As you can guess from the title, I migrated my website to Jekyll (from Wordpress). I won’t tell you what Jekyll is or how do you switch to it, as there are already plenty of posts on the web about this. What I want to tell you is what I think about Jekyll and whether the migration was worth it.
Spoiler: yes, it was.
Jekyll: the good
Faster than Wordpress
Wordpress is mainly about WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get), but you can also go the WYSIWYW way if you prefer (What you see is what you write). In other words, you can write your posts in plain HTML, or Markdown (thanks to the Jetpack plugin). The latter is what I used to do, but the downside is a slower productivity: you need to click the Preview button to get a preview of the resulting page.
This was very annoying for me: page dynamically generated + my hosting is in the US + I’m in Italy = long delay before I could see how my page looked like.
With Jekyll, you generate the HTML of your page on your PC. To preview your changes, you press F5 in your browser and the page is reloaded instantaneously.
Safer than Wordpress
No more backups of databases, no more security updates, forget about typing an admin password.
You generate your site locally on your PC, then you upload the content of the
_site folder in the
public_html folder of your webserver. Done. I just track all my sources with git and this is the backup.
Lots of plugins, yet you don’t need them
Really, at the time of writing this, I have zero Jekyll plugins installed. On my old Wordpress blog I was using twelve. That’s because with Wordpress you install plugins with a single click, and you site gets so bloated that you don’t even realize it.
Jekyll provides out of the box almost all I need, including syntax highlighting of code which alone is worth the switch (seriously). For those things that Jekyll doesn’t offer you by default, it is actually easier to add them by yourself rather than installing a dedicated plugin. This way you won’t have to
gem install plugin-foo if you want to generate your site from another machine.
Jekyll: the bad
You need Ruby
While this is not as bad as requiring PHP+MySQL, it is still a dependency hard to satisfy on certain platforms (e.g. Windows). So it’s unlikely that you can publish a new post from your friend’s random PC.
This is actually by design. Still, if you run a blog, chances are that you want your readers to be able to leave comments. I ended up using Disqus, which is bad and I never liked it, but I couldn’t find any alternative (unless you are skilled enough to do things like this). This is very sad and I hope it can change in the future.
So, yes it was worth it!
I was tired of Wordpress and I wanted to try something different and simpler. The migration was easier than I expected (the hardest part was migrating the comments). So I can say that I’m happy with Jekyll and the switch was worth the effort.