A note from Rach Smith's digital garden.

The Tech setup for this blog - Ghost + Gatsby

Added: February 21, 2021

Updated: November 22, 2021

Tags: development

Update: The stack for this blog has changed a little. It no longer uses Ghost to store the content. The content is now stored within the Gatsby src. Read more here.

The Stack

The best way to procrastinate on writing for your new blog is to deliberate over choosing the tech stack for your new blog. Especially if you are a capable cross-stack Web Developer, as the options to choose from may as well be infinite.

I’ve been wanting to give the Jamstack a try for years now, so was hoping to find a Jamstack solution. The number one requirement was that it wouldn’t take long for me to get up and running. After doing some research I found this blog post that gave a step-by-step process of how to set up a blog using Ghost and Gatsby. Within an hour I had a blog up and running.

The setup is:

  • A Ghost (Node) backend running on a Heroku Dyno.
  • A Gatsby Front-End hosted on Netlify that uses Ghost’s GraphQL API to provide the blog data.

Once I completed the initial setup, I just needed to modify the React and CSS provided by this starter theme to make it my own. All the code for the front end is in this repo.

One of the pleasant things about this setup is that you can run it all for free. You need to pay if you want an always-on Dyno running Ghost, but I like that having a basic portfolio/blog is accessible to unemployed or Junior Developers who are short on cash.

Drafting and editing

As I am pretty time poor at the moment, I tap a lot of my initial drafts out on my phone while the baby feeds in 10+ minute increments. Then when I have a bit of time to sit down on the MacBook, I edit and copy the final version over to Ghost.

My original workflow was:

  • using Ulysses for writing
  • editing for spelling and grammar in Grammarly
  • converting to markdown and publishing on Ghost It felt clunky, as I would prefer to write in markdown from the start.

I have recently started a new workflow:

  • I write in iaWriter (amazing)
  • proof in ProWritingAid (very promising, can handle markdown)
  • publishing on Ghost


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