Blog

Making your first Jekyll theme: Part 1

This is a guest post by David Darnes, creator of the Alembic theme.

By nature, any well structured site that has easily editable content is ‘themeable’ — a layer, or skin, that presents content in the way the owner or creator intended; Jekyll is no different. Pages, posts and any other form of formatted content can be segregated from the templating files.

Themes for Jekyll have been around for a while, but the process of installing a theme was a bit clunky. Content files and templating files would have to be carefully copied over. But, with the introduction of Gem-based themes, themes can now be installed with a couple of lines of code.

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See you at GitHub Universe

Next week the Siteleaf team is heading west for the GitHub Universe conference, October 11th and 12th in San Francisco.

If you are attending the conference or in the nearby area, hit us up! We’d love to meet up and chat with as many Siteleaf users as possible.

A few talks we’re excited to see at GitHub Universe:

  • Real-time collaborative editing: the science behind the magic
  • Caring for your fellow developers
  • Tools as a catalyst for culture change
  • Accessibility: it’s more than just screen readers
  • Balancing identity & privacy: building tools to help users

As a proud sponsor of the conference, we’re excited to offer 15% discount on tickets. Use the promo code COMMUNITYU1715 and come hang with us!

Jekyll 3.5.2 is here

Recently GitHub Pages upgraded to Jekyll 3.5.2, and we’ve now made it our default to match.

This update includes a few enhancements and bug fixes, most notably one which should dramatically speed up generation of your site! In testing jekyllrb.com, generation went from 18 seconds down to 8.

For a full list of revisions check out the release notes.

If you are still using Jekyll 3.4, here’s everything that’s new in 3.5 so far:

  • Jekyll now uses Liquid 4, the latest! It comes with whitespace control, new filters concat and compact, loop performance improvements and many fixes.
  • Themes can specify dependencies and Jekyll will require those. This makes it easier for theme writers to use plugins.
  • The gems key in the _config.yml is now plugins. This is backwards-compatible, as Jekyll will gracefully upgrade gems to plugins if you use the former.
  • Filters like sort now allow you to sort based on a subvalue, e.g. {% assign sorted = site.posts | sort: "image.alt_text" %}.
  • You can now use tab-separated data files.
  • Using layout: none will now produce a file with no layout. Equivalent to layout: null, with the exception that none is a truthy value and won’t be overwritten by front matter defaults.
  • Dramatically faster site generation!
  • Lots more bug fixes.
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Add SSL to your site for free

Add SSL to your site free

Is your website encrypted?

Back in 2014, Google announced it would begin using HTTPS encryption as search ranking signal. If you are still serving your site over basic HTTP in 2017, you may be missing a key part in your SEO strategy.

The good news? It’s never been easier to jump aboard the HTTPS train and secure your traffic.

HTTPS (also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security) uses SSL/TLS certificates to identify your website and encrypt data in transit to your website’s visitors.

Google will be pushing further with the release of Chrome 56 later this month, announcing it will mark all non-HTTPS pages containing password and credit card input fields as “Not Secure”. Eventually, Chrome plans to show a Not Secure warning for all pages served over HTTP, regardless of whether or not the page contains sensitive input fields. Here’s what visitors will see in the new version:

Treatment of HTTP pages with password or credit card form fields in Chrome 56

There are several ways obtain an SSL certificate for your site — many of them are completely free, and only take a few minutes to set up. Since Siteleaf supports publishing to any web host, you can choose the option that best fits your needs.

We’ll review our favorites in this blog post, starting with CloudFront (which we use ourselves for this blog).

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More whitelisted plugins

Hot on the heels of the Jekyll 3.3.1 update earlier this week, four additional plugins have been whitelisted for GitHub Pages.

These plugins are specifically geared toward software documentation and open source code projects on GitHub, but may come in handy for any type of website.

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Jekyll update & new whitelisted plugins

We have updated our default Jekyll version from 3.3.0 to 3.3.1, to match the recent update at GitHub Pages.

This update includes a few minor enhancements and bug fixes. For a full list of revisions check out the release notes.

Also included in this update are two new whitelisted plugins.

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JAMstack e-commerce with Siteleaf & Snipcart

This is a guest post by Charles Ouellet, co-founder of Snipcart.

