Maryn Weed

05 Oct 2019

Getting Started with Jekyll

Welcome to my new and improved professional site!

I’ve seen Jekyll used time and time again on various developer blogs. It seems to be the web developers’ choice of blog hosting. A couple days ago, I stumbled upon Ben Brostoff’s blog and fell in love with the “Scribble” theme he was using. I figured I’d start my site over and explore the popular framework.

~ $ gem install bundler jekyll
~ $ jekyll new revertdata
~ $ cd revertdata

Easy enough.

~ $ bundle exec jekyll serve -w
# => -bash: jekyll: command not found

Uh oh.

Apparently, Homebrew and Ruby don’t play very well together sometimes. A couple StackOverflow pages later, I found that I just needed to redirect the path in my .bash_profile, which usually seems to be the case.

export PATH=/usr/local/opt/ruby/bin:$PATH
export PATH=/usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/2.6.5/bin:$PATH
export PATH=/Users/Maryn/.gem/ruby/2.6.0/bin:$PATH

Ok, it’s working now!

First Impressions

I really love Markdown, formatting, and documentation. I was extremely happy to find out that both pages and posts are written in Markdown and parsed into HTML later. It was also interesting to notice that there seems to be a watcher that cleans up and “compiles” all of your code into a neat little folder called _site.

This is particularly useful for development and testing. It quickly regenerates your site on every page save, so you can see your changes after a page refresh.

After installation, it was really simple to understand the configuration and how to get started. Since I’m currently a WordPress developer, I was confused about how to install Scribble as a new theme. Quickly, I learned that’s not how that works.

Themes in Jekyll

Although the Scribble repo has not been maintained for a couple of years, there’s something very timeless about the design. It’s very simple, clean, and easy to navigate. I’ve literally been using it for about 24 hours or less, but I’m in love with it.

One concern I have about Jekyll off the top of my head is theme changeability. For example, WordPress content is stored in a database, so when you change your theme, you’re just reskinning it with the same content underneath. It’s a similar system for Tumblr, Blogspot, Squarespace, or Wix.

However, Jekyll does not have a traditional database. As aforementioned, everything is compiled and rewritten into a static site. So, to change the styles of your site in Jekyll, you would have to replace your assets manually. I can foresee this to be a pain, since all of the files are kind of woven together in structure. The work around for this seems to be to remember which files are theme-specific, and delete/replace them manually.

If you are migrating from another blogging platform, Jekyll offers some importing instructions! Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted my old developer blog. Now I’m restarting from scratch.

Make It Maryn

There were a couple of key differences I noticed when I locally booted up my new site and compared it to Ben’s. First, his textarea is a little thinner. He has tags on his posts. There’s a quote in the footer. His logo replaces the top scribble. His navigation menu reappears at the end of each post.

A lightbulb flickered in my little peabrain. I can customize my site as well.

maryn at 10:22