I like Jekyll, but is it necessary?
One of the first "Content Management Systems" I ever wrote was a perl script that took flat text files and wrapped templates around them and gave me html. I cobbled this thing together and thought, huh, it worked. At the time everything was changing and I hardly ever wrote content. So a script that did this wasn't extremely useful to me. It was more of an academic experience – especially because, at the time, I wasn't a professional web developer.
For the past 8 or so years I have been working primarily in Drupal. I have seen other CMS's come and go and comeback. I have seen forks and communities fall apart due to in fighting. I have seen major versions of projects that where worked on for years get shelved and ultimately abandoned. I have seen much of this in the 8 or so years that I have been working with Drupal.
Drupal has been rock solid. However, every-time I have tried to launch by blog on Drupal I would get stuck in the weeds. I have re-built wordpress 3 times with Drupal. Each time getting the blog to a different 80% mark before other work or obligations would take me away. So this time I launched my blog on Jekyll. I gathered together as much old content as I could find and consolidated here, using the Jekyll Quickstart repo.
I also built the WAPRO meetup website in Jekyll using github pages and the same Jekyll Quickstart fork. It takes 5 minutes (10 if the internet connection is slow). Just fork the quickstart repo, change the _config.yml and you're up and running. All that is left after that is writing content. Also, github is hosting your site for free. If you want to learn more about Jekyll read my post on Jekyll.
Everything is rainbows. But I am not someone who can just sit back and let a rainbow be a rainbow. (Remember the bit on re-building Wordpress in Drupal over and over?) So I made Jenkins watch my github pages repo and publish my blog on my server every-time I committed and pushed the repository. Easy right? No, that is not enough. I needed a simple way of working with by blog so I started writing some Grunt commands to do things like add a new draft or start Jekyll serve.
Grunt, led me to Gulp. So I have gotten to know Gulp. I like Gulp more than I expected to. When you boil it down Gulp provides an intelligent extraction from disk io. You say Gulp get these files
gulp.src(*.js) and Gulp gets them and asks you what you want to do with them. Oh Gulp, process them and write those files right over there
So, Gulp looks for all my files, processes them and then writes them. Why do I need Jekyll now? Personally I like to stream line my dependencies. Ruby is just another dependency now. Currently I am using SASS, but that is only because Jekyll uses Ruby. I can do everything with Less that I need SASS to do (really I can). So I really don't need Ruby for this. Let's see what does it take to make Jekyll with Gulp.
What Does Jekyll give us?
We have established [in another post that Jekyll gives us these things.
- Centralized configuration and globals _config.yml
- Templates Liquid Templates
- Markdown Parsing
- YAML Front matter
- Plug-in input Processing
- Bonus Points
- Build Management
- Test Web Server
I already know that there are gulp plug-ins that say they do, liquid templates, markdown parsing, and yaml parsing. The issue with relying on Gulp is that it is still a relatively new technology. This means that plug-ins sometimes say they do something or they don't do something fully or they are simply empty repositories that show where something was once going to be built. I am going to attempt this. But no promises. This is for me. As I complete something I will post a link in the list above.