I’ve looked at the Jekyll website several times over the past year, after seeing some of the awesome things others had built with it.Each time I left immediately after glancing at the install documents and thinking it was too complicated to be usable. Wow, was I wrong!
It turns out that once you get past the terrifying install instructions, Jekyll is simplicity itself. To my delight I quickly found that Jekyll was almost everything I’ve ever wanted from a thing-that-makes-websites. Two hours in and I was a complete convert.
Using Jekyll you can create the basic layout of your site using just a handful of html and css, throwing in any logic that’s needed using Shopify’s wonderful Liquid syntax. Liquid too came as a revelation to me, it’s both incredibly powerful and gloriously simple. I had it doing exactly what I wanted in about 10 minutes.
So, clean html and css, mixed with lean and elegant Liquid. Wonderful. But, it gets better my friends.
Jekyll eats Markdown
Possibly the best bit about Jekyll is that it allows you to author your posts/pages in Markdown. I love html, but I wouldn’t want to write a lengthy post with html markup, it’s just too many brackets and slashes and too easy to miss something out.
To write a post in Jekyll you simply create a new file with the post date and title in the url, this one for example is 2013-02-20-falling-in-love-with-jekyll.md.
That’s all folks
Jekyll watches the files in your site and, upon seeing any change, runs through your files and outputs them as a complete static html site. Then Jekyll slinks back into the shadows to watch for further changes.
With your entire site as static html, you no longer require a database, caching mechanisms or PHP(or similar). All of these things were there to ‘create some static html from a set of content’. Jekyll just did that in one hit.
I love Jekyll. I implore you, brave the install instructions and give it a try, I think you will love it to.