Understanding Jekyll – The Leading Flat File CMS
The initial websites available were essentially static web pages composed of individual documents that were accessed via browsers. Such types of websites display their contents to all its users in the same format that it is stored. These web pages usually contain information that are primarily for display purposes and are not updated regularly. However, with the evolution of browsers, the format of web pages also began to change owing to the limitations of a static website. This resulted in the creation of dynamic architecture websites to keep up with the trend of content management. However, these types of websites are inherently less secure than that of a static website and would require the vigilance of a web developer to keep on top of possible exploits.
Developers are, therefore, generating new novel methods of utilizing the concept of static websites. Where applicable, by employing a static website instead of a dynamic one, a user could save valuable resources by avoiding the complexity of utilizing a system that could have been supplemented. This has generated a renewed surge in the usage of static websites and active communities are busy in developing it further. As a result, the development and application of modern static website generators has ballooned in recent years with Jekyll emerging as one of the most popular ones available. The current version of Jekyll is a far cry from the original version which was basically an unembellished blogging engine. As a modern static site generator, Jekyll has been furnished with a number of features that has enabled it to become a competitive engine of choice among developers allowing them to surpass the constraints of such platforms.
Utilities of Jekyll:
Owing to the nature of the different caching methods, a static version of the same website is known to offer far greater speeds when compared to a dynamic website. This is ascribed to the comparatively simple caching employed by a static website of an URL returning the same HTML to any user unless the corresponding file is changed. Although it has a limited potential of caching, if a developer can manipulate these constraints and work with it, the speedy loading times could offer a far greater performance.
Jekyll generates a static website from a user’s content by using Markdown; a text-to-HTML conversion tool and Liquid; a template generation tool. Liquid provides the developer with the ability to load dynamic content on a website making the user interface friendlier.
Extending Jekyll has been made possible owing to the availability of a number of plugins. Generator plugins along with converters allows a developer to expand the type of formats supported by Jekyll and generate new pages. This creates new dimensions and possibilities that embellish the traditionally linear layout of static websites.
Plugins in Jekyll can also allow easier search engine indexing, by generating a sitemap for a webpage. Since sitemaps are generated for individual pages, it would require a developer’s attention to make sure all of their website’s pages are included for a search engine to efficiently crawl through it.
Uses of Jekyll:
Another useful feature of Jekyll is the ability to import blogs and sites with the help of the range of ready- made importers. If an importer is not available for a particular system, the Jekyll website provides a tutorial that offers step by step guidance in creating one.
Jekyll uses the Liquid templating language to process templates. A liquid is used to load dynamic content by controlling the logic flow, the object placement and the output of an object. By manipulating these features of Liquid, their variations and available themes, it is now entirely possible to generate Jekyll websites that eliminate any trace of the short- comings of static websites, allowing the resurgence of this format to continue its momentum.