Thoughts #3: Static Site with Jekyll

I have been using WordPress for my content management for several years. I am impress with its friendly developer community and find myself at ease using for all my content management. I am passionate WordPress learner and learning to develop better WordPress powered-site every single day. Despite some issues like security, little heavy for a simple blog (database) and speed its back-end dashboard makes content management even for novice users easy.

Static Site Generators

Static site generators are gaining popularity in recent years because they are light-weight, more secured, faster speed. Jekyll, a simple blog-aware static site generator developed in Ruby for personal project was one of the most popular among the static-site generators in 2017. Jekyll was written by Tom Preston-Werner, GitHub’s co-founder, it is distributed under an open source license.

Jekyll is a well-architected throwback to a time before WordPress, when men were men, and HTML was static. I like the ideas it espouses, and have made a few improvements to it’s core. Here, I’ll point out some highlights of my fork in the hopes that they see usage beyond this site. Mike West
My Jekyll Fork

Inspired by Jen Simmons’ push for rebooting personal websites for the new year 2018, I have set a goal of learning to create a JS-based site as one of my spare-time projects. Chen Hui Jing, is one of the developers that I follow for my learning tips and her site is powered by Jekyll and she has written about how she started with Jekyll. This together with Viola Wang redesigned violasong.com with very simple & clean Jekyll-based blog site had inspired me to learn about Jekyll-based site. This week, I took Learning Jekyll from my to-do list project and installed and created basic Jekyll-based site on my MacOS.

Learning to Create Local Jekyll-based Site

While creating jekyll site, I spend some time on Jekyll official documentation but initially found little heavy to understand. To install Jekyll on my MacOS machine, I followed Tania’s Rascia’s tutorial. Installation itself was straight forward and I was able install it my first try. I ended up spending sometime understanding about installation of packaging manager like bundler, Gemfile, Git repository, because Jekyll installation can be done without them too. My Ahah! moment in understanding bundler and jekyll serve came from the explanation by Nicolas Cerminara’s explanation.

Structure of Files & Folders

Basic structure of Jekyll files & folders is not that complicated. In addition, Ines Montani’s post The Ultimate Guide to Static Websites with Jekyll was most helpful in my Jekyll understanding. It also contains useful resources as well.

Configuration & Customization

Site configuration is can be done by editing _config.yml in a text editor (eg. atom) to change default site title, description, basedurl & url etc. Jekyll default minima theme comes with basic styles. The site can be customized by adding pages, styles and Templating. Jekyll uses Liquid Templating Language by Shopify which is said be easy to learn, secure, and extremely extensible.

Hosting Jekyll

Since Jekyll was created by Tom Preston-Werner, co-founder of GitHub, GitHub Pages are a great way to host Jekyll-powered website for free. The other popular hosting service for static sites include Netlify, Aerobatic, Kickster, Amazon S3 and others.

Resources

Jekyll official documentation and WikiJekyll has wealth of information about Jekyll, its installation, customization, themes. In addition, there numerous blogs and tutorials on all aspects of jeckyll-based sites.

Wrapping Up

Still I am a passionate WordPress enthusiast. I am familiar its working and have been using for some time. However Jekyll generated static is new concept and I liked my initial exploratory journey. I would like to expand my skill on jekyll-based site by creating a complete site similar my this current site. Some interesting design style from jekyll-based theme include Type, Thinny, Pixell and Tale.