The weather here in the alps has been unseasonably warm and stable this last month and a half and while it’s certainly nice to have a lot of sunshine, it’s been horribly depressing to watch the effects of all that sunshine on the snowpack. This diminishing snowpack hasn’t kept us from getting an absurd amount of time on the skis this year (or kept me from getting lots of great shots out on the snow) but it has given me a bit more time inside recently. Time that I used to completely migrate my personal site away from WordPress and onto Jekyll.
I’ve been wanting to move away from WordPress for a while now but the show stopper has always been the lack of a suitable alternative. I wanted a very simple system that would allow me to quickly edit photo albums and blog posts but would also allow me to use a theme or template system to ease changes in design (since, like some sort of crazy fool, I’m changing the look and feel of my site every few months). Until recently I hadn’t been able to find that system.
Enter the Jekyll
“Jekyll is a simple, blog aware, static site generator.” I’ve been waiting to hear those words for a long time and when I was tipped off by Micah (@micahbrich) from A good company to Jekyll, I was greeted by that exact phrase. Tom Preston-Warner (of Github fame) wrote Jekyll to run his own blog and it’s be taken in many directions by many different people. What really makes it Dr. Jekyll to WordPress' Mr. Hyde is that you edit your posts in Markdown (or Textile) and then they are combined with your template files on generation and converted to plain HTML. So beautiful. So simple. So elegant.
Pure Git Workflow
Another great reason to use Jekyll is that it allows for a pure git workflow. I can now write posts in TextMate, commit all my code (including all my posts - ie. completely backup everything) to it’s repo on Github and then run a simple rake command from the terminal to deploy the site to it’s home on my web server.
Jekyll is open source and very cleanly written in Ruby so it’s easy to hack a new feature into the actual generator code if you’d like. Just clone the repo and get chopping.
Obviously a Jekyll setup isn’t for your mother but if you know some basic HTML and are comfortable running commands in the terminal, I’d suggest checking it out.
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