Brightblack on Jekyll!

After a few years on the rather excellent Grav system, I’ve moved brightblack into the Jekyll static site generator. Why so? I like Grav, I really do, but I didn’t use or need most of the functionality, as this site is very simple in layout, it’s just me doing it. As an example, eventually I was putting things together in local text editors - which is more my workflow for most things - and pasting into the Grav editor. That’s not making the most of Grav, and points to a potentially faster method for me.

Also I get myself back in gear, the site will go back to having a lot more pages, which I was already finding a little cumbersome in Grav to keep all that organised, especially as I move more into archives and the older classic content. This point could be my ignorance of the platform, and to be fair, most of the sites I’ve seen on the platform were based around smaller content levels.

Again, Grav is a great system and the online editor and lack of database server requirement makes it a great option for the target market of a small business with some contributors working on a business or NPO site, perhaps with a web development vendor helping out. I tried it as a friend wanted to revamp his small (offline) business site, and that was exactly his need.

So here I am moving the site into Jekyll. Since it’s also using MarkDown, it’s been simple to move the content across - essentially just editing some of the Front Matter, and it means I’m back to a quick site update using rsync to my host machine in Pair. Also, since its essentially a static site following rendering and upload, it’s faster than Grav too.

Jekyll’s documentation got me up and running very quickly, helped by the offline server which checks validity as it goes, so offline development and testing is relatively easy. Also as it’s static, the site runs notably quicker from my shared hosting server - and Grav was no slouch. One thing I always struggled with in Grav was theme inheritance and making minor changes to the theme for my site. I often couldn’t get it to pick up the changes in Grav correctly and would end up altering the master theme, which would then get overwritten on update and forum posts suggest I wasn’t alone in those issues. I haven’t had any of those issues in Jekyll so far. As a static site, there’s also no online application to keep up to date, though Grav were good with alert emails and explanations, and I never had an issue with an update personally.

Why Jekyll then? I played with a similar system, Pelican, a few years back and I liked them, and Pelican was my initial thought, but I’ve also been using Github a lot lately, and Jekyll is the preferred static site generator for their Pages platform, so I thought I could gain a bit of knowledge to use in both areas at the same time.

Let’s see how it goes.