ‘understood’ to be end-to-end encrypted. Change has only come when it became clear I had misread the product disclosure statement or that it turned out things were not as secure as the label on the tin led everyone to believe. Moral of this story: if it isn’t open to external audits I would take any claims of security with a mountain of salt.
Given this litany of u-turns on tech, it should not come as a surprise that I am also rethinking How I Publish.
This is not to say I am unhappy with Write.as. It is a marvellous platform and everything I originally thought. While this is a good thing, it is also a problem as I originally thought it would be – a platform I would outgrow if my blog needed to extend beyond the basics and embrace feature rich publishing.
This leaves me at a cross road. Having perused and discarded a number of options (Medium, Tumblr, Drupal, Joomla, Squarespace and Jekyll), I am now caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
WordPress is a platform with which I am very familiar. I have used it personally and professionally for nearly 16 years, and with familiarity comes comfort. However, I have grown increasingly wary of its bloat. Much of what I need requires a plug-in (not in itself a bad thing as a development team can only do so much and specialisation if a beautiful thing), but because nearly every plug-in seems to require a paid subscription. While I like something which is free as much as the next techno-junkie, I also appreciate developers can not live on praise alone. However, this is more labour of love than paid endeavour and I simply can’t afford $10 a month, here, $18 there, etc. etc. This has sent me toward the deep blue sea, namely Ghost.
I am currently in the trial phase and it is a steep learning curve. While I am heartened that the likes of Mozilla, Duck Duck Go and OpenAI all use Ghost, I am also aware they have teams of professional developers ready, willing and able to extend the basic functionality of the platform to suit their bespoke needs. I, on the other hand need a turnkey solution. In the sense that I turn a key and the engine starts. I don’t want to have to connect the spark plugs or replace the hoses before ignition.
I’ll keep you updated and either you will see me switching platforms and publishing via Ghost or you’ll know it proved a coding bridge too far.