Tech 21. May. 2016

Jekyll as frontend development tool

I am used to enforce a strict separation of frontend and backend development in web projects. Major reason is the amount of effort which is needed for quality assurance for frontends and the risks of changing frontend details while implementing backend logic. So with this separation, projects got a quality gate for the frontend independent of the backend and process complexity.

As I am using Jekyll quite a time for my own website and some smaller client project, I learned to love the easiness while utilising strong features at the same time. The gracious combination of features like

  • a template engine for separating content from layout markup while use things like if, else, loops and more
  • include templates with parameters
  • scss built in
  • having static html at the end makes Jekyll quite an easy and strong tool.

So I started to use it for building static web frontends as prototype phase before going into cms or shop implementation. With that approach I got a static standalone frontend for my loved quality gate while implementing most of the frontend logic right within the frontend phase (which - by the way - uncovers a lot of conceptional questions quite early).

Because the generated result is static html, it’s possible to send a zip to a customer or makes a continious integration process quite easy. Just build everything triggered by a commit at Distelli and deploy the static code to webserver with nginx. While using Distelli webhooks it’s as well easy to communicate new versions - just grab the webhook on deploys with a zap and write it to e.g. Podio.