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Implementing post series in Jekyll

| tags: jekyllweb

There were several occasions in the past where I wrote a “post series”, i.e. multiple posts about the same topic that belong together.

Until now, there was only one way to visually indicate this: including the name of the series in the post title, like this:

  • Cool Series, part 1: Intro
  • Cool Series, part 2: Implementation
  • etc.

Sometimes, I actually remembered to name the posts like this…sometimes I didn’t.

Recently, I noticed a few examples how others show post series on their blogs:

  • Ayende (example post)

    • at the top of the post, there are separate “previous/next post” and “previous/next post in this series” links
    • at the bottom of a post is a “More posts in this series” box
  • Steven van Deursen (example post)

    • at the top of the post, there is a box with links to all posts in the series

“Previous/next post in this series” links sound tempting, but my blog is built with Jekyll, and it’s not that easy to determine the previous/next post that belongs to the same series.

But a box with links to all posts in the series, that’s doable. Here’s how I built it:


1. Defining the series in the YAML front-matter:

I just added a new variable called series to all relevant posts.

Example:

series: "Hugo/Lightbox image gallery"

This string is used to determine which posts belong together, so it must be 100% identical for all posts in the same series.


2. Adding the “series box” to the layout file:

I’m using a separate layout file (which inherits from the default layout) for posts.

The additional code for the “series box” goes into that file (so the box can only appear in posts), and here’s the complete code for it:

{% if page.series %}
<div>
  <h4>This post is part of a series: {{ page.series }}</h4>
  <ol>
    {% assign posts = site.posts | where: "series", page.series | sort: "date" %}
    {% for post in posts %}
    <li>{% if post.url == page.url %}{{ post.title }} <i>(this post)</i>{% else %}<a href="{{ post.url }}">{{ post.title }}</a>{% endif %}</li>
    {% endfor %}
  </ol>
</div>
{% endif %}

Nothing fancy here:

  • if page.series ⇒ only show the whole block if the current page actually has a series variable
  • assign posts = site.posts | where: "series", page.series | sort: "date" ⇒ load all posts that have the same series as the current post (including the current post)
  • loop them
    • if it’s the current post, show the title only as text with “(this post)” behind it
    • for all other posts, show them as links

And finally, here’s an example how the finished “series box” looks like.


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