A collection of Liquid templates I made for my Jekyll-powered blog: Adding open graph and Twitter cards, Disqus comments, posts by tag, a heatmap calendar for posts, and a book review template

Jekyll Tools

A collection of templates I made for my Jekyll-powered blog. I thought that other people might want to use them, so I tossed them up here.

The collection so far:

Social Metadata

The social_metadata.html file is a template for easily adding Open Graph and Twitter Cards metadata for your Jekyll posts. The Liquid markup relies on some settings from your _config.yml file and some settings from the YAML front-matter on each post.


  • Place the social_metadata.html file in the _includes folder inside your Jekyll site.
  • Include the file inside the <head> </head> tags on your post pages. Most Jekyll themes make the headers a separate file that is itself included in other templates. It is usually called something like header.html or head.html and usually also lives inside the _includes folder.
  • You can include it with Liquid like this:
{% include social_metadata.html %}

Make sure the following items are defined in your _config.yml file (learn more here). Replace my examples with your own info:

title: Chuck Grimmett's GitHub
url: "" # the subpath of your site, e.g. /blog/
baseurl: "" # the base hostname & protocol for your site
locale: en_US # language_territory is the default
  description: "This is my awesome Jekyll site"
avatar: "/link/to/img.jpg"
twitter: "username" # Don't include @

Make sure the following items are defined in your posts' front matter:

date: YYYY-MM-DD
feature-img: "/link/to/img.jpg"
excerpt: This post is about blah blah blah...

Don't just copy and paste the above blocks. Some of these are probably already in your _config.yml file or your posts' front matter. Add what is missing to the correct section. Be mindful of indentation.


Comments via Disqus

The disqus.html is a way to add Disqus commenting to your Jekyll posts. Disqus also provides instructions for an alternative way.


Under theme: in your _config.yml file (learn more here), define your Disqus shortname:

  disqus_shortname: "exampleshortname"

Put this snippet in the post where you want your comments to show up. I put mine at the bottom of my posts template, just before the footer.

<!-- Disqus -->
{% if site.theme.disqus_shortname %}
<div class="comments">
  {% include disqus.html %}
{% endif %}

Posts by Tag is a page that displays the site's tags in alphabetical order and shows how many posts there are per tag, makes anchor links for each tag, then outputs posts by tag in reverse chronological order. You can see it in practice at the bottom of my Today I Learned page. It will end up looking like this:


Put the file at the root of your Jekyll site. After your generate your site via $ jekyll build, it will be available at

Add tags to your posts by including them in your posts' front matter:

  - Foo
  - Bar


Here are the styles for the classes that are set in the file for the layout of the tags. Include them in your site's CSS file:

ul.tag-box li {
  display: inline-block;
  list-style: none;
  list-style-image: none;
  margin-bottom: 7px;
ul.tag-box li a {
  background: #e6e6e6;
  padding: 4px 8px;
  border-radius: 3px;
  color: #f76b48;
ul.tag-box li span.size {
  font-weight: 300;

Posts Heatmap Calendar

This heatmap calendar gives you a visual representation of when you posted on your Jekyll site. It loops through all of your posts, counts how many posts you have each day, creates a JSON string to hold them, then uses moment.js, D3.js and Cal-HeatMap to visualize them.

It automatically loads the current month on the right and it has responsive breakpoints at 1400px, 730px, and 420px. It will work on Github Pages because it doesn't need any additional plugins to run. It only uses Liquid to do the counting and build the JSON string.

See it in action at


Put the file at the root of your Jekyll site. After your generate your site via $ jekyll build, it will be available at

Alternatively, here is how you can include it on any Jekyll-generated page:

  1. Put these includes in the file's header:
<script src=""></script>
<script src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

<style type="text/css">
  .content {
    min-width: 400px;
  #calendar {
    width: 839px;
  .subdomain-text {
    fill: #fff;
  #calendar a {
    color: #999;
  @media all and (max-width: 1400px) {
    #calendar {
      width: 626px;
  @media all and (max-width: 730px) {
    #calendar {
      width: 365px;
  @media all and (max-width: 420px) {
    #calendar {
      width: 191px;

Note: I'm only using FontAwesome for the left and right arrows under the calendar. I included it because I use it elsewhere on my site, so it is always available in the header. If you don't want to use it, feel free to replace the arrows with &larr; and &rarr;.

