Web Designer
Front-End Developer
Performance Nerd

Björn Jansfelt

Hello, Jekyll

I’m launching this site today. It’s a static site built with Jekyll and the color scheme and choice of fonts has been havily inspired by orderedlist’s minimal theme. I’m not going to talk about building a site with Jekyll, because the newly launched official site does an excellent job at that, but I am going to talk about a few problems I had along the way and a few things you can do to improve your Jekyll workflow.

Use a Rakefile

It gets boring to type jekyll serve --watch and to create new files named 2013-05-24-hello-jekyll.md really fast. A few rake tasks can significantly speed things up. This is what mine looks like:

task :default => [:serve]

desc 'Build and watch the site'
task :build do
  system 'jekyll build --watch'
end

desc 'Serve and watch the site'
task :serve do
  system 'jekyll serve --watch'
end

desc 'Create a new post'
task :post do
  date = Time.new
  title = STDIN.gets.chomp

  content = <<-EOS.gsub(/^ +/, '')
    ---
    layout: post
    date: #{date.strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')}
    title: #{title}
    ---

  EOS

  datef = date.strftime('%Y-%m-%d')
  titlef = title.downcase.gsub(' ', '-')
  filename = "_posts/#{datef}-#{titlef}.md"

  File.write filename, content
end

Use rdiscount or redcarpet

The default markdown parser maruku works fine most of the time but I’ve run into a few problems like getting an REXML could not parse this XML/HTML error when I try to highlight Objective-C code. Switch to rdiscount or redcarpet and the error goes away. Just add markdown: redcarpet to your cofiguration file.

Add permalink: pretty to your configuration file if you want posts to be served from /2013/05/24/hello-jekyll/ instead of /2013/05/24/hello-jekyll.html. This also affects pages, so about.html will be available at /about/.

Using Pow

If you want to use the rack server pow, build your site into public instead of _site, because pow automatically serves everything in public as static assets.

An RSS Feed

You’ll probably want to have an RSS feed for your site, I’ve described how I built one in a seperate post.