Sam Starling
18 July 2011

Running a Blog on Jekyll

Don’t get me wrong, I love WordPress It’s incredibly flexible, there are a huge number of plugins and themes available, and it has an extremely active community surrounding it.

However, for my blog (which is just a bunch of posts and not a huge amount else) I feel like it’s overkill. I don’t really need a database, or plugins, or comments, or any of that cruft. I just need a very simple set of pages.

Enter Jekyll – a Ruby-based static site generator that takes a directory of layouts, a directory of posts, and applies a bit of cleverness to combine the two and spit out a directory of flat HTML files. Posts are written in Markdown, with a single file per post.

The advantages? No databases to worry about, and no pre-processing. Just static files being spit out to users by “nginx”:http://nginx.org/. No hanging around for the database to be queried and for PHP to process that into a page. The whole thing lives in a GitHub repository, if you want to see how it all hangs together. I’ve yet to set it up so that the site gets re-deployed when I commit, but that’s next.

Plus, there’s a nice non-technical bonus to the whole thing: you write all your posts in a text editor. I like that, it takes away all the fancy widgets and buttons that you get in WYSIWYG editors and lets you focus on what you’re actually writing.

If that sounds interesting but you’re not quite sure where to start then let me know, I’d be glad to help.