Meet Hekyll, Markdown Presentations for Hackers

Perhaps you’ve heard about Jekyll, the simple static site generator that powers Github Pages and a number of other sites including our friends at Development Seed. Jekyll is great because you can write a whole collection of items in Markdown and then easily turn it into a website.

Heykll and Jekyll1

A few weeks ago, Steven Merrill and I had the idea to create a presentation in Impress.js using Markdown files for each slide. We enjoyed that Impress.js rivals many of the features of Prezi, but was ultimately just HTML+CSS+JS, which meant that versioning and tweaking the talk could be much simpler than Flash-based Prezi. For my lunch break that day, I dove in. The result is Hekyll, a Jekyll-based presentation generator for Impress.js. Learn more about the process of making Hekyll here.

Drupalcon Denver 2012 is rapidly approaching and Steven and I have been busy getting our slides ready for our Zagat.com Case Study presentation. We’ve been using Hekyll to collaborate and I have to say it’s been absolutely delightful. Our talk is in a hosted Git repository, so we can both be working on separate parts of the presentation simultaneously and, because all of the styling is done in CSS, we can focus on the content first and then make it look great.

Speaking of making it look great, Hekyll has the concept of ‘themes’ built in, which makes it super easy for you to create your own look and feel, or try out a few different ones. Right now, Hekyll only has a fairly basic theme based off the Impress.js demo, but we hope to add a few more simple general designs in the future.

Drupalcon Denver theme for Hekyll

Drupalcon Title Slide, powered by Hekyll

If you’re planning to speak at Drupalcon Denver and you’re interested in Hekyll, I’ve made a Hekyll theme based on the Drupalcon presentation templates, which is available (with installation instructions) on Github here: https://github.com/bmcmurray/drupalcon-denver-2012-hekyll.

I’d love to hear if you decide to use Hekyll for your presentation, and if you’d like to get involved, Steven and I are fairly actively working on feature improvements on Github.


  1. Perhaps you’ve heard of the animated magpie duo, Heckle and Jeckle