How to Try Alpha Features in Ghost

Want to take a look at upcoming features in Ghost? You could toggle the enableDeveloperExperiments switch to enable alpha features. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

3 min read
How to Try Alpha Features in Ghost
Photo by jae park on Pexels.
โš ๏ธ
As Kevin from the Ghost team replied to my post, you should only try this on local/development instances, as data may be lost or upgrades interrupted.

It's not documented on the official Ghost website for this reason! ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you use Ghost, you may have already noticed that there is a "Labs" section available in the administration. This section contains some features that are still being finished by the Ghost team.

Screenshot of the "Labs" section in Ghost administration.

But did you know that there is a hidden section on this same page that shows other features being built right now? ๐Ÿ‘ป

Screenshot of the "Alpha Features" section in Ghost v4.41.3.

Differences between beta and alpha features

Beta features are ready for use by testers. Eventually, probably in the next major version, these features will become more stable and documented. They will be ready for use by the general public.

On the other hand, alpha features can be really unstable or just proof of concepts. Their audience is mostly compromised by internal Ghost teams and some crazy developers like me who like to try new features before anyone else. ๐Ÿคฃ

As you might have already guessed, the alpha phase is followed by the beta phase. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

How to activate alpha features

Even looking at the official documentation, you shouldn't be able to find how. Or at least, I haven't found it yet. ๐Ÿ™„

But I found a mysterious switch, named enableDeveloperExperiments, by looking at TryGhost/Admin repository, which is the admin client that comes with Ghost. ๐Ÿ”Ž

This boolean switch can be enabled with an environment variable or directly in the settings.json file.

version: "3.8"

      enableDeveloperExperiments: 'true'
    image: ghost:4.41.3-alpine
Extract from the docker-compose.yaml file that I use to run my Ghost instance, with the environment variable set.
  "enableDeveloperExperiments": true
Extract from the settings.json file, with the switch enabled.

If you restart your Ghost instance, you should now be able to access the hidden section. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now let's take a look at some features that may land in some future Ghost releases. ๐Ÿค—

Next features

Multiple newsletters

Screenshot of the newsletter section, where a creator could somehow define somehow multiple newsletters.

If you write on a variety of topics, you may have dismissed the idea of using the native newsletter functionality in Ghost, as all posts will be sent to the same audience. Personally, as I write in French and in English, my potential members could receive articles in a language they wouldn't understand... ๐Ÿคจ

With this new feature, a creator could have two newsletter lists, one for each language. Or, someone might want to have one newsletter for a collection of tags, and another for a specific tag.

Unfortunately, since this is just a mockup, I couldn't try this new feature, but it's something I'm really interested in!

Cardmageddon - Before/After

The displayed card when the creator clicks on the before/after card in Ghost.

I recently came across a case on my post on SVGOMG (in French!) that I wish I could allow the user to compare before/after images.

No more trying to cross your eyes trying the notice the differences between two images, you can just drag a vertical divider over the images to help! ๐Ÿ™‚


Are you looking forward to these new features? ๐Ÿคฉ

If you enable alpha features, remember that they might not be implemented any time soon, so don't base your blog on them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have fun! ๐Ÿฅณ