Oliver Pattison just published a piece called Consider Jekyll. Where he shares some insight into the benefits he’s found in building websites with Jekyll. He does a great job building the case for static sites in general and had me nodding in agreement with so many of his points.
I don’t mean to suggest that static sites are always better than dynamic sites. I recommend using the appropriate tool for the job. Static sites excel for mostly text-based sites with only moderate needs for dynamically generated markup or content that is updated in real time. A surprising number of websites fit this description. I would argue that most sites running dynamic server-side code don’t really need it and are paying a price in complexity or performance compared to a similar static implementation.
I really like his honesty here, admitting that static sites are not the answer to all web needs and encourages to choose the appropriate tool for the job. This is definitely a point I think a lot of designers and developers miss — weighing the options before creating another website. What exactly are needed as a solution for the problem you’re trying to solve at hand? List your needs, weigh the benefits of each platform, think and then choose the right tool for the job.
I’ll admit, Jekyll isn’t the answer to all the problems I’ve faced but definitely has been an elegant solution for a good amount of them. One recently that I faced was using Jekyll as the marketing site where the main purpose of the site is to have static pages for product information while also having blogging capabilities.
I knew I would have speed and ease of maintenance for the site by using Jekyll, but the blogging side of things had a couple of concerns. One of the concerns were having multiple authors writing on the blog. In a CMS, authors are automatically identified by their login credentials, as a result when that specific author publishes a post, the CMS automatically fills in information about the author.
I had setup the Jekyll project to automatically render author sections based on a custom YAML field in each post, but I admit it is a bit manual and isn’t as elegant as a traditional CMS.
After I weighed the benefits and concerns, I decided Jekyll was the right way to go. Having a fast website and an infinite lifespan for our posts were more important to me than my concerns. As blogging is a central part of the business’s workflow.
If you’ve been mulling over whether Jekyll is right for you, check out Oliver’s sweet article!