Why Jekyll?


If you follow my open source contributions, it is no secret that I am and continue to be an avid Drupal user. So why did I choose to move my blog off of Drupal, and more specifically why am I building it with Jekyll and hosting it on GitHub Pages ?

The primary reason is that the revised architecture allows me to focus more on writing by spending less time maintaining the blog platform. The secondary reason is that I love to learn and enjoy challenging my own conclusions. One of the most dangerous things you can do in my line of work is reject other tools based on biased assumptions, because everything looks like a nail when all you have is a hammer. Drupal can be configured as an excellent blogging platform, however evaluating the right tool for the job must also account for the people using it and the context in which it is being leveraged.

Jekyll is a command line tool that converts templates and text files into flat HTML pages which is how it eliminates the maintenance headaches of any database driven website. My design skills are equivalent to a first grader drawing a blue duck with crayons, so it also helps to have a blank canvas where I can use front end frameworks as they are documented without the overhead of integrating them into a Drupal theme.

The time saved by a website building tool would be all for naught if the site wasn’t easy to host. GitHub Pages is a free, Jekyll-aware hosting solution where deployments are automatically triggered when pushing commits to the origin repository. If the model of GitHub Pages changes in the future, I can always move my blog to another provider on a cheap plan since static websites are portable and much less resource intensive than CMS based applications.

This architecture is admittedly not for everyone, but if you are command line oriented and your site doesn’t require complex page rendering logic, this setup is a cost-effective solution that eliminates the complexity of database driven systems. Given my affinity for GitHub workflows and the static nature of this blog, it is a perfect fit for ChrisPliakas.com.