Nik Kantar

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Choosing Jekyll

Why I chose a static site generator in a sea of fancy dynamic solutions.

Finally, something’s live.

It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (read: changing my mind), but I finally settled on the platform for the site. The choices were many, and the rest lost to what should be the simplest solution: a static site generator not even hosted on my own server.

WordPress was a major contender. I’ve used it on and off for about nine years now, since around version 1.5. I even started writing the theme before deciding to abandon it as I simply wouldn’t use the vast majority of its features.

Svbtle and Medium were relatively high on the list. I made an account on each and started writing a little, but in the end their ownership of my content inspired little confidence.

I took a cursory look at Ghost, Roon, and a number of other, less known options, and found that in general I’m not terribly happy with them for a variety of reasons.

At some point I even rolled my own solutions using Sinatra and Flask (both absolutely excellent lightweight frameworks that I continue to use for other projects). I should probably open source those, even if they’re both incomplete.

In the end I realized I wanted…well, as little as possible. I didn’t want another dashboard, or another set of login credentials, or any other baggage that comes with using a CMS. So, remembering my own static site generator idea, I decided to try out the most commonly used one — Jekyll — and use it with GitHub Pages.

Why?

Because I already have a text editor and terminal open nearly 24/7. Because I’m already logged into GitHub by the very virtue of using it so much. Because Markdown is totally awesome (as are all the other tools I’m using). And — most importantly — because this setup introduces the least amount of mental overhead and Just Works™ for me.

How well?

Writing this post was quick, painless, and downright enjoyable, and I’ve already got five other drafts awaiting completion. :)