If you’re reading this blog, you know static web development is trendy, to say the least. Unless you just got out of a years-long meditation retreat in a cave with no Internet. If that’s your case, well, hum, welcome back!

At Snipcart, our developer-first shopping cart platform, we’ve been diving into static site generators and related tools for 2+ years now. And we believe they are the next big thing.

A short while ago, a friend of ours gave an in-depth conference on why “static” is a bad word for the modern front-end stack, aka the JAMstack (JavaScript, APIs, & Markup).

And he’s right:

Static definition

There’s nothing “undesirable” or “uninteresting” about the modern static websites & apps developers are pushing online. It’s in fact quite the opposite.

As a community, we need to give this new paradigm a name worthy of its actual value, and that’s exactly what the JAMstack is.

But this post isn’t a philosophical essay on the benefits of the API economy and the modular development approach. It’s about putting together a killer e-commerce workflow that ticks all of the boxes on the JAMstack checklist:

  • Entire site on a CDN
  • Atomic deploys
  • Instant cache invalidation
  • Everything lives in Git
  • Automated builds

So today, I’m going to show you how to build an API-centric, fast and secure e-commerce project in 5 simple steps. And I’m going to use the right JAMstack tools to do so.

Let’s do it!

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Creating tag pages with Jekyll and Siteleaf

In this tutorial, we show you approaches for creating tag pages in Jekyll and Siteleaf.

This is part two of a tutorial series on Jekyll and Siteleaf. Check out part one on author pages.

The plugin approach

If you plan to use more than a dozen or so tags, a plugin can save you from having to create individual documents for each. This approach lets authors and content managers easily create new tags on the fly, while having autocomplete available in the Siteleaf UI.

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Creating author pages with Jekyll and Siteleaf

At Oak, we recently launched a new website for our friends at Collaborative Fund, built on Siteleaf. The site features a blog for their prolific content, including author and tag pages.

In this tutorial, we show you how to set up your Jekyll blog with author pages and leverage Siteleaf to maintain your content.

The approach we use in this tutorial can be easily adapted to other sets of content as well, not just authors. It also is plugin-less, which means it can be readily published to GitHub Pages on Siteleaf’s free Developer plan.

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Jekyll environments

When working with Jekyll and Siteleaf, you typically have 3 distinct environments to help you code, preview, and publish your site:

  1. development - this is your local machine where theme development takes place. Run jekyll serve and your site will be accessible at http://localhost:4000.

  2. staging - sites on paid plans come with preview functionality. Hit the “Generate preview” button in Siteleaf, and your site will be built with a unique URL without affecting your live site. This URL is shareable, so you can send it to colleagues outside of Siteleaf for feedback or proofreading.

  3. production - where your final website is generated and hosted. This could be GitHub Pages, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud Files, or any host that supports (S)FTP (DigitalOcean, MediaTemple, etc).

Starting today, Siteleaf will now set the {{ jekyll.environment }} variable to one of the environments above (previously both preview and publish used production).

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Jekyll Plugins and Themes are here 🎉

Today’s the day! We’re excited to update to Jekyll 3.2, which brings over 100 improvements including Gem-based themes.

In addition to themes, we’re extremely happy to introduce support for third-party Jekyll plugins. Sites on the new Team, Business, and Enterprise plans can now install and leverage custom plugins to extend the functionality of Jekyll and Siteleaf. As always, whitelisted plugins are supported on all other plans.

Sites on the free developer plan can make use of the new GitHub Pages-approved Minima theme, while all paid plans (including legacy and Personal plans) can take full advantage of custom themes. Themes package layouts, includes, and stylesheets in a way that can be overridden by your site’s content. It is a great way to maintain a separation of content and code, and makes it possible to share themes across multiple sites.

We also gave the Jekyll build process a nice speed boost across the board. In some cases, you may notice your site building up to 2x as fast!

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GitHub Integrations Directory

We’re happy to be included by GitHub in the official GitHub Integrations Directory.

Connect your website repo with Siteleaf and your Markdown content is editable in a friendly CMS designed with non-technical writers and clients in mind. Build sites using the tools you love, and make it easy to others to contribute without having to write code or understand Git.

Visit the Siteleaf integration and start using Siteleaf as a CMS for your Jekyll and GitHub Pages sites today.

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