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#How to build a band website and host it on Github

This is all surprisingly easy


You need the gh-pages gem. Add it to your Gemfile (or just use ours) and bundle, or just

gem install gh-pages

###Create some content

Create a file called at the root of the project that looks like this:


Hello from Jekyll

Those dashes at the top are important - without them Jekyll doesn't know that you intend this to be content.

Now from a console do

jekyll serve --watch

and point your browser at http://localhost:4000/ and you should see those three words. Well done, you have successfully Jekylled.

###A wild _site appears

This is all about building a static site, right? What Jekyll has done, is create a directory called _site and filled it with the generated HTML of your actual site. This is an artefact and you don't really want it in Github. So

echo _site/ > .gitignore

to make git leave that well alone. Now it's time to commit. But first...

###Github hosting

Github will host this stuff for free, which is incredibly nice of them. Generally, if you push this stuff onto a branch called gh-pages, your site will appear at (which is cool for project-specific Jekyll sites); however if the Github repo is named like (or within a Github organisation), then Github will attempt to Jekylise whatever it finds in master - that's why this particular repo is named like it is. For the purposes of this document, I'm going to assume you're working on the second set-up and just using master (and that your account or organisation is called username).

So anyway, it's time to commit what you have

git init
git add .
git commit -m 'Committe the Fyrst'

then, based on all that stuff above about repo naming, go create a Github repo with the appropriate name, then bring that remote in:

git remote add origin

and push to it

git push origin master

then point your browser at and you should see either Hello from Jekyll once again, or a 404 with a message about It may take up to ten minutes until your page is available. In this case, go make some tea or something.


So you have some content hosted, for free, on Github, at But wouldn't it be nice if it was at instead? Well that's super-easy, too. You need a CNAME file at the root of the project:

echo > CNAME

then you need to configure your DNS to point that domain at this Github IP address: and after committing, pushing, and waiting the requisite DNS-propagation-time (is it just me or is that much quicker these days than it used to be?), your amazing site will be available at


So you have some content up there, but it's not very pretty, is it? However, the lovely people at Twitter have given us Bootstrap, which allows even the most design-challenged drummers among us to make something that's at least vaguely presentable.

So download the Sass version of Bootstrap (version 3.3.0 as of this writing), untar the archive: tar xzvf bootstrap-sass-3.3.0.tar.gz and copy the bits you need into the (root of the) project:

mkdir _sass
rsync -av ~/Downloads/bootstrap-sass-3.3.0/assets/stylesheets/bootstrap _sass/
cp ~/Downloads/bootstrap-sass-3.3.0/assets/stylesheets/_bootstrap.scss _sass/bootstrap.scss

mkdir javascript
rsync -av ~/Downloads/bootstrap-sass-3.3.0/assets/javascripts/bootstrap.js javascript/

then, because Reasons, make a SCSS file:

mkdir assets
touch assets/application.scss

and fill it out like this:


@import 'bootstrap';


You need to include the Bootstrap stylesheets in your pages somehow. You could turn into index.html and fully configure everything there, but that sounds like a terrible idea, when you could just use a Jekyll layout!

Make a default layout:

mkdir _layouts
touch _layouts/default.html

and fill it out like this

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang='en'>
    <meta charset='utf-8' />
    <meta http-equiv='X-UA-Compatible' content='IE=edge' />
    <meta name='viewport' content='width=device-width, initial-scale=1' />

    <!-- HTML5 Shim and Respond.js IE8 support of HTML5 elements and media queries -->
    <!-- WARNING: Respond.js doesn't work if you view the page via file:// -->
    <!--[if lt IE 9]>
      <script src=''></script>
      <script src=''></script>

    <!-- jQuery (necessary for Bootstrap's JavaScript plugins) -->
    <script src=''></script>
    <!-- Include all compiled plugins (below), or include individual files as needed -->
    <script src='/javascript/bootstrap.js'></script>

    <link rel='stylesheet' href='/assets/application.css' type='text/css' />
    <title>{{ page.title }}</title>

    <div class='container'>
      {{ content }}

(I totally boosted this from one of the Bootstrap examples)

This sets up a proper HTML page, and includes the Bootstrap styles, and then inserts the text from the calling page with that {{ content }} line.

Now if you look at http://localhost:4000 you will see that it's still as ugly as before. What? Well, remember the dashes at the top of some of these files? As well as telling Jekyll to please render this page, they can also contain some YAML configuration (this is what Jekyll calls Front-matter). You can say that your page wants to use the default layout that you just made with something like this:

layout: default

at the top of your file.

And now, when you go to http://localhost:4000, it should be marginally prettier. Probably a good time to commit and push again, (but only after having added .sass-cache, a new artefact, to your .gitignore).

##Open Street Map

This is a band site, which means it probably has gig pages, and a good gig page has an embedded map. You could use Google Maps, sure, but Open Street Map has a much more appealing license. So your choices are:

###Embed the whole thing

Before I started this, what I knew about JavaScript would've fitted on the back of a matchbox. So my first move was just to locate the place in the browser, click 'share' on the right-hand-side, and paste in the iframe. Which is a terrible solution. So then I looked at


People tell me this is great






##Being responsive