We Switched Our Site to JekyllSep 25, 2014 • Brett Chalupa
We just switched our website to Jekyll from Wordpress, and I wanted to share why we did it.
First off, Jekyll is a static site generator that is focused on content. It generates your site from Liquid templates and Markdown. This means the site should be faster, and it also means we can host the site pretty much anywhere. We are currently hosting it on the freely available GitHub Pages.
A few of us at FullStack have experience with Jekyll, so we figured we would see what the transition would look like. After a day of experimentation, we decided that it would work, so we went full-steam ahead with the transition.
Why We Did It
- Because the content is checked into the repository, we can now use an open a pull request and review workflow for articles and other content. This means we can easily see the changes made in commits, while also having a platform to leave feedback inline with the words. We peer review our designs and code, so why not peer review our content?
- It is easier to work on the site’s code because there is no need to setup PHP
and MySQL for development. There is also no need to know PHP and Wordpress to
work on the site’s code. All folks need to do is clone the repo, start up
an added bonus, Brian Cobb setup Vagrant for the
project to make running the site locally as easy as
vagrant upand starting the Jekyll server. No need to install Ruby or any other dependencies of Jekyll to work on the site.
- We were “deploying” updates to the Wordpress site through FTP, which meant there was a gatekeeper and no easy way to rollback. With a Jekyll site hosted on GitHub Pages, all we need to do is merge code into master branch on GitHub for the updates to be live.
- With all of the content living in the git repository, it makes it easy to see when new articles and job postings are published. Yay transparency!
- Since the project is hosted on GitHub, access permissions are now managed through our GitHub Organization’s teams. This means one less account to configure for new employees.
- Above all else, the switch was for simplicity. The Wordpress site felt like overkill for a site that is mostly just text and managed by technical folks.
It took two of us four days to transition the content and styles from the Wordpress site to Jekyll. Tristan rewrote the styles from .sass SASS to .scss SASS with Bourbon and Neat, and I manually migrated the content. It has been a little over a week since the switch, and so far so good. Reviewing articles through pull requests has been super useful, and the simplicity is refreshing.