Opinions on Jekyll?

over 6 years ago from , Senior Interactive Designer / Developer with Hoefler & Co.

The aforementioned Jekyll: http://jekyllrb.com/

I'm working on the redesign of a personal (music) site and wonder, how are the Jekyll users fairing these days? If you don't mind sharing two things with me:

  1. How long have you been using it; and
  2. How are you liking it?


  • Matt AchariamMatt Achariam, over 6 years ago

    I've been using Jekyll for several months now. There is more of an initial setup but once you have it built the way you want, it is pretty much smooth sailing.

    I've tried Middleman and found it easier and more robust than Jekyll but ultimately stuck with the latter because I host my personal site on Github.

    I think where it shines best is the modularity and flexibility it affords. If you're looking for something a little simpler I'd suggest cactus or a lightweight cms.

    6 points
    • Jason CJason C, over 6 years ago

      To your hosting on Github comment, the middleman-deploy gem lets me deploy my own portfolio site to Github Pages with one command.

      3 points
      • Matt AchariamMatt Achariam, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

        Very cool, thanks for sharing. Actually come to think of it the main reason I used Jekyll was that we built out our Public Sites feature with it, so in the end I became more well-versed with Jekyll.

        0 points
    • Jordan IsipJordan Isip, over 6 years ago

      +1 for Middleman. Also, if you've worked with Rails a bit before, you'll feel right at home.

      2 points
    • Mike HeitzkeMike Heitzke, over 6 years ago

      Came here to say this.

      I REALLY like Jeykll, just found it more complex than my needs, so I ended up on Middleman (and love it).

      1 point
    • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, over 6 years ago

      We're using Middleman for the Discover Meteor site.

      I really like that it lets you loop over YAML data to generate content (see our testimonials page).

      And you can even generate separate pages this way, I wrote more about all that here.

      2 points
  • Derryl CarterDerryl Carter, over 6 years ago

    I've been using Jekyll for a couple of years on my website, and overall I'm fairly pleased with it.

    The biggest value-add for me was being able to write posts in Markdown. This is a powerful feature, although I never really got comfortable with the Jekyll templating workflow.

    Looking back, I'm not sure it was worth the effort it took to set up (to be fair, that's partly because I stopped writing blog posts), but that's a highly personal opinion, and I imagine other folks feel quite differently

    3 points
  • Bud ParrBud Parr, over 6 years ago

    I've been using Jekyll for about a year and half and have built about a dozen sites with it. I've managed to do some fairly complex stuff with it despite its limitations.

    On the plus side, the addition of collections this year has been a big help for content modeling, and you can use, in addition to markdown files, JSON, YAML, or CSV files for data, which I find useful. I think the biggest reason one would want to use Jekyll is it has a large community so if you're having an issue it's fairly likely you can find someone who has had that issue or can help.

    On the minus side, build times can be slow on larger sites, Liquid can sometimes be limiting (though it's quite capable) and it can be frustrating figuring out the differences/capabilities of pages, posts and collections. They're working on implementing incremental regeneration, which will help with build times, though that could still be a while before implemented (I think they're pushing that feature to 3.0).

    I'm a big advocate of static sites in general and have started a blog with a bunch of resources for various static site generators, if that's helpful to you.

    1 point
  • Travis NeilsonTravis Neilson, over 6 years ago

    Jekyll is extremely flexible and the leader in the static site generator genre.

    A while ago I made a video about getting started with Jekyll: http://youtu.be/iWowJBRMtpc (22K views for far :)

    1 point
  • Feras AlnatshehFeras Alnatsheh, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    I've been using Jekyll for the last couple of years and really happy with it. Although it's focused on blogging you could use it for showcasing your portfolio (e.g. my site , source).

    I'm also a big fan of the project documentation and since GitHub is using it for Github pages there's a large community behind it.

    1 point
  • Nick HileyNick Hiley, over 6 years ago

    I've been using Jekyll for just over a year and I'm deeply in love with it.

    Many people use it to build simple blogs or portfolios but because of the YAML front matter and the templating, Jekyll is amazingly expandable. The possibilities are nearly endless.

    I've even used Jekyll for a client project in the past thanks to Prose.io

    I'm also using Jekyll to build a side project that is an interactive guide for a certain TV show. The site allows you to browse characters, read their bio and look at stats etc. So, as the show progresses, making changes to the information is a piece of cake.

