Jekyll template for a simple student portfolio

Master of Science in Robotics Student Portfolio Template

Jekyll Overview

Built with Jekyll

Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware, static site generator. It takes a template directory containing raw text files in various formats, runs it through Markdown and Liquid converters, and spits out a complete, ready-to-publish static website suitable for serving with your favorite web server. Jekyll also happens to be the engine behind GitHub Pages, which means you can use Jekyll to host your project's page, blog, or website from GitHub's servers for free (taken from Jekyll's website:

Get your workstation set up

In one terminal, build the jekyll site, watching for any changes (run in site root directory)

$  jekyll build --watch

In another terminal, start a local server (run in site root directory)

$  jekyll serve

View the site in your browser at


File structure

|-- (this)
|-- _config.yml (overall configuration file for the site)
|-- _includes (all the markup partials)
|   |-- footer.html
|   |-- head.html
|   |-- header.html
|-- _layouts (page markup templates)
|   |-- about.html
|   |-- contact.html
|   |-- main.html
|   |-- project.html
|-- _projects (markdown files that make up the "projects" jekyll collection)
|   |--
|   |--
|   |--
|   |--
|   |--
|   |--
|   |--
|   |--
|-- _site (the entire site after it is processed by Jekyll)
|   |--
|   |-- about
|   |-- contact
|   |-- feed.xml
|   |-- index.html
|   |-- projects
|   |-- public
|-- (about page markdown)
|-- (contact page markdown)
|-- feed.xml (contains general information about Jekyll's usage)
|-- index.html (home page of the site)
|-- public (static content including fonts, images, js, and css files)
|   |-- fonts
|   |-- images
|   |-- javascripts
|   |-- stylesheets

More on how Jekyll works

The Jekyll Engine

First, if you look inside the _site directory, you'll see that no directories or files there begin with an underscore (_). The contents of that directory are the end result of Jekyll's processing engine. All of the files and directories in the root directory of the repository that do begin with an underscore, on the other hand, are "raw". They either include markup that will be included within pages of the final site or they contain markdown and "Front Matter" (which I'll explain later) that will be converted into markup by Jekyll's engine. One of the two commands that you need to run in order to host the site on a local server:

jekyll build --watch

runs that engine, processing and reprocessing the "raw" files every time you make a change to a file. The files and directories in the root directory of the repository that don't begin with an underscore are ignored by Jekyll and will remain the exact same in the _site directory.

Front Matter

Any file that contains a YAML front matter block will be processed by Jekyll as a special file. The front matter must be the first thing in the file and must take the form of valid YAML, set between triple-dashed lines (taken from Jekyll's documentation: Here's a basic example that you'll find in the index.html file:

layout: default
title: Portfolio

This first item tells Jekyll to take all of the markup in index.html and plug it into the _layouts/main.html template to take the place of the {{ content }} variable found in that template file. The second item tells Jekyll to create a variable, page.title, that you can use in the markup of the template. For example, in _layouts/main.html, you could write:

    <title>{{ page.title }}</title>

and that would render as:



Collections allow you to define a new type of document that can be somewhat conceptualized as an object type, each having its own unique properties and namespaces. These collections are declared in the _config.yml file:

    output: true
    permalink: /projects/:path/

For this site, we only use one collections: projects, the contents of which can be found in the _projects directory. Notice that this directory name begins with an underscore. This is because each file in it only contains some combination of markdown and front-matter and will be processed by Jekyll's engine. Let's look at projects/ as an example:

layout: project
title: Project 1
date: September 22, 2014

## Overview
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### Topic 1
His nemore audiam consequat ad, no augue choro assueverit mei. Zril offendit tincidunt ne quo. At commodo integre alienum sea, cu vocent fuisset suscipit nam. Eum ex tation omnesque adversarium, mutat autem putant te nam. Id vix facilis complectitur, vis vitae vivendo euripidis ea, fugit eirmod an vix...

This file represents a project in the projects collection and contains both YAML front matter and Markdown. You can see how powerful collections are if we take a look at a snippet of index.html:

<ul id="portfolio-gallery">
    {% for project in site.projects %}
            <a href="{{ site.baseurl }}{{ project.url }}">
                <img src="{{ project.image }}">
                <h2>{{ project.title }}</h2>
    {% endfor %}

The {% %} tags represent liquid syntax and their contents are processed by Jekyll to render static HTML in the final site. You can see that all of the projects in the projects collection can be referenced with site.projects and iterated through with a for loop. In this specific for loop, for each project in the projects collection, we pull its image and title using {{ }} tags. All of a particular project's information is defined in its markdown file just like the one which we saw above. You can find more useful information about collections in Jekyll's website (

Maintaining the Site

Adding Projects

To add a project, just create a .md file in the _projects directory with front matter at the beginning that follows this format (taken from

layout: project
title: Project 1
date: September 22, 2014

Following that front matter, just add content in regular markdown.