February 07, 2013

I’ve recently made a few tweaks to my blog, mainly stylistic and adding in a few web fonts, but the biggest change is a transparent one, the move to Jekyll.

Static site builders aren’t really new to me, in the past I have used nanoc to write API Documentation. I didn’t really think to move my blog over until recently though. phawk has gone through a few different iterations over the years and been built on a fair few different frameworks: wordpress, codeigniter, play framework, node.js and laravel.

Through these various platform changes I’ve sometimes not bothered ensuring all my articles have migrated over, and especially content such as images and files related to particular posts.

Versioned content

With the move to Jekyll my content is version controlled along with my code, everything in one simple place in a git repository. This has a few advantages:

  • no database backups to worry about
  • no migrations to run
  • writing is easily done locally
  • deploying is just comitting and pushing the changes to GitHub

Cheapo hosting

As GitHub have jekyll support built in to their github pages feature, hosting is free, there is no server setup or maintenance required. This is fantastic and if you’re happy to have a domain, you won’t even need to purchase a domain or setup DNS.

Custom domains are easy too though, simply creating a CNAME file in the root of the repo and adding your custom domain in will allow that to work.

Is it powerful enough for me?

Some might worry that a static site might lead to too many changes and no reusable snippets, but with Jekyll you get all the power you need, you can create layouts to inherit your content and articles and include reusable snippets too.


It took a couple of hours to migrate everything over and even import a whole bunch of older posts that I hadn’t migrated to my laravel site, I found the whole experience very straightforward, and to learn how to piece things together I just looked at a couple of other sites put together with Jekyll.

 Looking forward

I’m definitely going to consider using Jekyll / Github pages a lot more often in the future as it is just so simple and easy to work with, I also love the prospect of versioned content, without having to build a versioned CMS.

Pete Hawkins

Hey 👋 I’m Pete a web developer, who loves to ship products and build cool things with React and React Native.
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