My jekyll workflow


As a programmer I sort and collect a lot of research, my problem has always been were do I store all this research? I already had Jekyll in mind, but it always seemed so daunting to get into. The workflow I came up with enables you to do a couple of things:

  1. Publish articles online
  2. 100% free and secure
  3. Research paper attributes
  4. Collaboration with colleagues and the world
  5. Automated uploading/downloading
  6. Works on any device

1. Store articles online

Jekyll is a blogging system similar to Wordpress. The main difference is that unlike Wordpress its 100% secure. Jekyll accomplishes this by generating static html pages instead of relying on a database that will never be 100% secure. Another upside with static html pages is that they are fast. Jekyll generates the html pages by parsing markdown files. Markdown files are human readable text files that are almost like normal text with a few differences. More about that later.

2. 100% free and secure

Github pages is a free offering from Github that can host your Jekyll blog for free. It also takes care of generating the static html files from your markdown text files. So no need to install anything on your computer. You may also use your own domain name if you have this.

3. Research style attributes

Pixyll is a Jekyll theme. You can quickly install it on github by forking the official pixyll repo. Its responsive so it looks good on iPhones and iPads as well as desktop. It is also the most comprehensive theme I’ve found as it natively supports Google analytics, Discuss integration, code fencing, paragraph linking, ==highlighting== , hyper-linking , quoting, citing, footnotes, tables, lists, images, video <!--hidden comments--> , strike-outs, emphasizing, italicizing, emojies🚀 etc. I personally like to use dropbox to host image and video as this enables me to also use this workflow on my iPhone. More about that later.

4. Collaboration with colleagues and the world

If you are a programmer you most likely already know how to use github collaboratively. If you don’t know your way around git, you can still use github to collaborate with others through their online text editor capabilities. Since Pixyll has native discus integration you can also use this as a way to communicate and collaborate with everyone.

5. Automated uploading/downloading

I need focus when I do research. My writing is often messy and I like to move fast. I rename files, delete and move, then I re-arange it all again. Its all very unorganized at first, until it finds its own path and turns into something more refined.

It has to be as fast as speed of thought, anything slower and you wont be “nudged” into using it. So when an idea strikes there is no barrier that holds you back. Updating your blog should be as easy as editing a local text-file.

This is were GitSync comes in. GitSync does all this for you, with out lifting a finger. ==Every file change you make is synced to github instantly==. If you collaborate with others, you may get the occasional modal window requesting which file you want to keep. You get 3 choices. Use yours, theirs or a combination of both.

desk GitSync.io automates all uploads and downloads to github.com

6. Works on any device

On my macbook i use Atom.io as the Text editor for the markdown files. It supports previewing markdown files with a Github flavored markdown style. I set Jekyll to use the Redcarpet markdown since it is the only markdown flavor I’ve found that supports code fencing when hosting on Github pages. On my iPhone i use Textastic as the text editor. It also supports markdown and iCloud. You need to bring iCloud into the fold if you want to have text live stream from your iPhone to your blog.

desk Atom.io (The green and orange colors indicates git status)

In conclusion:

It took about 3 days to research, learn, contribute and implement a good workflow with Jekyll. It could take you as little as 30sec: vimeo

This article was also published by OpenSource.com