    I got a bit carried away here but yeah.. I like Jekyll :)

    1 point
    • Mitch WarrenMitch Warren, over 6 years ago

      I also have a deep love for Jekyll! I use it for all of my client builds now - and pass the repo over to the back-end devs. It's made my life so much easier.

      Would be really interested to check out your side project. :)

      0 points
  • Mathias BiilmannMathias Biilmann, over 6 years ago

    Jekyll is great, and it's been used for some pretty amazing projects. Like Obama's fundraising platform:


    The content model is not super flexible and if you're doing something a bit complex, the Liquid template engine can quickly feel limiting. In those cases something like Middleman tend to work better.

    But I love how any static site is a valid Jekyll site. It makes it really easy to go from plain HTML/CSS and then just start adding a few includes, adding some text pages in Markdown, integrating blog features, etc, in a very gradual way.

    We're betting pretty big on static site generation with Netlify. It's kinda like Github pages on steroids. Where Github pages can only build stock Jekyll sites with no plugins, Netlify will run the build for pretty much any static site generator.

    I'll be happy to send out some beta invites to Designer News members.

    1 point
    • Bud ParrBud Parr, over 6 years ago

      Mathias - I've been wondering about Netlify (specifically, the difference between that and BitBalloon, and now I see). Would love to check it out.


      0 points
    • Mitch WarrenMitch Warren, over 6 years ago

      Would love to check that out! I've been using Jekyll for everything lately and I was going to start seeking out something that could enable CMS editing for clients.

      0 points
      • Mathias BiilmannMathias Biilmann, over 6 years ago

        Awesome to hear you're using Jekyll. Our goal is to build an open-source CMS on top of the infrastructure we're building, that will work with most static site generators. We should chat about that one of these days :)

        Invite in your inbox!

        0 points
        • Mitch WarrenMitch Warren, over 6 years ago

          Thanks Mathias! We should definitely catch up soon :)

          Sounds perfect! It's just what SSG's need right now. I love the ease and simplicity of editing files in a code editor vs the whole database thing. It makes everything so portable. Having an interface for clients would be fantastic.

          0 points
  • Dave SniderDave Snider, over 6 years ago
    1. I used Jeykll for a few years. I ended up mostly using it's Python based cousin Cactus mostly for the Django style templates.
    2. Eventually I grew out of it. I really loved static sites, but that meant it was only really good for me and I couldn't use it for anything bigger where another team member would be involved. I ended up building http://www.webhook.com as a replacement. Essentially it's a static site generator like Jekyll, but still comes with an Admin so that my friends can edit the site. I also added small things like auto gzipping of assets, live reload, sass/less integration and a bunch more. If you like Jekyll and have the need for somebody else to need to edit your site, you might like us.
    1 point
    • Mitch WarrenMitch Warren, over 6 years ago

      My only reservation is the Firebase thing - is there a way to have Webhook write its data to a local JSON file? (So I could use it locally)

      0 points
  • Varun VachharVarun Vachhar, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    1. How long have you been using it? On and off for a couple of years. Moved my blog to Jekyll 3 months ago and have been using it on a regular basis since then.

    2. How are you liking it?Love it! The whole process: install, use, customization and deployment works seamlessly.

    Integration with Github and using gh-pages means free hosting and not having to deal with servers.

    I prefer to use Poole to get started. It's got a lot of nice little features such as syntax highlighting already setup and also comes with a nice CSS base.

    And lastly I found this script a while ago (sorry don't remember where), but you can run jekyll through gulp and get live-reload, etc. https://github.com/winkerVSbecks/le-blog/blob/master/gulpfile.js

    1 point
  • Sam SolomonSam Solomon, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    I've considered rebuilding my personal site with Jekyll—I tend to write in Markdown anyways. I always come back to WordPress.

    This may sound silly, but the Yoast plugin makes it incredibly easy to update and alter meta information. I'm a bit worried about leaving it.

    Curious to see the discussion here.

    1 point
    • Jason CJason C, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

      Agreed. Yoast's plugin is amazing in WordPress, especially since I don't have the time to focus on keeping current with SEO trends as they change. But, I don't really use all the bells and whistles that Yoast has been adding lately, like OpenGraph, and his bombardment of consulting ads are understandable, but an eye sore.

      I have attempted to make steps in this direction for static sites by using Frontmatter (available in Jekyll and Middleman) which lets you create per-page titles, meta descriptions, etc. There's even XML sitemap generator gems. See an example at the top of this file.