  1. Include this Javascript in the footer to build the JSON, generate the calendar, and drive the responsiveness:
<script type="text/javascript">

var data = {% assign counter = 0 %}{
{% for post in site.posts %}{% capture day %}{{ | date: '%s' }}{% endcapture %}{% capture prevday %}{{ | date: '%s' }}{% endcapture %}{% assign counter = counter | plus: 1 %}{% if day != prevday %}"{{ | date: '%s' }}": {{ counter }}{% assign counter = 0 %}{% if forloop.last == false %},{% endif %}
{% endif %}{% endfor %}};

var responsiveCal = function( options ) {
    var now = new Date();
    if( $(window).width() < 420 ) {
        options.start = now.setMonth(now.getMonth());
        options.range = 1;
        options.cellSize = 25;
    } else if ( $(window).width() < 730 ) {
        options.start = now.setMonth(now.getMonth() - 1);
        options.range = 2;
        options.cellSize = 20;
    } else if( $(window).width() < 1400 ) {
        options.start = now.setMonth(now.getMonth() - 2);
        options.range = 3;
        options.cellSize = 23;
    } else {
        options.start = now.setMonth(now.getMonth() - 3);
        options.range = 4;
        options.cellSize = 23;

    if( typeof cal === "object" ) {
        cal = cal.destroy();
    cal = new CalHeatMap();
    cal.init( options );

caloptions = {
    itemSelector: "#cal-heatmap",
    domain: "month",
    subDomain: "x_day",
    data: data,
    dataType: "json",
    cellPadding: 5,
    domainGutter: 20,
    displayLegend: false,
    range: 4,
    domainDynamicDimension: true,
    previousSelector: "#cal-heatmap-PreviousDomain-selector",
    nextSelector: "#cal-heatmap-NextDomain-selector",
    domainLabelFormat: function(date) {
        return moment(date).format("MMMM").toUpperCase();
    subDomainTextFormat: "%d",
    legend: [0,1,2,3],
    label: {
        position: "top"

// run first time, put in load if your scripts are in footer
responsiveCal( caloptions );

$(window).resize(function() {
    if(this.resizeTO) clearTimeout(this.resizeTO);
    this.resizeTO = setTimeout(function() {
    }, 500);

//resize on resizeEnd function
$(window).bind('resizeEnd', function() {
     responsiveCal( cal.options );
  1. Put this HTML on the page where you want the calendar to show up:
<div id="calendar" style="margin:0 auto;">
  <div id="cal-heatmap"></div>
  <div style="padding-top: 10px;">
      ><i class="fa fa-chevron-left"></i
    <a href="#" style="float:right;" id="cal-heatmap-NextDomain-selector"
      ><i class="fa fa-chevron-right"></i


  • Refer to the Cal-HeatMap documentation for how to change the colors, add a legend, and change the cell size.
  • To change the responsive breakpoints, change the various widths at $(window).width() < X in the responsiveCal function.
  • Only want to use this for a specific category like I do? Change {% for post in site.posts %} in the data variable to {% for post in site.categories['CATEGORYNAME'] %} (change CATEGORYNAME to the name of the category you want to use this for)

Filtering Categories with Isotope

The template can be found at category-filter-isotope/category-filter-isotope.html.

Isotope is a popular jQuery filtering and sorting plugin. I combined it with Liquid to automatically generate category filtering.

"All" is selected by default. The other buttons come from the category you specify at the top of a post in your yaml front matter.

