What is Jekyll?

In this series of article we’re going to introduce you to the Jekyll static site Content Management System (CMS). Static site generators are different from dynamic site systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. While dynamic sites are generated based on various types of back-end processing and pulling information from databases, static site systems generate complete HTML files that can be served instantly without any extra processing.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect with using a static site CMS:

  • No databases
  • Requires minimal server specs
  • Lightning speed

Instead of building the site dynamically on page load, Jekyll creates plain HTML files that require no further processing. This means pages are served instantly.

Easy Coding with Markdown

When writing your web pages with Jekyll, you don’t need to use HTML coding. You can write in the simplified Markdown syntax.

 # H1 Heading ## H2 Heading ### H3 Heading (and so forth)  Underscores create _emphasis_, and so do *asterisks*. 

Underscores create emphasis, and so do asterisks.

Double those to create __boldness__, and so **forth**.

Double those to create boldness, and so forth.

Visit the complete Markdown documentation for detailed syntax usage.

It’s your choice. Jekyll lets you create pages and blog posts using both the simplified Markdown syntax or straight HTML.

Pros and Cons for Using Jekyll

As with any CMS, there are benefits and drawbacks to adopting Jekyll as your system. You will need to decide what you need from your website and where your comfort level is.

Pros Cons
  • No databases
  • Basic server requirements
  • Very fast
  • Improved security
  • No server-side admin interface
  • Requires some command line comfort
  • Requires using a text editor (like Notepad or Textmate) instead of your favorite WYSIWYG program (like Microsoft Word)
  • Limited support options (you’ll need to visit forums)

Basic Jekyll Workflow

The basic Jekyll workflow requires installing Jekyll in your local computer. Once that’s done, you can work on your site locally until you’re happy with it. Then, you can “build” the site using a single command line directive. The site will then be fully contained in a directory of your choosing and you can then upload your site with whichever file management method you prefer.

Final Thoughts

Now you have learned a little bit about the Jekyll CMS and why you might consider using. In the next article in the Jekyll series, we’ll show you how to install Jekyll on your local computer.

Leave a Reply