My Struggle With Jekyll

For the last 2 weeks, I have been struggling with Jekylla simple, blog aware, static site generator.1 It’s not the installation that I’m having problem with, but the power and flexibility it actually gives me.

what Jekyll lacks in newbie-friendliness it makes up for in power and flexibility. via – link

I got introduced to Jekyll from Cong but I turned it away earlier on because it was very geeky2 and there was no mobile apps for it3. When Cong introduced #blogwith4, I thought hey the time has come for me to explore Jekyll again, since I can use #blogwith to send my post from Evernote Jekyll and Evernote is available on both my desktop and mobile devices plus I can have full control of my blog site, i.e. I can add anything I want to the site (yes, that’s including any ads), I can even run a podcast site5 with Jekyll.

the problem with control

It is awesome to have full control of stuff. I’m in the early stage of being a programmer but I know many of my programming friends love to build stuff on their own (OCD issues), especially with open-source projects. They hate to be tied down to a specific platform. For example, writing on wordpressdotcom will kill them because there are certain restrictions that you can do with your site. And sometimes there are things like censorships which most of them hate.

In fact, I love to have a bit of control too. There is a period of time when I tried to moved idostartup over to Tumblr, simply because they allow you to run Javascript and gives you the ability to add ads and some other random stuff. But in the end, I went beck to wordpress because it was relative hard to port over my content and because I was spending too much time customising the blog instead of writing.

And now the same thing is happening again, instead of having ideas of what to write, I’m busying reading stackflow and learning to tweak Jekyll to the way I want. Of course I love this ability and at the same time, I can be like my idol6 who likes to build his own things too, because it will work exactly the way he wants it to be. But this should not be the case, coz the main priority is to write.

small learnings

Over at idostartup I have constrains, I cannot customise much because I do not wish to pay, so I could only write. Over at Jekyll, I have all the flexibility I want but I lost the focus to write. However, I did learn a lot more on ruby, jekyll, html and css. Learning from code-academy was slow, but when it comes down to implementation of my own project, its sort of like building my own house, I put more effort and motivation into it. And this helps me to pick up those languages faster than ever.

what’s the solution?

less is more – considering that I moved to Jekyll because it is minimal and simple. I would just keep things simple and only add in things that I need7 rather than what I want.
– no comments
– no paginations
– no stats tracking

keeping things simple

I believe this mentality also applies to starting up because very often we keep building things that we think customers wants but maybe in the actual fact they do not really need it. So in this very long post, I’m writing to myself that this is the space to write what I want and I will have it design and work according to my needs, just like my house.

image credit

  1. Basically, it turns plain text into blogs, this is especially useful if you are writing in markdown because Jekyll is not a blogging software, it is a parsing engine. Plus there is no database required thus there is no need to purchase a hosting services and you can host it on github for free.
  2. While Jekyll is simple and minimal. There is no simple click to install, it is usually for tech-savvy bloggers or anyone who wish to blog like a hacker. See installation process, a bit unfriendly for normal users.
  3. I love blogging on the go 😀
  4. blogwith – write your ideas/blog post on #Evernote and have it publish to Jekyll, Tumblr and WordPress. an ifttt blogging tool
  5. which I’m going too soon with launchbyte
  6. Marco Arment – “I’m a developer. I make things. I’ve always written the CMS that powers my site so I can make it behave exactly as I want, and I wanted to keep doing that even after I left Tumblr.”
  7. I may need a tagging feature, but that would come later.