Any tips for Jekyll newbies?

This week, I finally started a project that is long overdue: Learning Jekyll to relaunch two websites. Overall, I’m seeming to come to terms with it pretty quickly. I already knew the Frontmatter concept from Bunch, and I also have some very basic understanding of Ruby thanks to Sonic Pi.

Since Brett has a dozen years of experience and might have influenced a lot of you to also switch to Jekyll, I wondered if any of you would have some tips for beginners?

I’ll start by sharing my three big ones from installation and setup:

  • When installing Ruby on an M1/M2 Mac, your installation might fail. I followed the instructions on the Medium post by Can Erten to install Ruby successfully.
  • I couldn’t get additional Pages to appear in the main menu in the preinstalled minima theme. Only after I explicitly declared the markdown files in _config.yml via the header_pages: parameter, I was able to force Jekyll to include them in the header.
  • Jekyll comes with minima 2.5.x installed, not with version 3 that’s available on GitHub. So don’t try to activate skins or any other features that are presented there.

I’m looking forward to your workarounds, suggestions, themes and plug-ins!

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I use the docker image for Jekyll. It saves you the trouble of installing Ruby and any other dependencies. I just create a post or page, run the docker image and everything is built in the ‘_site’ folder.


Another Jekyll user here.

I use rbenv to manage Ruby versions.
I use bundler to keep Jekyll gems and plugins separate from other Ruby stuff. From the Jekyll docs: Using Jekyll with Bundler.

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If you’re ever looking for tips on extending Jekyll using plugins, I’ve written a bunch and can answer questions. I also have an extensive Rakefile for handling things like drafts/publishing, post scheduling, script/sass compilation, etc. It’s extensive enough that I can’t share it all in one place, but happy to answer any specific questions.