Hello Jekyll and Firebase

Hannu Kuusi bio photo By Hannu Kuusi

I just did something spontaneous, kicked out the old website and moved over to Firebase with a static site generated by Jekyll. Now I feel like I’d just finished a huge spring cleaning and thrown out bunch of trash and useless stuff. Maybe this was my digital Konmari, one step towards simplicity to clear my mind and have more peace.

Firebase hosting + Jekyll

I’ve been working with a Cordova project (iOS + Android native app that capsulate an app based on JavaScript, HTML and plugins to access native API) which is relying on Google Firebase for the backend database, login and some server side functionality. While on this for the last few months I’ve been eyeing the Firebase hosting that has been lingering around the developer console. Idea of hosting stuff using Firebase has been tempting as Google generally has some seriously powerful arms which are more than capable of holding my site so that I don’t need to worry about it at all. As soon as I found out Firebase hosting supports custom domains I found myself browsing for suitable Jekyll theme to get going. This happened earlier today.

Let’s move the clock forward around 8 hours and add in between some house errands, getting the kids from daycare, going to the park etc. I’d say the actual work time spent with this website change has been around 3-4 hours, of which most went browsing for the theme and writing the content.

So, I picked a theme that looks clean and nice, and it’s name is spot on: So Simple Theme Installed Jekyll and deployed the site to Firebase, this process took around ten minutes. Most of the time spent was for writing the summary of the previous games article and this post, so technically this has been really a breeze. Mentally more exhausting as I’m less of a writer and generally just do things and never write of them.

How this all works is rather beautiful:

Jekyll is a parser, it builds a static site from dynamic components, most often template files and the content plus some extras. The web server doesn’t need to do anything else than serve these static webpages, no need for PHP & co. So instead of stressing the server with running processes which are always found to have some security holes and whatnot (looking at the general direction of you all WordPress plugins I’ve dealt with during the last decade) the sites built by Jekyll are static, after the building process they load fast and give minimal load to the server.

Instead of trying to make a bad tutorial, I googled a good one for your pleasure. Head over to read a great tutorial by Cory Rylan. If I had read that before I’d had done this months ago.