My post scaffolder for Jekyll

· December 9, 2014

I’ve just started to use Jekyll as my blogging engine. It’s mostly nice but I’m getting used to a new tool. And maybe actually the lack of tools since it’s just markdown and git.

One of the things that I found early to be a stumbling block was to create a new post. Since I’m still fresh to the structure of the YAML front-matter, I found myself copying and pasting, missing and misunderstanding.

So I looked for a post generator and found this gist that is used, at the command line, to scaffold up the structure of a new blog post.

Let me show you how I tweaked it and a problem that I ran into, being a newbie.

Tweaking the script

I’m very much a newbie in bash script files so bear with me and please enlighten me if this can be better.

First of all, I changed the constants at the top to my settings:

  • I’m always using Sublime so the editor becomes: editor=sublime
  • My layout, template for the posts, is called post and my director for posts is also standard so I left those.
  • I added a new constant for author author="Marcus Hammarberg"

Jekyll has something called categories and something called tags. I cannot really tell them apart but I’m using tags on my blog. So I went through the script and replaced “category(ies)” with “tag(s)”.

Tags go in the front matter and should be listed one tag per line, each line starting with a dash (“-“). This caused me some problems and I had to do some hair pulling and scratching of cheek to get it to work.

Here’s the gist (pun intended) of it:


## <... script code here ...>

read -p "Tags: " tags

if [ ! -z "$tags" ]; then
  echo "tags:" >> $filename
  echo "- ${tags//,/\\n-}" | sed 's/^-//g' >> $filename
  • On line 98, we issue the read -p "Tags: " tags command that prompts the user with a “Tags:” prompt and stores whatever they enter into the tags variable.
  • The if statement on line 99 checks if any tags were created.
  • Lines 100 to 103 is where the magic happens. This is where we write the tags to the file.

    • Line 101 writes the first part, notice how the line doesn’t end with a quotation. This is how you do newlines in a string on OSX.
    • Lines 102-103 use the sed command to look through the $tags variable, replacing commas , with a newline and a dash -. Again, notice the newline trickery.
    • The final part of line 103 just writes it out to the $filename.

Using the script

When I first used the script I was a bit surprised because I thought that you just executed the script at the prompt. Apparently, you have to send it to the bash command. Like this:

bash scaffold_post "A post title"

Once you execute the script, it will ask you for tags. Separate them with a comma as you remember and a nice post will be scaffolded for you. It will even open in Sublime (or whatever editor you have configured) and look something like this.

Thank you Daara Shaw for that great gist. Helped me a lot!

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