Ghost has updated its open-source blogging platform with a bevy of technical improvements that should help it to compete with established competitors such as WordPress, Tumblr and Medium.

Version 0.5 adds multi-user support, so blog owners can have multiple Ghost accounts writing and contributing simultaneously. Author, Editor and Administrator tiers can also be allocated for granular control.

05 3 1 730x448 Ghost gives its blogging platform a huge upgrade before moving to a 2 4 week release cycle

In addition, Ghost now claims to be the “first and only open-source publishing platform” to offer a public JSON API. If those two acronyms mean nothing to you, here’s the lowdown: Similar to other mainstream technology platforms, third-party developers can now build desktop, mobile and Web apps on top of any Ghost-powered blog. Ghost says it’ll be publishing documentation for developers soon, before opening up authentication for the API via OAuth.

“Because Ghost is a self-consuming JSON API, every single feature which is in Ghost is available to third-party developers,” Ghost co-founder Hannah Wolfe said in a blog post. “Not just a subset; Everything.”

05 2 1 730x448 Ghost gives its blogging platform a huge upgrade before moving to a 2 4 week release cycle

Delving deeper into the technical upgrades, Ghost has also converted the Ghost Web app to Ember.js. The behind-the-scenes shift means Ghost is now a client-side JavaScript application, which should give the company the ability to build a more powerful and intuitive user interface for its community.

To mark the release, Ghost has given its default Casper theme a hearty revamp with full-bleed homepage cover images, better typography, improved navigation and restructured navigation for readers. Alongside “hundreds of bug fixes,” Ghost has also rolled out OAuth support for secure authentication, a new install screen for when users set up a new Ghost blog, as well as support for Privacy.md – an open-source initiative that offers a plain text file with a description of every feature that could affect user privacy.

05 1 2 730x448 Ghost gives its blogging platform a huge upgrade before moving to a 2 4 week release cycle

Ghost, which made its mark by raising roughly $330,000 on Kickstarter in May 2013, wants to set itself apart from the competition. To do so, the company has shifted to a 2-4 week release schedule. For comparison, most open-source projects ship two to three releases a year; but for developers and bloggers, Ghost says this approach just wasn’t going to work.

“This model [was] good for precisely nobody,” Wolfe added. “Developers have to wait 3-6 months to see how users respond to their work, and then iterate on it another 3-6 months after that. For users who have to upgrade, the release cycle [was] always either too long or too short. Both are understandably frustrating.”

The latest versions will be rolled out automatically to users of its premium Ghost(Pro) service, which also offers a hosting service. Anyone hosting their own Ghost-powered blog can update at any time, although the company will send out notices roughly four times a year to remind users.

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