I recently switched this site to Jekyll, and I thought I'd share the setup process. Jekyll was a bit slow the last time I used it, so I was excited to find that the 3.0.0 update included speed improvements that make updates available in the browser almost immediately. Here are some of the configuration changes I made outside of the defaults:

  • Changed the permalink structure to /posts/:title/. I made this update in config.yml, refreshed the site, and nothing changed. A little digging, and I found out that changes to config.yml will not be processed while jekyll serve is running. You’ll need to ctrl-c and jekyll serve again.
  • I was using m/d/Y to display dates, and so in looking at how to set that up in Jekyll, I found an article from Allan W. Smith that detailed all of the possibilities. It can be accomplished with {{ post.date | date: "%-m/%-d/%Y" }}.
  • I display excerpts from posts on the homepage, and in order to specify those manually, you can add an excerpt: declaration to the YAML front matter on each post and specify the excerpt there. It can then be output with {{ post.excerpt }}. Jekyll will automatically give you an excerpt, but for posts that start with a code snippet, that was not ideal.
  • For posts that include code snippets, I use prism.js for formatting. To include the file only on posts that use it, I add custom_js: prism to the front matter. In footer.html, I've added the following, which takes care of outputting the script tag:
    {% if page.custom_js %}
      {% for js_file in page.custom_js %}
        <script src='/js/{{ js_file }}.js' type="text/javascript"></script>
      {% endfor %}
    {% endif %}
    This also allows for the possibility of additional js files, so I can just add the name of a file I'd like to include to the custom_js declaration. Learned this trick on Matt Gemmell's site.
  • I wanted my 404 page to live at /404.html. By default, Jekyll takes that and moves it to /404/index.html. To change that, I added permalink: /404.html to the YAML front matter on the page.

Phew. That was more that I thought. Hope this helps speed things up for you.