July 14, 2015

Why blog with Jekyll & GitHub Pages?

###Learn a valuable workflow

One of the most valuable skills I learned from the Ascend Project is how to use Git and GitHub by contributing to a Jekyll GitHub Pages blog. Learning this workflow is very helpful for collaborating with others on open source projects. Increasingly, learning Git & GitHub are not just for software developers anymore but also for others in tech including project managers, designers, tech writers and many more.

###Meet Jekyll & GitHub Pages

Jekyll is a static site generator written in Ruby. Static site generators are designed to be faster and simpler than conventional content management systems like Wordpress. For instance, they don’t use a database and serve up their files directly.

StaticvsDynamicSitesDiagram

Development Seed offers a great explanation for how and why they build CMS-free sites. There’s a growing trend to ditch CMS for the simplicity that static generator sites offer. For example, Healthcare.gov is run on Jekyll.

GitHub Pages provides free hosting for one user or organization site and unlimited project sites that are put on GitHub.

Combined these two provide a great alternative to publishing content on the web. Note that you can use GitHub Pages with other static site generators, which are growing in number every day. Check out this extensive list of open source static site generators.

###Why Jekyll over other static site generators?

If you’re a newbie I recommend starting with a well known static site generator like Jekyll before venturing out to other options that aren’t as well documented; but don’t let that scare you from trying out other options first if you prefer to jump in. I’d just scope out their documentation first.