[Home] Documenting with Jekyll


Install Jekyll to use for writing documentation in Markdown syntax with code highlighting.

Create a site which has a list of article categories. See example

Known Issues

This document doesn't describe how to address the issue of relative paths of stylesheets, javascripts, etc in _layouts/default.html.

Putting Jekyll to Good Use

Installing Jekyll

As per the documentation

sudo gem install jekyll
sudo gem install rdiscount
#sudo apt-get install python-pygments

Because pygments requires extra syntax, I prefer to use highlight.js instead. For my needs, highlighting for Bash, C++, CSS, HTML, and JavaScript suffices. I make the assumption that highlight.zip is downloaded to ~/Downloads/highlight.zip.

I also recommend showdown.js rather than rdiscount, but rdiscount works well enough and has the (dis)advantage of rendering server-side.

Configuring Jekyll

The most important information can be found here at the Jekyll wiki

Creating a home for our site:

cd ~/
mkdir blog

Create a site style:

cd ~/blog
mkdir images/
wget http://fastr.github.com/images/ribbedbg.png \
  -O images/ribbedbg.png
mkdir stylesheets/


body {
  background-color: #789;
a {
  color: inherit;
  text-decoration: none;
  border-bottom:1px dotted;
  padding-left: 2px;
  padding-right: 2px;
  text-shadow: 1px 1px 1px #888;
  -webkit-text-shadow: 1px 1px 1px #888;
  -moz-text-shadow: 1px 1px 1px #888;
a:hover {
  border-bottom: 1px solid;
#article, #header {
  width: 950px;
  background-color: #FFF;
  padding: 10px;
  padding-left: 15px;
  margin: 15px;
  border-radius: 5px;
  -moz-border-radius: 5px;
  -webkit-border-radius: 5px;
pre {
  width: 900px;
  padding: 5px;
  padding-right: 10px;
  padding-left: 10px;
  margin: 5px;
  margin-top: 20px;
  margin-bottom: 30px;
  box-shadow: 5px 5px 5px #888;
  -webkit-box-shadow: 5px 5px 5px #888;
  -moz-box-shadow: 5px 5px 5px #888;
  border-radius: 5px;
  -moz-border-radius: 5px;
  -webkit-border-radius: 5px;

Using highlight.js rather than pygments:

cd ~/blog
mkdir vendor/
# highlight.js as mentioned above
mv ~/Downloads/highlight.zip vendor/ 
cd vendor/
unzip highlight.zip
rm highlight.zip

Create a site template:

cd ~/blog
mkdir _layouts


<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>&#123;&#123; page.title }}</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/stylesheets/fastr.css.css" media="screen" />
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/vendor/highlight/styles/sunburst.css" media="screen" />
<script src="/vendor/highlight/highlight.pack.js"></script>

  <h1 id="header">&#123;&#123; page.title }}</h1>

  <div id="article">
    &#123;&#123; content }}


layout: default
  &#123;&#123; content }}
<em>Updated at &#123;&#123; page.updated_at }} </em>

This next part is a bit of a hack, but it will list all of the categories and also each article by category.


Note: In the ruby "underneath the hood" (TM) categories is an iterator which returns two elements. The first is the category name. The second is an array of posts. Since liquid (part of Jekyll) doesn't consider the string an iterator, it skips over it in the posts loop. Hence for posts in category only loops over the second argument. The same affect can be acheived with rake, but that won't run on github. If you care to dig into liquid, there are alternate ways to solve this problem.

layout: default
title: Fastr Blog
&#123;% for category in site.categories %}
  <li><a href="#&#123;&#123; category | first }}">&#123;&#123; category | first }}</a></li>
&#123;% endfor %}

<h2>Articles by Category:</h2>
&#123;% for category in site.categories %}
  <li><a name="&#123;&#123; category | first }}">&#123;&#123; category | first }}</a>
    &#123;% for posts in category %}
      &#123;% for post in posts %}
        <li><a href="&#123;&#123; post.url }}">&#123;&#123; post.title }}</a></li>
      &#123;% endfor %}
    &#123;% endfor %}
&#123;% endfor %}

&#123;% for post in site.categories.quickstart %}
<!-- h2><a href=".&#123;&#123; post.url }}">&#123;&#123; post.title }}</a></h2 -->
<!-- &#123;&#123; post.content }} -->
&#123;% endfor %}

Page generated: &#123;&#123; site.time | date_to_string }}

Script to create articles:

Articles must be in the format YYYY-MM-DD-Title-of-Article.markup such as 2010-08-05-Installing-Jekyll.markdown. This script puts the date and format for you, that way you just write the title.