      1 point
    • David DarnesDavid Darnes, over 6 years ago

      I've also reconsidered converting my site from WP to Jekyll. Despite a speed and simplicity improvements, the time taken might not be worth it. Better to consider it when a redesign is in order.

      2 points
  • Jason CJason C, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    I cannot speak to Jekyll directly, but my last understanding is that the community is vibrant and it's a great static site generator to work with. Github even has a dedicated page explaining how to host a Jekyll site with Github pages.

    I can, however, speak high praises for the Middleman static site generator. I found the platform very simple to understand, and there are tons of plugins to add things like blogging and automatic deployments. I will shamelessly plug my own starter template if you need Bootstrap+Slim+SCSS out the box

    I'm also interested in hearing people's experiences with Jekyll, especially if they have also used the Middleman app for comparison.

    1 point
  • Guillaume Palayer, over 5 years ago

    I'm using Jekyll on GitHub page for the Magazine du Webdesign site.

    I really like the flexibility of the YAML front matter and the data files. With the help of API, you could build an app in few days. The install it's a bit tricky for windows users. But after, it runs fine.

    0 points
  • David DarnesDavid Darnes, over 6 years ago

    I've been using Jekyll for a couple of months now. I used it to create our documentation site, which is hosted on GitHub.

    I think the two main reasons I refrain from telling everyone under the sun to use Jekyll are the setup process, and the ease of editing. Setting up Jekyll can be fiddly for a front-end dev or designer, and content management is much the same.

    Thankfully the official Jekyll site is quite extensive and shows you how to setup a Jekyll project. Also there are quite a few Markdown editors out now which make the content management part a bit easier too.

    Is this music site fairly small? If so this could be a good opportunity to learn Jekyll. It really makes you think differently on how sites can work. I'm a big fan of Jekyll and all it's aspects, if you can't tell ;)

    0 points
  • Scott OgleScott Ogle, over 6 years ago

    I've been using Jekyll for my [personal site](www.scottogle.net) since August and I have to say I really, really love it. It's probably the only publishing platform I've ever used that doesn't feel at all restrictive.

    In contrast to what some people have been saying about the difficulty of setting up I found it relatively painless compared to something like WordPress. I'd say I probably only spent about 4 hours building up everything I wanted.

    And +1 for github pages hosting. I'll probably be a paying github customer for life because of that (although you don't have to pay, I just preferred to keep the repo private).

    0 points
  • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, over 6 years ago

    I'm using Octopress. Nothing to envy.

    0 points
  • Damien ErambertDamien Erambert, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )
    1. I used Jekyll for ~1.5year to build my blog and then my website

    2. I liked it at the time, but then I grew out of it because of...Ruby. Not the language itself, I don't know any Ruby and I'm not going to say "Ruby is a bad programming lang!". No, when I say "because of Ruby" it's about installing/upgrading/extending/tweaking a Jekyll installation. Ruby is a mess to get working properly in a "vanilla" way, you're on Linux ? Your package manager will have an outdated version of Ruby, OS X comes with Ruby but it's mostly outdated too (10.10 has a 2.0.0 but I'm not sure), and don't even mention Windows. You're probably going to be in pain if you want to have Jekyll functioning under Windows. You want to add a Jekyll plugin that uses a certain gem? Cool, then you can be sure you'll be struggling to add the said gem if nothing says so in the README of the plugin (trust me, it happens very often, and it shouldn't). Oh ? The plugin is made for Ruby 2.0.0 and you're using Ruby 2.1.1 ? Well, guess it's not even gonna run, yay for reinstalling a new version of Ruby!

    That's why I grew out of Jekyll after a while because I was tired of installing Ruby, obscure gemError that no one knew why it happens and that get solved with obscure tricks. After that I eventually used DocPad (Node.js) afterwards, it was nice, and they're chances I'll be using it to redesign my website. And now my personal blog runs on a self-hosted Ghost because I'm lazy when it comes to writing :p

    tl;dr : Jekyll is great, but you don't want to be the guy installing/maintaining Ruby to make it work so you'll probably want to use it on GitHub pages.

    0 points
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    0 points
  • Carlos Montoya, over 6 years ago

    DevTips for Designers has an awesome Jekyll Site tutorial https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqGj3iMvMa4KQZUkRjfwMmTq_f1fbxerI

    He goes into depth on how to use Jekyll and why it's awesome.

    0 points
  • Ragnar FreyrRagnar Freyr, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    Been using Jekyll for my portfolio site at ragnarfreyr.com since October 2012.

