Installing Jekyll on Mac OS X

2 minute read

In March this year I once again changed blog engines I was using. I switched to Jekyll after reviewing all the usual (and unusual) suspects. I describe most of my reasons1 in my post, Text File Revolution so I won’t rehash again, however, I did want to write a little tutorial on how to get Jekyll up and running on your Mac2.

Pre-Requisite: XCode

The easiest way to get a hold of XCode is to download from the Mac App Store.

Pre-Requisite: Git

Git is not absolutely necessary, as RVM (the next pre-req) is available as a tarball, but Git is so popular these days I thought I would provide the instructions.

  1. Download Git. At the time that I wrote this I downloaded the package called, git-1.7.6-x86_64-snow-leopard.dmg, for my MacBook Air.
  2. Mount (double-click) the DMG file
  3. Double-click the PKG file to install
  4. After installation is complete open Terminal
  5. You need to execute the file, setup git PATH for non-terminal programs.sh, in the DMG file. I find it easiest to do this in Terminal:
    1. cd /Volumes
    2. cd G (then hit the tab key to autocomplete the volume)
    3. hit enter
    4. ./s (then hit the tab key to autocomplete the shell script file name)
    5. hit enter to run script
  6. Restart terminal and you now have Git installed

Pre-Requisite: Ruby Version Manager (RVM)

Again, RVM is not absolutely required but RVM does ensure that you do not jack up your system by overwriting the OS version of Ruby with a newer version. RVM allows multiple versions of Ruby to be installed on a system (in your home directory, .rvm) and makes it super simple to change the active version.

  1. Open Terminal and run the command below
  2. bash < <( curl https://rvm.beginrescueend.com/releases/rvm-install-head )
  3. Note the message in the Terminal window after installation, it will be used below.
  4. Next use your favorite text editor and create a new text file that will be saved to your home directory as .profile. Below is what I did:
    1. Open TextMate
    2. Copied the text from the message in terminal message into TextMate: [[ -s "/Users/bbohling/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ]] && source "/Users/bbohling/.rvm/scripts/rvm"
    3. Saved the doc in my home directory (/Users/bbohling/.profile)
  5. Now restart Terminal
  6. Type rvm help. If installation was successful you will see help instructions.

Pre-Requisite: Ruby

Next we will install Ruby version 1.9.2. At this time Ruby version 1.8.7 comes with OS X (Lion). Since we installed RVM, this step is easy-peasy.

Lion users: You will need to open the .profile file and add the following line: export CC=/usr/bin/gcc-4.2. This sets the default compiler to gcc.

  1. Open Terminal
  2. rvm install 1.9.2
  3. Now that Ruby is installed you can type the following command to use the newer version of Ruby: rvm use 1.9.2
  4. To verify type: ruby -v
  5. To make 1.9.2 the default: rvm --default 1.9.2

Installing Jekyll

Finally the star attraction, Jekyll…which surprisingly is the easiest part. I also use the Jekyll plugin, jekyll-tagging, that provides a better solution (in my opinion) than the built-in categories feature.

  1. gem install jekyll
  2. gem install jekyll-tagging

Jekyll is now installed and you are capable of creating your own static, text-based website. I will try to write a follow-up post that describes how I have set up my templates and configuration. In the meantime, check out the docs.


  1. I just came across a post by Stephen Ramsay today on the topic, Back to the Roots Web with Jekyll

  2. I performed all of these steps as I went through them myself so they should be accurate. If not, please let me know: brandon [at] bohling [dot] me.