Chris Stevens

Aviation. Tech.

Switching From Wordpress to Jekyll

Too many projects, too little time. This is the story of the last year around here!

Fall is a busy time of year since we are always anxious to escape the confines for air conditioning as the Texas summer heat finally subsides. Add two young kids, some traveling, and a rather exciting Texas Aggie football season to the mix and free time approaches zero rapidly.

I had suspected for some time that I wasn’t quite happy with my Wordpress setup and the look and feel of the site.

Earlier this year, I tried several Wordpress themes and plugins that claimed to enable support for any size of device. Those didn’t pan out, but the Twitter Bootstrap based responsive themes were starting to mature. I fiddled with a few of those before settling on something that worked, but wasn’t awesome.

I also moved from Amazon AWS hosting to Redhat’s new OpenShift PaaS. Wordpress setup on OpenShift is maybe a 5 minute activity and the whole experience was very, very cool! It is a sign of great things to come in the PaaS world.

More recently though, I noticed a ton of posts by nerds similar to myself proclaiming the greatness of Jekyll:

Jekyll is a simple, blog aware, static site generator. It takes a template directory (representing the raw form of a website), runs it through Textile or Markdown and Liquid converters, and spits out a complete, static website suitable for serving with Apache or your favorite web server. This is also the engine behind GitHub Pages, which you can use to host your project’s page or blog right here from GitHub. Jekyll Documentation

Many of those posts had a similar title to this post and I dove headfirst into the rabbit hole. I emerged several days later with this new site and a sense of freedom. I also realized that I had been self-censoring if I didn’t have the time research and write a comprehensive post on a topic. I love reading detailed posts from others, but may have to be happy with some shorter posts (or series of shorter posts) to fit anything into the schedule.

Is Jekyll for everybody? Nope. Not even close.

If composing in your favorite text editor with Markdown sounds better than a browser textarea (regardless of how WYSIWYG it is), this is probably for you! I can write in full-screen, distraction-free mode with my editor and focus on the content.

I still recommend Wordpress for nearly everybody else and Tumblr is a great option for very casual blogging.