Workshop Prep

To get ready for this workshop, please create a free GitHub account if you do not have one already. That is all you really need!

This workshop introduces GitHub Pages using GitHub’s web interface, demonstrating several ways to create gh-pages without using Jekyll locally. Basic familiarity with the GitHub web interface and HTML will be helpful. For quick introductions check out GitHub’s Hello World guide and w3schools HTML Tutorial.

Optional Prep [optional!]

For more advanced uses of GitHub Pages and Jekyll you will want a text editor, Git, Ruby, and Jekyll installed on your computer. The instructions below will set up your local development environment and provide a bit of background.

Text Editor

When working with code you should have a good text editor. Word processors such as MS Word can not be used to create or edit code. Windows Notepad does not handle UTF-8 encoding or UNIX line endings that are standard for cross platform applications. For basic editing, Windows Notepad++, Mac TextEdit, or Linux Gedit are sufficient. However, a more complete code editor will be helpful for managing Jekyll projects.

Open-source cross platform suggestions:

Install Git

Git is a free, distributed version control system, a piece of software on your computer. GitHub is a Git repository hosting service, a place to store and sync your work in the cloud. Your GitHub Pages projects will be under Git version control, so you need the software on your machine.

Installing it is pretty straightforward:

If you are interested in using a visual GUI application integrated with GitHub, Windows and Mac users should also install GitHub Desktop using the default options. You can install GitHub Desktop in addition to other versions of Git.

There are other GUI apps available for managing and visualizing Git repositories, including Linux options.

Install Ruby

Ruby is a fairly young and developing programming language with some unique features. To use Jekyll, you do not need to know anything about Ruby, but if you are curious, check out Ruby in 20 minutes.

Frustratingly, different versions have many dependency and incompatibility problems. Because of these issues, many use Ruby Managers, such as RVM, to install and switch between versions. However, if you are just interested in working with Jekyll, using an installer for your OS should be sufficient. Jekyll requires a Ruby version 2.5.0 or higher.

Install Jekyll

Note: Jekyll does not officially support Windows, however it is cross platform and works fine (they just don’t officially write windows documentation or check for bugs). There is a Jekyll on Windows page, but it can be out of date and inaccurate.

Jekyll is a Gem, a software package installed via Ruby’s management system called RubyGems (similar to Python’s Pip). Open a terminal and type:

gem install jekyll bundler

This will take a minute as Gem installs all the dependencies and builds extensions (on Windows it may appear as if nothing is happening, but be patient!).

Note: Linux users may need to sudo, to avoid this install Ruby using RVM or add a gem install directory to .bashrc. On Windows, if gem returns an error about secure connections, it may be necessary to update to a newer version of RubyGems as some versions have out of date SSL certificates. Manually install the newer version by downloading the RubyGems zip package. Unzip the package, then run ruby setup.rb in the directory.