Alberto Grespan

Rake tasks & Jekyll posts

— March 23, 2014

tl;dr use Rake tasks to create drafts/posts in Jekyll.

Creating a draft or a new post is a repetitive task. If you are like me and often forget about things you probably need some automation in your life; if you don’t, you can use this and start forgetting.

In this post I’ll be talking about some Rake tasks I use that help me create and publish drafts for my Jekyll blog.


For the last 2 years that I almost didn’t blog at all, I was using two Rake tasks stolen from Zack Holman to create blog posts within Jekyll. At that time Jekyll was a bit different and both the stolen tasks and blog needed an update. A few weeks ago (february 2014) I revamped my blog completely including the Rake tasks. This was the end result:

New tasks “tasks”

Here, I explain a bit what each task does:

Creating a new draft:

When draft is ready:

These features are a WIP but they work fine ATM.

The code

To use these tasks: you must create a Rakefile file; drop the code, and save the file. If you already have a Rakefile and you plan to use them, I hope that the namespace will prevent a collision with any of you existing tasks.

require 'fileutils'

namespace :draft do
  desc "Creating a new draft for post/entry"
  task :new do
    puts "What's the name for your next post?"
    @name = STDIN.gets.chomp
    @slug = "#{@name}"
    @slug ='ÁáÉéÍíÓóÚú', 'AaEeIiOoUu')
    @slug = @slug.downcase.strip.gsub(' ', '-')
    open("_drafts/#{@slug}.md", 'a' ) do |file|
      file.puts "---"
      file.puts "layout: post"
      file.puts "title: #{@name}"
      file.puts "description: maximum 155 char description"
      file.puts "category: blog"
      file.puts "tag: blog"
      file.puts "---"

  desc "copy draft to production post!"
  task :ready do
    puts "Posts in _drafts:"
    Dir.foreach("_drafts") do |fname|
      next if fname == '.' or fname == '..' or fname == '.keep'
      puts fname
    puts "what's the name of the draft to post?"
    @post_name = STDIN.gets.chomp
    @post_date ="%F")"_drafts/#{@post_name}", "_posts/#{@post_name}")"_posts/#{@post_name}", "_posts/#{@post_date}-#{@post_name}")
    puts "Post copied and ready to deploy!"

You can run these tasks by using the following command:

$ rake draft:new    # Creating a new draft for post/entry
$ rake draft:ready  # copy draft to production post!

As you can see, both tasks are pretty straight forward, they do simple things and work of the box. With these tasks you’ll no longer have to remember anything about the front-matter or how the file should be named within the drafts and posts directory, just run the tasks and start dumping ideas onto the freshly created markdown file.

I know the tasks can be vastly improved but I hope this works at least for some of you!