Jeff Naecker In data we trust.           Research     Teaching     Blog     CV

The Making Of

When I set out to make this site, I was interested in a minimal structure that used tools I was already familiar with. I settled on Jekyll, because I could write pages and posts in Markdown and use Github for hosting.

I started by building a very basic site following the documentation on Jekyll. However, I soon found this tutorial from Joshua Lande, and found it incredibly helpful. It walked me through setting up the site with Poole, a very clean and beautiful fork of Jekyll. I recommend this tutorial to anyone looking to build a similar site to mine. Below I’ve noted a couple small details to supplement Josh’s extensive walkthrough.

MathJax support

MathJax is a Javascript library that allows for live rendering of LaTeX-like equations. I wanted this feature to be able to include nicely formatted equations in my posts, like this:

To add MathJax support, I put the following in _includes/head.html :

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
            config: ["MMLorHTML.js"],
            extensions: ["tex2jax.js","TeX/AMSmath.js","TeX/AMSsymbols.js"],
            jax: ["input/TeX"],
            tex2jax: {
                inlineMath: [ ['$','$'], ["\\(","\\)"] ],
                displayMath: [ ['$$','$$'], ["\\[","\\]"] ],
                processEscapes: false
            TeX: {
                TagSide: "right",
                TagIndent: ".8em",
                MultLineWidth: "85%",
                equationNumbers: {
                   autoNumber: "AMS",
                unicode: {
                   fonts: "STIXGeneral,'Arial Unicode MS'" 
            showProcessingMessages: false

The configuration script is not necessary, but it make the typesetting a little prettier, and allows me to typeset inline equations (ike this one: $y = f(x) + z_0$) by surrounding the LaTeX code with single dollar signs.

Domain name hosting

Perhaps the single best feature of Jekyll is that you can host your site for free on Github pages. So, my site is hosted on Github at, simply by virtue of having my site’s repository pushed to Github. I got the domain name from Namecheap. Here are directions on setting up your custom domain with Github pages.

You might notice that the url of this page is, not To get the simpler URL, I set the permalink entry in _config.yml to /blog/:title. For more details, see the comments on Josh’s post on this issue.

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