If either of you read my posts by actually visiting this site, rather than by using an RSS feed reader (such as feedly), then you may have noticed some changes in its appearance. That’s because I’ve moved this (non-)blog from WordPress to Jekyll.

JekyllJekyll is a blog-aware generator for static sites. What does that mean, in English? Basically, it means that Jekyll is much simpler than something like WordPress. When you visit a WordPress site and ask to see something, it says, “Just a moment, let me cobble together something for you to look at,” and then it shows you the page. With Jekyll, that cobbling together happens once and only once each time you update the site. The WordPress approach of cobbling the site together on the fly is a great approach if the site needs to interact with the readers in an intelligent way. But for a typical blog that’s complete overkill—especially as so much dynamic content can be added to otherwise static pages simply by copying and pasting a few lines of Javascript (have a look on this site at the Disqus comments system, the Google search box and the Twitter box, for example).

What I’ve said so far is really from a reader’s perspective. What about from a writer’s perspective? Here, Jekyll is much less advanced than WordPress. With WordPress, a blog author can log in via a web page, do lots of pointing and clicking, add content using a nice editor that lets you do more pointing and clicking, and generally manage the content by pointing and clicking. Very friendly indeed.

In contrast, Jekyll is really designed with slightly geeky people in mind. (Having said that, it’s not inconceivable that there might be some non-geek-friendly sites or applications that are internally powered by Jekyll: leave a comment below if you know of any.) But the level of geekness required is not very high. You might struggle if you are using Windows (full stop!), but if you are using a Mac or Linux and if you are comfortable using the terminal, then it’s quite straightforward. Just follow the quick-start guide. And if you aspire one of these days to become even a semi-geek (go on, admit it!), then starting a Jekyll blog would be a great way to start. And it’s free!

I’m doing a lot more work “under the bonnet” now, but I’m actually finding it easier, and much more fun, than faffing about with WordPress plugins.

If you want to know more about migrating from WordPress to Jekyll, I made some notes about the transition on my software blog, which is also now powered by Jekyll.

And if you want to see how it works under the bonnet, have a look at this site’s repository on GitHub.