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Not so long ago I decided to try out Middleman. While it theoretically met all my needs, I found myself almost never actually writing. This was mostly due to me finding Middleman had died in new and interesting ways any time I would fire it up to work on a draft. So I waited. I figured if I stuck around the quirks would go away, but three years later I was still fighting it. Broken dependencies was the most common fight, and this was the case in early January of this year. So I decided to switch to Jekyll, which was my second choice three years ago. It is essentially the same thing with a few different opinions on minor things. The biggest immediately noticable difference is the use of the Liquid template language. Other than that it was almost trivial to switch over. Jekyll also uses Markdown, which meant I only needed to port over the few custom Ruby templates I had made to Liquid.

Impressions

This is my third article of 2020. That’s two more than I wrote in the last three years. This is at least partly due to Jekyll not getting in the way.

Good

  • Fast - Middleman is oddly slow. Like super slow. Like something is wrong slow. Jekyll, which is also Ruby-based, is fast. Not quite as fast as Hugo (written in Go), but fast enough that I never think about it.
  • Docs - The documentation is much better than Middleman’s. It’s better organized and more complete. The release notes are better. It’s just all around a lot easier to find answers to questions.
  • Stability - One of the things that seemed to make Middleman routinely implode was broken dependencies. There were too many for my plain vanilla setup. Jekyll seems much simpler for dependencies if all you want is a simple blog. I suppose I’m assuming at this point, but if I’m correct this means I’ll fight less with keeping things running.

Bad

Nothing bad so far. :-)

Time Will Tell

I guess the only real measure of success is to see if I keep writing.