Jekyll - Katy Huff

October 29, 2014 at 5-6:30pm in BIDS, 190 Doe Library


Katy Huff

Katy Huff is a postdoc with NSSC and BIDS.


This very site is made with Jekyll. Jekyll is a Ruby-based, blog-aware, static site generator.

Two ways to host your Jekyll site for free on GitHub

Everybody needs a website. Google yourself. What happens? Let’s get you a website. master branch

Every time someone creates a user name on github, a special space on the internet is reserved for them at (and .io, it’s a long story).

If the user “lisemeitner” existed, then she could create a repository on github called “” (or .io, it’s a long story). If that repository has a master branch, then GitHub will try to render it with Jekyll and serve it up to the internet at Note that jekyll plug-ins used by GitHub are very minimal. Try not

If Lise doesn’t want to use Jekyll, that’s cool. Sites on GitHub can be plain boring old html (like To keep GitHub from trying to render it as jekyll, she has to add an empty file (.nojekyll) in her repository. Additionally, an index.html file has to exist at the top level of her repository, or else there will be nothing there.

gh-pages branch

If Lise also has a project called fission, she can have a website for it too. That website can sit on the internet at All she has to do is put either jekyll stuff or a static html page in the gh-pages branch. The same rules apply as far as .nojekyll and plug-ins are concerned.

For an example, check out

How does the THW site work?

Please look at the readme. We’re gonna make some changes.

What’s this config file?

It’s for configuring the site, silly! Let’s check it out.

What’s all this stuff at the top of the posts?

It’s YAML metadata. Let’s talk about it.

Serving it up locally

So, rather than rely on github to render the jekyll and serve it up on the internet, you can also render it locally and check it out on your localhost. You’ll need to have ruby installed. Then:

gem install jekyll

Then, if you navigate to a directory containing a jekyll site, you can serve it up:

jekyll serve

Now open a browser and navigate to the localhost url http://localhost:4000.

What about themes?

The THW page relies on an open source theme called left. We could swap that out for another theme really easily. There are lots on the internets. Try this page.

Lightning Talks

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