My wife Ashley’s site works well on Jekyll, so I figured I’d give it a go. I want something that lets me add content without so much hassle, and I’m trying to be better at documenting the things I’m doing in the open.
I read the Jekyll docs when I helped Ashley out, as she ran into a few odd quirks around system Ruby installs, theme gems vs. normal files, and a few other bits.
Being, well, me, I decided that I wanted a particular style for the site, and that meant switching themes. This looks super simple on paper. Reader, it is in fact not simple.
One of the nice things about “Gem-based themes” is that they wrap everything up in a single dependency that you can’t obviously see or touch.
One of the deeply annoying things about them is that they wrap everything up in a single dependency that you can’t obviously see or touch.
I spent a good bit of time just smacking my head against vaguely unhelpful error messages whereby the theme gem wouldn’t load, or would load but wouldn’t be visible etc. Eventually, I fixed this by starting again with a completely clean site, just making the minimal changes needed to switch theme, and re-creating/copying the bits I’d done previously. This certainly didn’t fix everything.
After a bunch of searching and failures, I ran across and excellent blog post which laid out the key issues: it’s all fine and well to switch theme, but if your page layout also change, then nothing bloody works. I used Natalya’s layouts and templates as a basis for my own. Which of course means, I cloned them then made some changes to suit myself. Go open source!
Once I’d got this all working, I set about customising things.