Workflow for writing a post

So here is where I need to get used to Jekyll and how things are done. I will end up automating this when I am sure of the process, but for now, I am just going to work my way through it.

  1. Start up the local Jekyll server:
    • I opened Terminal and used cd to get to the folder containing my site.
    • Next I started the Jekyll server locally using jekyll serve.
    • This gave me the address of the local server - in my case - so I went there in my browser to see the default page.
  2. My goal is to write a new blog post (this one in fact).
    • For advice on creating a new post, I went to the Jekyll docs.
    • Jekyll needs the file name to be a specific format which includes the date and title.
    • Looking in the _posts folder of the site folder, I see the previous post file is titled
    • As it is now 10th March 2015, I am saving this file as:
    • Saving at this point shows a Jekyll error in the Terminal, but the next stage will fix that.
  3. Front matter:
    • Jekyll specifies that each file must have a front matter block in a certain format.
    • The header has certain essential parameters and then more optional ones.
    • My site was imported from WordPress, so the older posts contain several header parameters that may not be necessary any more.
    • Look at the screen shot below to see what I have in this post file:
    • After saving, I see this entry in my Terminal:
    • Regenerating: 1 file(s) changed at 2015-03-10 13:50:40 ...done in 0.421789 seconds.
    • Now I can see the title and the start of the post on my first page and when clicking on it, I can see all the text.
  4. Adding an image:
    • This is not really necessary for this post, but I wanted to document it as part of the workflow.
    • I wanted to show the front matter and start of this post, so I took a screen shot of the top of my editor window.
    • Then I renamed the image file and moved it into the images folder of my site.
    • Now to embed the image using this Markdown: ![Post header][2]
    • As you can see, I prefer to group all links (images & URLs) at the end of the document and keep the body of the text as clean as possible.
    • Post header
  5. Proofing:
    • Now that I have the text of my post, I need to proof-read it from the local Jekyll server.
    • The jekyll serve command running in Terminal keeps the pages up-to-date as you edit, but you will need to refresh your page in the browser manually to check your changes.
    • And I have found that if you make a major change to the site e.g. a CSS file or a config file, then it is best to stop the Jekyll server and start it again to make it re-build all the files.
    • To be completely sure, stop the server and run jekyll build in Terminal although this may only do what jekyll serve does on startup anyway.
  6. Publishing:
    • Now it is time to publish.
    • As I am using GitHub Pages to host, the site files are all part of a single Git repository.
    • And as I understand it, the data must be in the master branch.
    • Opening up the GitHub client, I see that my repository has a bunch of changes:
      • the file I am working on
      • the image I inserted
      • feed.xml
      • index.html files for each page
    • This is as expected, since all pages are pre-generated when using Jekyll, so pages of posts must be re-rendered when a new post is added to the top.
    • Note that several of the files appear twice: once from where they are edited and once from the _site folder which serves them.
    • Just two simple steps now, using the GitHub client:
      1. Commit
      2. Sync
    • And that’s it. My new post is online and ready for reading.
  7. Summary:
    • This was my first post after the one I wrote when setting up, so the first real post.
    • While there appear to be a lot of steps, none of them are difficult.
    • But I do have 4 apps running to do it:
      1. TextWrangler for editing
      2. Terminal to run the local Jekyll server
      3. Safari to check the finished post
      4. GitHub to commit and upload
    • Automating this is an obvious next step, so stay tuned…

Tags: jekyll   markdown   web