if [ ! -n "$&#123;TITLE}" ]; then
  echo "USAGE: mkpost title-of-post"
  exit 1

if [ ! -n "$&#123;EDITOR}" ]; then
  if [ -n "`which vim`" ]; then
  elif [ -n "`which nano`" ]; then
  elif [ -n "`which emacs`" ]; then
    echo "Couldn't find an editor. Tried vim, nano, & emacs. Try \`export EDITOR=your-favorite-editor\` "

FILE=`date "+%Y-%m-%d"`-$&#123;TITLE}.markdown

if [ ! -e "$&#123;POSTDIR}/$&#123;FILE}" ]
  mkdir -p $&#123;POSTDIR}
  cat - > $&#123;POSTDIR}/$&#123;FILE} << EOF
layout: article
title: `echo $&#123;TITLE} | sed 's/-/ /g'`
categories: !!UPDATED ME!!
updated_at: `date +'%Y-%m-%d'`
rendered: site.time

You just created " $&#123;POSTDIR}/$&#123;FILE} "! 

Notice the UPDATED ME in the categories above.
Please change that to be a category.

Your article starts after the last -- above.


    Code blocks are indented by 4 spaces

Paragraphs have two spaces between lines.
Sentances have one.

  * lists can be bullet
  * like this


  1. can be numbered
  2. like this

Large Header

Small Header

>  block quotes have
>  a carret and two spaces
>    and can contain code
>  * bullets
>  1. etc


$EDITOR $&#123;POSTDIR}/$&#123;FILE}

Creating an article:

cd ~/blog
./mkpost Name-of-Article
# new file is created in ~/blog/_posts/

Formating an article:

layout: default
title: Awesome Post
categories: foo, bar, baz

This will be the best blog ever.

Configure our site:


destination: /var/www/your_folder_goes_here
pygments: true
markdown: rdiscount
lsi: true
exclude: mkarticle
permalink: /articles/:title.html

Hosting the site on Github

Create an account

Jekyll sites can be hosted via Github Pages

  1. visit github.com
  2. click Signup
  3. create account (we assume the user fastr for this demo)

Add an ssh key

  1. visit your Account Page
  2. click Add another public key
  3. the Title may be any name you wish
  4. cat ~/.ssh/id_rsaa.pub 2>/dev/null || ( ssh-keygen && cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub )
  5. past the output from the line above into the Key

Setup Git

sudo apt-get install git-core
git config --global user.name "Your Name Goes Here"
git config --global user.email your_email_goes_here@email.com

Add the site repository

  1. visit github.com
  2. click New repository
  3. Project Details
    • Name would be fastr.github.com

Create the repository

cd ~/blog # do this instead of `mkdir fastr.github.com`; cd fastr.github.com
git init
touch README.md
git add .
git commit -m 'first commit'
git remote add origin git@github.com:fastr/fastr.github.com.git
git push origin master





namespace :tags do
  task :generate do
    puts 'Generating tags...'
    require 'rubygems'
    require 'jekyll'
    include Jekyll::Filters

    options = Jekyll.configuration(&#123;})
    site = Jekyll::Site.new(options)

    html =<<-HTML
layout: default
title: Tags



    site.categories.sort.each do |category, posts|
      html << <<-HTML
      <h3 id="#&#123;category}">#&#123;category}</h3>

      html << '<ul class="posts">'
      posts.each do |post|
        post_data = post.to_liquid
        html << <<-HTML
            <div>#&#123;date_to_string post.date}</div>
            <a href="#&#123;post.url}">#&#123;post_data['title']}</a>
      html << '</ul>'

    File.open('tags.html', 'w+') do |file|
      file.puts html

    puts 'Done.'

Official Ruby

To keep things simple, it's probably best to use the official version of ruby and rubygems rather than the pre-packaged ubuntu version.

If you have Ubuntu 10.10, using the prepackaged version should be fine, but there are several issues with earlier versions and ruby1.8 vs ruby1.9 yuckiness.

I would always recommend the official version of rubygems over the pre-packaged version.

Installing GCC (to build ruby)

sudo apt-get install build-essential

Installing Ruby

Just grabbing the latest release which passes the test cases should be fine.

Just google 'ruby download' or follow my instructions blindly.

cd ~/
wget ftp://ftp.ruby-lang.org//pub/ruby/ruby-1.9-stable.tar.gz
tar xf ruby*
cd ruby-*
./configure && make && make test
sudo make install

Installing RubyGems

Easy enough to install. Just google 'rubygems download' or follow my instructions blindly.

cd ~/
wget http://production.cf.rubygems.org/rubygems/rubygems-1.3.7.tgz
tar xf rubygems-*
cd rubygems-*
sudo ruby setup.rb
Updated at 2010-08-02
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