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Jekyll Site Optimization

I used to use Gulp for optimizing the pages on the site for speed. However, because I moved to Netlify for hosting and building the site, I didn’t want to use something that not only required quite a few dependencies but was also rather slow. In the article below, I will list the tools I am using as alternatives right now.

CSS Minify

This is actually pretty easy, since it turns out that sass, which Jekyll use to generate CSS files, has an option that does exactly this. Just add the following to _config.yml:

  style: compressed

HTML Minify

This layout does the job nicely. Basically, just throw compress.html in _layouts, set the layout of default.html to compress, and optionally tweak the settings in _config.yml.

A special thing about this is that it was completely written in Liquid, without requiring any extra plugins. Thus, it can also work with Github Pages, where the automatic building of Jekyll sites does not support plugins.

CSS Inline

As written on Google and a lot of other websites, it is generally recommended to inline (small enough) CSS files in HTML documents since it eliminates an additional request that potentially blocks the display of content.

A lot of articles I’ve read recommended moving main.scss to _includes/ and replacing <link rel="stylesheet"... line in head.html with the following code:

{% capture scss %}{% include main.scss %}{% endcapture %}
{{ scss | scssify }}

However, I realized that scssify is called for each post, resulting in a lot of redundant computations. Therefore, I came up with a simple Ruby plugin that essentially replaces the CSS import line in the generated HTML files with the CSS content itself. This way, the CSS is only generated once, drastically improving the speed (about a 60% speedup).

Removing Redundant CSS

UnCSS was used to remove unused or redundant CSS rules in the Gulp script. However, there doesn’t seem to be an Jekyll/Ruby-only equivalent. Thus, I just manually compared the raw styles and the ones processed by UnCSS, commenting out the rules I didn’t use. Admittedly, this isn’t as complete as the previous solution, since my Gulp script optimizes the CSS for each HTML file separately, but I guess it works well enough.

Not Implemented

The following are the functionalities in the script that I deemed unnecessary, thus did not search for alternatives:

Optimize Images

There aren’t many images on this site to begin with, and I could always manually compress them if needed.

Optimize XML

Again, there aren’t a lot of XML files on this site, and most of them are usually processed by servers that aren’t that sensitive about bandwidth anyway.

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