Blogging with Jekyll & Github Pages

20 August 2012

When I went looking for a blogging platform I settled on Jekyll and Github Pages for a few reasons.

  • It’s just text. This means it’s super fast because the server only has to serve static HTML.
  • Another excuse to use git and Github. I’ve been using more and more git lately and this was another way to hone my skills.
  • It’s free! Github hosts Github Pages for free. Anybody can throw content up there or start blogging.
  • It’s portable. If I need/want to move the content somewhere else, it’s stored as plain text that I can move to another blogging platform. You can even host the content on your own server if you wish.
The Basics

Jekyll

From their README on Github,

Jekyll is a simple, blog aware, static site generator Essentially, you define a few styles and your blog posts. Then you run Jekyll on those files and it outputs static html to a _sites folder. You can then use any webserver to host those files

Github Pages

Github offers free hosting for any static content you create. To sign up for one, log in to Github and create a new repository called yourusername.github.com. Then push your content to the new repository and it will be available at http://yourname.github.com.

Getting started

The quickest way I found to get up and running was to use jekyll-boostrap.

  1. Follow the steps outlined here to get up and running with jekyll. This creates a basic blog with a few dummy posts using the default twitter bootstrap theme.
  2. Update _config.yml with your information.
  3. Push the code back to github.

    git push origin master

Customizing the theme

If you’re like me, you find the default theme a little boring. To update the theme edit the following files

  • _includes/themes/twitter/default.html - This is the master theme file. Most of the markup and styling will go here, including the header and footer.
  • assets/themes/twitter/css/style.css - This is where all of your custom styles should go.
  • index.html - This is where your homepage markup is located. I customized this page to show the first 5 blog posts instead of a list of all my posts using the code below:
    {% for post in paginator.posts %}
      <h2 class="title"><a href="{{ post.url }}">{{ post.title }}</a></h2>
      <p class="author">
        <span class="date">{{ post.date }</span>
      </p>
      <div class="content">
        {{ post.content }}
      </div>
    {% endfor %}
That’s all folks

That’s all it takes. You can now push your posts to github and start blogging. If you wish to customize the domain, add a CNAME file to the root of your site with the name of your custom domain in it. For example, mine looks like:

evandontje.com

Then update the domain entry with your registrar to point to the github IP address 204.232.175.78.

Full instructions can be found on github

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