Ghost: Open Source Publishing Platform with John O’Nolan

Blogging is more than 20 years old. Over that period of time, numerous publishing platforms have been created. Squarespace, Blogger, Medium, and Twitter are popular closed source platforms. WordPress has been the most popular open source blogging platform–and much of the Internet (including Software Engineering Daily) runs on WordPress.

WordPress is a powerful platform. News companies, ecommerce websites, and many other kinds of businesses use WordPress as their central publishing tool. But WordPress has been around for 15 years–and there are some potential conflicts of interest between WordPress the open source project and (a company started to host WordPress websites).

John O’Nolan was working as a WordPress developer when he decided to start a new publishing platform called Ghost. Five years later, the Ghost project is a success–with a thriving open source community, a profitable SaaS business, and companies like Digital Ocean and Mozilla using Ghost to host their blogs.

John and I discussed his background with WordPress, what he wanted to do differently with Ghost, and the software architecture of Ghost. We also touched on the Ghost SaaS business and the management of the open source project.


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