Project: Migrate WordPress Blog to Jekyll 4

Unix Tutorial RU based on Jekyll 4 Unix Tutorial RU based on Jekyll 4

I’ve finally decided to try running Unix Tutorial RU, copy of this blog in Russian, in Jekyll 4 CMS instead of WordPress.

Motivation for this Project

There’s a few reasons that make migration to Jekyll a very interesting project for me.

Before you ask: there’s nothing wrong with WordPress and I’m still a huge fan! But I’m embracing more and more of git-based workflows for creating and deploying things lately, so it’s a good opportunity to try blogging with git as well.

Improvements I Expect With Move to Jekyll

Here’s what I expect this project improves for me:

Much easier blog development and updating

All the development is done locally on my laptop, with any changes done and debugged locally before committing them into local git or pushing to GitHub.

Bonus: there’s no CPU/memory overhead for this development – so this is better and quicker than any VM, Docker (for WPengine dev) or even native httpd/mysql based WordPress setup.

Easier content editing

Specifically, creation of new posts and pages in Markdown using my editor of choice – Sublime Text 3. It’s possible to find plugins for Markdown editing in WordPress, but they are fairly limited, especially with the latest move towards block-based content editing.

Bonus: I can edit/write new posts without any connection to Internet (think WordPress desktop app either supports or plans to support it soon).

Better Code Examples and Shell Commands Snippets

I don’t know why, but process of posting syntax-highlighted snippets of code is more involved that necessary. Especially if one expects a preview right there in the WYSIWYG editor.

In Jekyll posting code is much simpler, even within Markdown text.

Bonus: because I’m editing the actual part of code that will be published, there’s no plugin or WYSIWYG or block editor dynamic formatting risking that some syntax will be corrupted.

Easier images management

I’m making a lot of screenshots and they use specific naming convention. If I upload them as is – files named like 2020-03-08-22-44-00-screenshot.png – it becomes rather tricky to later rename them for better SEO performance. With Jekyll renaming an image is as simple as renaming the image and updating Markdown page linking to it.

Bonus: any image uploads are as quick as moving files on my SSD drive! But yes, I obviously need to upload them into GitHub repo later.

Historical tracking of changes

This is becoming a very important point for me – it helps so much to keep track of all page updates as git commits! It’s possible to see latest update and previous versions of a page in WordPress as well, but there’s no easy way of seeing a timeline of all changes with description of changes. I’m using Jetpack status updates right now in WordPress environments and it helps, but you get only a week of history and even then you get a list of pages updated, but not the list of commit-style descriptions of what you changed.

Since I’m hosting Jekyll blogs on GitHub, I get to enjoy history, roll-back and automated deployments. Awesome!

Project Plan for Migrating WordPress Blog to Jekyll

These are the elements of migration as I see them:

  • setup new Jekyll blog and host it on GitHub
  • create sidebars
  • implement linking to original posts/pages on Unix Tutorial
  • recreate the same permalink structure for posts and pages
  • migrate content for the first few posts and pages

Most of the high-level steps are generic enough, but here are notes of the modifications I made to date.

Implement Linking to Original Pages in English

I added a few new variables to the Front Matter section of page/post code:

translation_text: "Sublime Text 3"
translation_flag: /images/en-flag.png

In _layouts/post.html I added the following section to make sure of these variables:

Current Progress on this Project

Here is what I got done over this weekend:

  • setup new Jekyll blog
  • created private GitHub repo (can’t make it public yet because I’m using a paid Jekyll theme)
  • linked GitHub repo to my free Netlify account
  • created sidebar widgets
  • updated Jekyll theme to match top menu of
  • manually created the first few pages
  • created first few posts
  • implemented support for translation links (back to Unix Tutorial)

Possible Next Steps

  • Make GitHub repo for Unix Tutorial RU a public one
  • Further develop sidebar widgets
  • Integrate with Pateron or similar service

See Also

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I'm a principal consultant with Tech Stack Solutions. I help with cloud architectrure, AWS deployments and automated management of Unix/Linux infrastructure. Get in touch!
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