Originally posted via my blog here
I spent a good amount of time researching which static site generator I wanted to use for my front end web dev blogging journey. As someone who used Wordpress, Weebly & Squarespace, I wanted to host my own blog in a less expensive manner while taking advantage of the security benefits. Let alone, I knew that by creating one would allow me to have full control in what I put, along with the look and feel of the design. Believe it or not, this website actually helped me understand the purpose of JAMStack and the benefits on using this type of setup.
I don’t know how many cups of Earl Grey tea I’ve drank, but I remember feeling wired up in diving straight into Jekyll, as I was getting myself acquainted with GitHub. And it was on a Sunday. Which…should’ve been my day of rest and meditating, but what do I know? Throw a toddler in the mix, so I needed a good excuse to get my kid to play on his computer while I was tinkering on my own computer.
And holy cow, it was a pretty ironic experience for me.
Now, I’m pretty sure there are some folks out there who have a different experience than I did. This post is just to document on what happened when attempting to try out Jekyll on Windows vs on Mac.
Upon checking on the official Jekyll website, the following was noted:
“While Windows is not an officially-supported platform, it can be used to run Jekyll with the proper tweaks. This page aims to collect some of the general knowledge and lessons that have been unearthed by Windows users.”
Despite the caveat on Windows not being officially supported, I decided to take a chance in following the steps that were outlined in having Jekyll installed on my PC. What helped me during the process was watching Mike Dane’s video on how to install Jekyll on the Windows platform.
Not counting the down time in making sure my toddler doesn’t rage quit on his video game and preventing meltdowns, I would say the actual set up took less than 10 minutes. I managed to get a starter theme going and was able to have a static website created. Pretty easy, right? And so I figured, “Well, I can blog more now. The set up should be pretty seamless on my MacBook, right?”
I was so wrong.
My husband was kind enough to reformat our 2015 MacBook and I managed to install the latest OS (Catalina) since the version of Ruby installed on the MacOS meets the requirement of having Jekyll installed.
What started as a seemly smooth process ended up being a nightmare. And by nightmare, I mean that the permission settings were preventing me from installing Jekyll. Even with
sudo gem install jekyll bundler added, I was still facing the same permission settings issue.
I could’ve swore I said to the computer “BUT I AM THE ADMIN OF THIS DANG MACBOOK,” but it didn’t want to listen 🤷🏻♀️ I’ve also tried the Homebrew method. Still didn’t work. After spending two hours researching and attempting different options (i.e. changing the PATHs, reinstalling Ruby), I decided that it was not worth the hassle. Or my sanity. Plus, I overheard my husband that it was time for me to sleep because it was getting close to 1 AM in the morning and I had to go to work the next day.
Reeling in with the feeling of frustration, I ended up deleting my Jekyll site and went with Gatsby. I assumed that I was going to have the same experience as I did with Jekyll setup. Thank goodness it wasn’t the case.
As someone who wants to work with React, Gatsby offered a better documentation setup on their website along with understanding how Gatsby works under the hood.
One thing I wanted to note, however, was that when I installed Jekyll on my Windows machine, changing the themes weren’t as seamless as I thought. Too often, I’ve encountered error messages when building the Jekyll website that the theme wasn’t compatible due to the gem version not being supported. Some themes were okay, and some of them really threw off the design of the Jekyll website.
Other than that, I’m glad that it was my first step to trying out static website generators and am happily using Gatsby. Currently, it’s deployed through Netlify. I’m open to hearing your experiences with Jekyll and feedback on solutions in having Jekyll run seamlessly on the MacBook.