Generate the buttons from categories:

<div class="button-group filter-button-group">
  {% for category in site.categories %}
  <a class="button" data-filter=".{{ category | first }}"
    >{{ category | first }}</a
  {% endfor %}
  <a class="button active" data-filter="*">All</a>

Generate your posts:

<div class="grid">
  {% for post in site.posts %}
  <div class="element-item {{ post.category }}">
    <span class="post-meta">{{ | date: "%b %-d, %Y" }}</span>

      <a class="post-link" href="{{ post.url | prepend: site.baseurl }}"
        >{{ post.title }}</a

      {{ post.excerpt }}
  {% endfor %}

Include the jQuery and Isotope libraries, then set up the functions to trigger the filtering and setting an "active" class on your buttons so you can highlight the active one:

<script src="[email protected]/dist/isotope.pkgd.js"></script>
// init Isotope
var $grid = $(".grid").isotope({
  // options
// filter items on button click
$(".filter-button-group").on("click", "a", function() {
  var filterValue = $(this).attr("data-filter");
  $grid.isotope({ filter: filterValue });
$(".button-group a.button").on("click", function() {
  $(".button-group a.button").removeClass("active");

Collection Template for Book Reviews

I started writing book notes and collecting them on my website as reviews, so I thought I'd make the template I wrote public. No plugin necessary, so it should work on Github Pages.

A working demonstration of this collection can be seen at

Here is a preview of a book review detail:


All assets for this collection can be found in the book-reviews folder in this project.

  1. You first need to register the collection in _config.yml. Append this to the bottom of your current _config.yml or, if you already have a collection registered, add another entry. This same example is :
# Collections
    output: true
    output_ext: .html
    permalink: /book-reviews/:path/
  1. Place the _book_reviews folder and the book-reviews.html file in your Jekyll site root. This is the same folder that contains the _config.yml and _posts folder.

  2. If you use Sass, place the contents of _book_reviews.scss file in your main Sass file. If you don't use Sass, you'll need to rewrite the media queries (the first 45 lines) in regular CSS.

  3. Write your book review and place it in the _book_reviews folder (an example is included). The rating is out of 5 stars and supports half stars. The templates assume that your images are stored in an img folder in your site root. Example: If you want the to work, make sure you put img/deep_work.jpg in your site's img folder.

How it works

  • This is powered by Jekyll Collections. No plugin necessary.
  • I set up custom YAML metadata for the individual posts, which the landing page and detail page templates use and display. Feel free to change it to your needs. Here is an example book review post:
layout: book-reviews-template
title: Deep Work - Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
author: Cal Newport
category: Self-Improvement
  - Time management
  - Work
  - Focus
stars: 4
cover: deep_work.jpg
format: Audio Book
date: 2016-11-28
excerpt: "Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It produces great results."

After hearing a few interviews with Cal Newport on podcasts, I decided to pick this up. The book is divided into two main sections: The idea or "why" behind deep work, in which Newport tries to convince you it is necessary. I more or less bought in to this before listening to the book, but I listened to it anyway. The second part are the rules for how to do deep work. Newport writes this from an academic's point of view, but there are definitely universal principles you can apply.
  • The stars are powered by some defined CSS classes, a clever span setup controlling the width for color fill, and some Liquid to calculate the CSS class value:
<span class="stars-container stars-{{ page.stars | times:20 | round: 0 }}" title="{{ page.stars }}/5">★★★★★</span></p>


  • If you have a custom open graph generator, you might need to add some if/elsif statements to get the cover to show in the og:image field.
  • Depending on your default layout template, you might need to edit my book-reviews.html page or the book-reviews-template.html template to work well with your layout. I'm assuming that if you use Jekyll, you probably know what you are doing. If not, drop me an email and I'll try to help.
  • I don't use all of the metadata on the landing page. I leave some items for the detail page. Feel free to change it to your liking.

Reading List

I implemented a reading list with Jekyll data inspired by Frank Chimero. It displays the books you've read by year, includes support for links and stars for recommendations. Best of all, it is powered by a single Jekyll data file so you only have to update the books you've read in a simple yml file instead of messing with markup. This also allows you to programatically count the number of books you've read and reuse the data for other things later.

I also included the ability to generate an RSS feed for the list.

See my live reading list page Read my blog post about this

How to use

Note: All files referenced in this section live in /reading-list

  • Put reading.yml in your Jekyll site's _data folder.
  • Put the markup from index.html in the page you want to render the list in.
  • Put the styles from styles.scss into the stylesheet that governs your listing page.
  • Put reading-list.xml wherever you'd like to generate an RSS feed for your reading list.