Jekyll Sites

Time to read: less than one minute

Without further comment for now, here are some Jekyll website designs I’m currently working on. (These are still works in progress.)

Jekyll Golden is a responsive, mobile-first Jekyll blogging theme in which the layout and typography are based on the Golden Ratio of 1:1.618. You can view the codebase here and the gh-pages code generated after the site is built locally then deployed to GitHub.

Jekyll Writer is a simple Jekyll blogging theme with a responsive, mobile-first layout, stylish monochromatic design, and easy to read typography. You can view the codebase here and the gh-pages code generated after the site is built locally then deployed to GitHub.

If you’d like to see the steps involved in creating these sites you can view my Jekyll Website Board on Trello.

What Is Jekyll?

Time to read: three minutes

This is the first of a series of posts about Jekyll; what it is, and how it’s used to build websites. This site uses Jekyll along with Octopress 3.0. More about that in a future post.

So, what is Jekyll?

In simplest terms, Jekyll is a website generator. It takes a template directory containing raw text files in various formats, such as Markdown (or Textile), or HTML, and runs those files through converters, then generates a static HTML website that can be hosted on a web server.

Jekyll is also the engine behind GitHub Pages which is probably Jekyll’s easiest to use hosting solution. With it you can simply upload your Jekyll blog to a free GitHub repository and have it automatically compiled and deployed each time you commit. This blog site is hosted on GitHub Pages, for free.

Why would you use Jekyll?

One of the main reasons to use Jekyll is its simplicity. The goal of Jekyll was to eliminate the complexity of other blogging platforms by creating a workflow that allows you to ‘blog like a hacker.’ Other platforms like Wordpress or Drupal, rely on server-side processors such as PHP. The pages containing your content are built on the fly; database queries are run to get the different pieces, such as the title, content, or permalink. Then each page is available to be displayed in the browser. This, of course, works quite well in many situations but for a simple blog site, there’s a lot of complexity and overhead. You need the server-side platform installed and running on a capable server.

Blog like a hacker.

Tom Preston-Werner

With Jekyll this is all done on your computer, before the files go up to the server. It reads the local configurations and templates, then builds all of that HTML, CSS, and JavaScript right on your local machine, so your server doesn’t have to. This makes your server administration much easier, safer and faster.


  • Jekyll doesn’t require any database, unlike Wordpress or other content management systems (CMS). Pages and Posts are converted to static HTML prior to being uploaded to your site.
  • Jekyll is fast because, being stripped down and without a database, you’re just serving up static pages
  • Your Jekyll website doesn’t include any functionality or features that you aren’t using.
  • Jekyll is secure because vulnerabilities that affect platforms like WordPress don’t exist as Jekyll has no CMS, database or PHP.


  • As a ‘bloging platform for hackers,’ Jekyll is aimed at people who don’t mind installing the required dependencies, working from the command line, or doing a little coding.
  • In most Jekyll configurations everything is done on your local computer. There are many dependencies to install and you can’t blog from just any device such as your phone.
  • Jekyll doesn’t work very well for multi-author sites and has no functionality for visitors to login to your site.

In future posts I’ll discuss Jekyll in greater detail and show some example sites.

Responsive Barktik - Update

Time to read: less than one minute

Finally, and at long last, Responsive Bartik D7 has a stable release. The main reason it took so long is that the project was following and including many of the changes made to the Drupal 8 version of the theme, as well as squashing bugs and adding in requested features.

There is now a demo site where you can see it in action.

The original post can be viewed here for specifics about the project.

Reading List - Sept

Time to read: one minute

A short List this month with some very diverse topics.

Reading List - March

Time to read: one minute
  • Getty’s Free Photo Embed Service - Free isn’t always free. There’s often a catch. You better take a look at the legalese in the Terms of Service.
  • 9,125 Days Later - The World Wide Web turned 25 last week. Jeremy Keith (Adactio) explains the difference between “the web” and “the internet,” the need for an open web, net neutrality, and “the potential for long-term storage of knowledge.”
  • Some reading material on Pono - Neil Young’s Pono music store and triangular music player are coming soon. Marco Arment discusses the pros and (mostly) cons of the whole thing.
  • Confused About REM and EM? - REM can be confusing, especially without a solid understanding of its partner EM and their archvillain, the PX. Jeremy Church explains the the relationship between rem, em, markup and inheritance.
  • Wearing Apple - What new product categories is Apple working on? Craig Hockenberry presents some views. Will the long-awaited iWatch turn out to be an iRing?
  • Have We Gone As Far As We’ll Go? - Has photo image quality reached a plateau? Veteran photographer, writer, and Nikon watcher Thom Hogan is convinced at this point that most people can’t see any tangible differences in their images past a certain point.