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Mastering Markdown for Documentation with Jekyll

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Overview of Jekyll and Static Sites

Introduction to the fundamentals of Jekyll and the advantages of using static sites.

By Kevin McAleer,    2 Minutes

Jekyll cover image

What is Jekyll?

Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware, static site generator that transforms text written in your favorite markup language into static websites and blogs. It allows for customization of the site’s appearance, URLs, and data presented on the page, among other features.

Developed by Tom Preston-Werner, one of GitHub’s co-founders, Jekyll is available under the open-source MIT license, making it freely accessible for personal and commercial use.

Understanding Static Sites

Unlike dynamic websites that require server-side processing and databases, static websites consist of fixed content, with each page pre-rendered and served to the user exactly as stored. This approach results in sites that are fast, secure, and easy to maintain, making them ideal for blogs, portfolios, and especially documentation.

Why Choose Jekyll?

  • Simplicity and Speed: Jekyll simplifies website creation and hosting, requiring no databases or backend processing.
  • Security: Being static, Jekyll sites are less vulnerable to common security threats targeting dynamic content management systems.
  • Flexibility: With support for Markdown, Liquid templating, and various plugins, Jekyll is highly customizable for different project needs.
  • Community Support: A vibrant community contributes themes, plugins, and guides to help users get the most out of Jekyll.

Real-World Examples

Jekyll powers numerous popular sites, including GitHub’s own blog and documentation pages for many open-source projects, showcasing its flexibility and reliability.

Getting Ready

In the upcoming lessons, we’ll dive deeper into Jekyll, from setup to deploying your static site. You’ll learn how to create a blog, customize your site, and much more.

Additional Resources

Lesson Assignment

Reflect on the advantages of static sites and how Jekyll facilitates building them. Consider the implications of site speed, security, and maintenance when choosing Jekyll for your projects.

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