Core Contribution Guide

This short guide will help you set up a local copy of the entire Coding Train website so you can help us making it even better. All the code for the website is available on Github.

Create a Fork

First of all you should create a fork of this repository. This is especially necessary when you want your modification to be merged into the live site at a later point. GitHub has an excellent guide on how to fork a project. Carry on after you have successfully forked the repository and cloned your fork locally.

Environment Setup

This website is build on top of Jekyll, which is a static site generator. To build the website you need to be able to run Jekyll on your system. In order to do so you can choose between using Docker or a native installation.

Using Docker

To make your life a lot easier you can use Docker to run Jekyll. Everything is already configured and ready to go. Just make sure you have Docker and docker-compose installed on your system. After that, simply run

$ docker-compose up

Linux users may have to use sudo to build the site. It is a minor change to the original command, simply run

$ sudo docker-compose up

Docker will then run a container with all dependencies installed. Head over to http://localhost:4000 to see the built site. You can leave the container running in the background and it will keep watching your changes and rebuilding certain parts if necessary.

Using Native Jekyll Installation

Install Jekyll

In order to install Jekyll, head over to the Jekyll Docs and follow the instructions there. Once you’ve installed Jekyll you can try to build the site.

Install Gems

Jekyll’s build on top of Ruby and has some dependencies that need to be installed as well in order to work properly. You can think of it similar to NPM and Node.JS modules where “Gems” are the dependencies managed by “Bundler”. You can check out a more detailed explanation on Jekyll’s website.

To install the Gems needed by Jekyll, run the following command in your terminal from where you’ve cloned your fork:

$ bundle install

This might take some time since Bundler now goes ahead and fetches all Gems listed in a file called Gemfile which you can find at the root of the project.

Build The Site

After you’ve installed everything, you should be able to build the site. Just run this command:

$ bundle exec jekyll build

Jekyll should now have created a new folder called _site with the finished version of the website inside. In order to view it, point a local webserver to that directory. One way you could do this is jump into the _site folder and run this command:

$ python -m SimpleHTTPServer

Now, fire up a web browser and go to http://localhost:8000. You should now have your own local copy of the website.

Keep in mind that after every change you’ve made, you need to rebuild the site using the build command as shown above. Since this gets annoying very quickly, Jekyll got you covered with another command:

$ bundle exec jekyll serve

This command doesn’t finish by itself like the others did. Instead, it instructs Jekyll to watch all your project files for changes and automatically triggers a rebuild whenever you modify a file. Moreover, Jekyll brings a built-in webserver that is reachable at http://localhost:4000 as long as the command is running so you also don’t need to set up one yourself like we did with the second command before.

At this point, you can finally start working! 🎉

Create a Pull Request

Whenever you’ve finished working you can submit a pull request so that your changes get merged into the actual website. If you don’t know how to do so, have a look at this handy guide from GitHub.


Sometimes, things don’t work like they should. If you get stuck, don’t worry! Feel free to ask for help at any time! You can even join the #website channel over on Slack if you are a member of The Coding Train.