    Took some effort to set up initially but after that it has been smooth sailing. This has been the only portfolio site of mine that I haven't completely redesigned when I've wanted to update it with new projects. It's that easy to update. :)

    0 points
  • Danny GarciaDanny Garcia, over 6 years ago

    It really depends what you need it for. It's really really great for blog-like sites where you're publishing articles – that's why it's called the "blog-aware" static site generator. That being said, it's quite flexible for many different forms of content publishing. It also works superbly with GitHub Pages!

    I've been using it for a few years (on my personal site and a grunt task).

    0 points
  • Craig FrostCraig Frost, over 6 years ago

    I've been using Jekyll for around four months now, and I'm really enjoying it. Includes, in particular, can be extremely powerful, and can be used to great effect in achieving layouts that aren't quite so linear.

    The integration with GitHub is also really nice, but compiling everything locally is a breeze, too.

    0 points
  • Aaron WhiteAaron White, over 6 years ago

    Moved my portfolio over to Jekyll in 2012 and have been super happy with it ever since. There are some limitations when you are trying to do more complex site structures, but you can usually get around those limitations with a bit of work.

    More recently I've been using Jekyll for prototyping. You can use JSON files located in _data folders to do some super cool things with, and you can have _posts in subfolders, which I use to separate blog posts from portfolio items. Another trick is I add a bunch of custom variables to my config.yml, the 'shiny' items on my landing page are setup this way, then I loop through the portfolio items in _posts in a subfolder.

    For my prototyping needs, I can create subfolders and build highly customizable proto's (html/css/js or Framer protos) and publish everything to Google App Engine for FREE!

    There are quite a few new static site generators available now... I'd suggest Pelican (Python) or Hugo (Go) as alternatives. Each have their advantages/disadvantages.

    I also have a Jekyll/Bootstrap starting point on Github (https://github.com/aaronkwhite/bootstrap-jekyll), it's not configured to use the Jekyll Sass support, but getting that up and running is easy peasy!

    0 points
  • Hery Ratsimihah, over 6 years ago

    Been using it all my static blogging life. It's cool, but I don't write Ruby so I'm considering switching to something else, e.g: coleslaw.

    Here's my Jekyll blog: http://ratsimihah.com

    0 points
  • TJ MapesTJ Mapes, over 6 years ago

    I love it thus far. I used it on my personal blog and love it.

    I'm no programmer but have been reading and tweaking as I go just fine. The initial set up was a bit of a pain, but I surprised myself and got it running.

    My next goal is to integrate LESS or SASS and really focus on compression and just getting everything in my build process as simple and fast as possible. Also may design and develop a theme or two.

    But who has time for all of that :)

    0 points
  • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, over 6 years ago

    I have been using Jekyll since 2012 and I love it. My work uses Middleman and several people have told me that I should quit using Jekyll, haha.

    I don't host my site on GitHub though, and it's a bit of a pain to SSH into DigitalOcean to update posts. I haven't found a way to automatically deploy it.

    0 points
  • Garth BraithwaiteGarth Braithwaite, over 6 years ago

    Super happy now that jekyll (and github pages) supports Sass.

    We use the default jekyll setup for Design Open which lets people make pull requests to submit articles, etc.

    I also use it for Web Friends.

    0 points
  • Dave Crow, over 6 years ago

    I've been using Jekyll hosted on Github Pages for my personal site for about 6 months. I really like it.

    I'm not a programmer, but I'm proficient in HTML/CSS. It was a little bit of work to get setup, but seems much easier to maintain longer term (compared to WordPress). It gives me the ability to fully customize my site without the complexity of dealing with a database behind a CMS.

    0 points
  • Hugo Magalhães, over 6 years ago

    This past summer I was in the process of redesigning my personal website, and I looked over various lightweight CMSs and eventually decided to give Jekyll a try and I haven’t looked back since. For small to medium websites, with no need for a dynamic database, I strongly recommend it.

    It might take a while until you get the gist of it, but once you do it’s quite nice. Plus it as a really active community so you a place to go to if you ever get stuck.

    0 points
  • Nick Dominguez, over 6 years ago

    Disclaimer: Programming doesn't come natural or is easy for me.

    That said I've been using Jekyll for a couple of years and have still yet to find something as easy to use as Jekyll. The documentation is good and it's under active development . Two important factors in my opinion.

    I've experimented with Harp a fair bit and really like that as well. That would be my only other option if I weren't using Jekyll.

    0 points