🏗️ Build with Ghost: First steps for creating a custom theme

Issue #5 is alive :robot: Here are the beep boops for this issue:

  • Our new tutorials on installing Node and Ghost locally set you up perfectly to start building a custom theme
  • Up your design game by checking out the graphic design trends for 2023
  • Find out some of the awesome tools for building cool stuff with Data Scientist and YouTuber, Liz Rowe, in our featured site of the month


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Build a strong foundation with these two new tutorials

Columns in a riso style, symbolizing how Node supports modern web development

It’s Node all the way down

Developed in 2009, Node.js is a runtime that allows JavaScript to run independently of the browser. Ghost runs on Node and almost all modern web development uses Node in some way.

That’s why, whether you’re planning to create a custom Ghost theme or a killer app, Node is essential.*

In our new tutorial, we show you how to install Node on macOS, Windows, and Linux. Once installed, it’s a cinch to run Ghost locally or use any of the other 3 million+ packages available.

*Web development is notoriously fluid, and, recently, other runtimes like Deno and Bun have challenged Node’s default status. While these other runtimes are important to be aware of and offer significant improvements, Node isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Install Ghost locally

After installing Node, you’ll likely want to do something with it. It’d be like getting new trainers and not going for a run. We’ve got you covered with our new tutorial on installing Ghost locally.

A local installation of Ghost is ideal for theme development because it offers you instant feedback. Local installation is also a great way to take Ghost for a test run before going live :running_man:

Just shipped :ship:

We’ve been busy.

Ideas and tools :hammer_and_wrench:

It’s just Liz

If you’re looking for a partner on your coding journey, we can’t think of anyone more perfect than Liz Rowe, a mechanical engineer and YouTuber on Ghost (of course!). When she’s — impressively — not working as a Data Science Manager at Intel, Liz offers guidance on using low-code software to get things done. And, coincidentally, she will soon be releasing her own video on using Node for beginners.

Liz Rowe explains Node: a video thumbnail

In Liz’s content, the focus on maximizing productivity carries through in her theme choice: the awesome Abi Abdaal theme by Super Themes Co. Reflecting on this choice, Liz has this advice for newcomers to Ghost:

The best advice I could give is to not get hung up on the perfect website, the perfect theme or the perfect brand colors. Make a “good enough” website on Ghost and start showcasing your work right away.

We couldn’t agree more. Too often, creators get distracted by their theme, when they should be focusing on creating content. The most beautiful site in the world isn’t going to be very impressive if there are only two posts that are three years old.

That being said, Liz is still contemplating building her own custom theme in the future, and thinks it would be a “super fun project.” We agree here, too, and can’t help but point out a loophole: if you’re a creator making content about building Ghost themes, then you can have your cake and eat it, too :wink:

Many sites featured in the Build with Ghost newsletter are discovered through our creator network, Ghost Explore. It’s a way for creators and readers alike to discover their favorite new publications. Anyone running a Ghost site can add themselves to Explore to be featured throughout the wider Ghost ecosystem. If you’d like to be featured in this newsletter, add your site to Explore and reply to this email.

Thanks for building with us.

Have an idea for a Ghost tutorial? Reply to this email and let us know :heart:

Looking for other creators and developers working with Ghost? Join the official Ghost Forum, where we talk about all things Ghost!

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