Ivana Velíšková

Hello World!

What on earth was I thinking? Building a whole site using Jekyll and relaunching my personal page. I’m crazy. Yup. That is exactly what has been going on through my mind lately. It’s alright.

I really wanted to rebuild my personal site because I felt like the original site gave me little freedom for updates and so on. I had just started out coding and so I was a bit of a newb. I made all of my styling super specific and so there was no room for code reuse. Also, all of my subsequent pages had me copying and pasting the head, header, and footer onto each page, which obviously is a pain in the tush for anyone who knows how to code. Combining that and that I was really, really new to coding makes for a tough page to handle. Then I discovered Jekyll and all of my problems were solved.

Just kidding. They weren’t actually. For a long time, I opened up Jekyll, looked at it, got really confused, and kind of just deleted things that were obviously quite important. I had no idea how to use it, how to read the code that builds it or anything. I felt very small and silly. I felt especially silly because I had no idea how to understand anything on the Jekyll site that explains Jekyll, and I still don’t at this point, but I have been able to figure things out on my own.

I gave up on Jekyll for a while and just worked on myself: I improved certain skills (learned Javascript, remembered how to use functions, etc.), I redid my resume, I cooked new foods, played with a cute dog, and moved to Philly, all in the span of a few months. Eventually, I felt that my site needed a bit of a remodeling. It wasn’t working the way I wanted it to, and there was a lot more maintenance that I couldn’t keep up with because I kept refactoring my code as I learned new stuff. It was overwhelming. But I digress. Eventually at some point I was like, “Well, maybe I should try Jekyll again. I have been wanting to have a blog on my site and this is an easy way to do so and I get free hosting on Github (yay).”

The initial issue I had with Jekyll was there was a lot of code in there that I didn’t understand how it worked. On top of which, I just didn’t put in the time to study the prebuilt code before I started fiddling around with my own tweeks. So, I had already learned JS (which helped me recall in my memory how functions work and if/else statements and for loops, and so on), but there were a few more things I knew I needed to know before I could really make the giant leap of faith (this is a common phrase I often use) into Jekyll: Sass. I had started trying to learn Sass a bit, previously, when I first encountered Jekyll, and that didn’t go so well, because I was testing it on small bits of code which was helping no one. Then, I decided, I will just build a full on site (a one-pager, mind you) so I can get a bit of practice with Sass.

So I built a one page tutoring site which I have hosted on gh-pages and I use to advertise that I like to tutor in math and science. Sass kind of stuck with me a lot better after building that site. So, I finished that and felt like I was ready to dive into Jekyll (I’ll dive into it with you in another post).

I was really able to sit down, and look at the code that comes preloaded when you install Jekyll, and figure out what each piece does and how it fits into the big puzzle that is Jekyll. Eventually, I started to feel more confident in potentially making my own changes, and started to add my own things that I wanted to see in my site: comment board, social sharing buttons, images, pages, etc. Finally, it all came together to become this! It is very exciting for me that I built this on my own (with a little help of the presets included in Jekyll) and I’m really excited to go forth and build my own Jekyll template that I will want to share with everyone. That is the next step in the plan.

To do list:

Build Jekyll template and publish on Github.