gravatar image

Shared layout for project pages in Jekyll

I use Jekyll a lot, especially for my website. And I quite like it a lot. I also write and open source the occasional software every now and then, which usually happens on my GitHub profile. And thankfully GitHub makes it dead easy to generate a nice looking page for your project. I’ve used this feature for a long time now and have used a bunch of their awesome provided themes. However since I also host my site on GitHub Pages and thus all my projects are automatically available under a sub path there named after the project name.

However last week I decided that I wanted to have them all be in a layout similar to my website so the whole page doesn’t change just because you click on a link on my projects page. But I also wanted to keep the code for the pages in the respective repo so it’s all in one place while at the same time I didn’t want to copy the layout into each repository.

Thankfully there is trick you can use with GitHub Pages. If you add git submodules to your repository they are gettiing pulled in automatically on page build. So I created a shared repository to hold the template I wanted for my projects. And now all I have to do to get a project page with the correct layout is:

  • git checkout gh-pages
  • git submodule add _layouts
  • copy the of my project to and add the jekyll frontmatter:
layout: project
title: project name
  • add a _config.yml and fill out the following values:
gaugesid: tracking code for the gauge
projecturl: github url for the ribbon in the upper right corner
basesite: base URL to get the CSS from
markdown: kramdown
  • git push

The only dependency now is that the CSS comes from my main website. Which I’m fine with and is actually a feature because if I ever change something there I want the project pages to reflect that change also. The other downside is that if I change the project layout repository I will have to update the reference in all the project repositories. Which should be fairly straightforward with some automation and is at least better than copying files around and committing them to each repository.