An eCommerce Site Using Jekyll and PayPal

This little project grew out of a desire to create a simple eCommerce website to sell my books online. I have, for the longest time, sold through Amazon. Amazon is a great platform, but I wanted to make the shopping experience more personal to better connect with my readers by selling books directly from my site. My goals for this were simple: a simple eCommerce platform with PayPal as a payment gateway. I generalized it here so perhaps others could use it for their projects.

See it in action!

If you've never used Jekyll, it's elegantly simple and easy to use. If you want to develop locally, install Jekyll following the instructions Here, then clone this repo, run bundle update to install dependencies, and then run jekyll serve to run the local development server.

Product Pages

The eCommerce site here leverages some of the built-in features of Jekyll. The intent here was to keep it simple. Each product has its own page with a custom set of headers:

  • cart_itemid -- the item id for the product. This is used by the scripts and PayPal to identify the item.

  • cart_name -- the displayed name of the product. This will show up in PayPal and in the shopping cart.

  • cart_description -- the displayed description of the product for the cart.

  • cart_price -- The product's price. (Currently, this only supports single currency.)

  • cart_image -- A url to the image of the product. This is optional and is not used by the cart or PayPal

layout: page
title: Development Headphones
cart_itemid: devheadphones
cart_name: "Development Headphones"
cart_description: "Drown out distractions!"
cart_price: 79
cart_image: "assets/headphones-3683983_1280.jpg"

## Less_Distractions == Better_Code


No developer likes to be interrupted when they are deep in thought. Now, you can tune out the world and focus on what really matters!

* Ergonomic design
* Crisp sound
* Noise canceling technology.

## ${{page.cart_price}}

## [Add to cart!](/cart#{{page.cart_itemid}})

Every product has two links: one to its product page and one to add the product to the cart.

The product page is simply the URL created by Jekyll to the product, and follows the Jekyll conventions. For instance, the URL for a page in the site's root called will be or relatively /headphones.html.

The add to cart link uses the cart_itemid property for the page. From the sample code above, the cart_itemid property's value is devheadphones. The link from this then would be or relatively at /cart#devheadphones.

Needed Files


When the site is created, the site generates a javascript file called catalog.js in the assets folder. catalog.js is used by the cart page and the checkout page. This uses a Jekyll permalink to specify the output. provides a permalink at /cart to enable adding items to the cart. provides a permalink at /checkout to enable the checkout experience. contains a reference to the PayPal JavaScript SDK

<script src=""></script>

This will will need to be updated with your PayPal application ID. You can create and retrieve this from the PayPal developer's portal. See instructions Here on how to obtain this.

cart.js and checkout.js

This two files, located in the assets folder contain the code for maintaining the cart and interacting with the checkout experience.

Generating a Catalog Page

The in this repository has a sample for how to generate a single page that has all of your items on the page.

A caveat...

Working with client-side carts has a rick of tampering, because anyone can hack the code in the browser, change the prices to give themselves a discount, and then pay for the product. You'd be none the wiser unless you check to ensure that the price paid is the price you sell the item for. If you are doing any automation downstream of the sale, such as digital goods, ensure that the automation checks the price.