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Building Websites with Jekyll

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Introduction to Jekyll and Static Sites

By Kevin McAleer,    2 Minutes

Jekyll cover image

What is Jekyll?

Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware, static site generator. It takes text written in your favorite markup language and uses layouts to create a static website. You can tweak the site’s look and feel, URLs, the data displayed on the page, and more.

Jekyll was developed by Tom Preston-Werner, GitHub’s co-founder, and is distributed under the open source MIT license.

Unlike traditional CMSs that often require databases and complex server-side processing, Jekyll relies on a pre-compilation process to create ready-to-publish static websites.

Understanding Static Sites

A static website consists of fixed content where each page is coded in HTML and displays the same information to every visitor.

Static sites are incredibly fast and secure since they don’t rely on databases or server-side scripting.

They’re simpler to maintain and host, making them ideal for blogs, portfolios, and documentation.

In contrast, dynamic websites, which use technologies like PHP, JavaScript, or CMS platforms, generate content in real-time and can handle complex functionalities like user input.

Why Choose Jekyll?

Jekyll is particularly well-suited for individuals and small teams looking to create a blog, project, or personal website without the overhead of a CMS. Its simplicity, combined with the power of Markdown, Liquid templating, and a wide range of plugins, makes it flexible and extensible.

The Jekyll community is vibrant and supportive, providing a wealth of themes, plugins, and documentation to help users.

Real-World Examples

Many popular sites use Jekyll, such as GitHub’s own blog and various documentation sites. These examples demonstrate Jekyll’s versatility across different content types and styles.

Getting Ready

As we move forward, we’ll dive deeper into Jekyll’s features, from basic setup to creating and customizing your own static site.

Next up, we’ll guide you through installing Jekyll and setting up your first project.

Additional Resources

Lesson Assignment

Reflect on what you’ve learned about static sites. Why might you choose Jekyll for a project? Consider its benefits in terms of speed, security, and simplicity.

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