Learning Jekyll and Getting Started with Github Pages

First Post!

Learning how to set up Jekyll on GitHub Pages is actually a little harder than I was expecting from the outset. Mostly because most of the things that you need to set up Jekyll for local development, and a lot of the things that come prepackaged with it aren’t actually necessary for running it on GitHub Pages.

Here is the Gemfile content for this page when I first started and got things working:

source "https://rubygems.org"
# ...
gem "jekyll", "~> 3.3"

gem "jekyll-theme-slate"

# If you have any plugins, put them here!
group :jekyll_plugins do
    gem "jekyll-feed"
    gem "github-pages"

This is actually a mix of what you end up with when you create a site from scratch on GitHub Pages using the theme chooser with an empty repository. And it’s also different from the one you’d get by starting locally using the Jekyll Quick-start guide. While the Quick-start mentions this helpful guide to getting started using Jekyll on GitHub Pages (which I worked through and found to bve educational in getting things set up), it doesn’t make use of the nice (an easy to use) templates / themes that you can select through the GitHub Pages repository settings. To do that, you need to use the template HTML / CSS from the theme baked into GitHub Pages by copying default.html according to this article on GitHub Help.

Once you have your theme working, and you have a working website that you can reach, and your content is showing up the way you expect, you can begin customizing and adding in plugins, custom CSS, etc.

One final issue I ran into was a dependency issue with the Gemfile.lock vs. the Gemfile when trying to set up this site to use CircleCI (more for fun getting to know CircleCI than anything else). The issue was that when I created a local Jekyll deployment for testing with the same repository as the one I was using for GitHub Pages, I had been making a lot of ignorant changes to my Gemfile. There were conflicting entries between the two and my resolution (since there wasn’t much here to break yet) was to rename Gemfile.lock to Gemfile.lock.old left my Gemfile as it was, and then reran bundle install, which will regenerate Gemfile.lock, without any conflicts between them.

Once that was ironed out, CircleCI was able to complete without errors, but without a circle.yml, it also didn’t have any tests to run in order to say anything about the state of the project. So I put together a basic configuration:

        version: 2.4.0

        - bundle exec jekyll build

        - bundle exec htmlproofer ./_site --check-html --disable-external

The above is basically lifted from the CircleCI page in the Jekyll docs, plus specifying the ruby version that’s currently being used by GitHub Pages.

Another issue that I ran into trying to get this page to build on CircleCI was this Jekyll issue (#2938). So I had to add “vendor” to the exclude list - this was not immediately clear (since I hardly know YAML at all) because it’s listed on the fixes as > yml > exclude: [vendor] > But if you want it in a YAML list, it needs to be noted as

    - vendor
    - .... other excludes ....

So after all that, do I have a passing build? No.

htmlproofer found some <a href="#"> placeholder tags and failed.

But at least now it’s failing because of something I wrote, rather than because of a configuration issue!

Success and progress.