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The Hacker theme

Build Status Gem Version

Hacker is a Jekyll theme for GitHub Pages. You can preview the theme to see what it looks like, or even use it today.

Thumbnail of Hacker


To use the Hacker theme:

  1. Add the following to your site's _config.yml:

    theme: jekyll-theme-hacker
  2. Optionally, if you'd like to preview your site on your computer, add the following to your site's Gemfile:

    gem "github-pages", group: :jekyll_plugins


Configuration variables

Hacker will respect the following variables, if set in your site's _config.yml:

title: [The title of your site]
description: [A short description of your site's purpose]

Additionally, you may choose to set the following optional variables:

show_downloads: ["true" or "false" to indicate whether to provide a download URL]
google_analytics: [Your Google Analytics tracking ID]


If you'd like to add your own custom styles:

  1. Create a file called /assets/css/style.scss in your site
  2. Add the following content to the top of the file, exactly as shown:
    @import "{{ site.theme }}";
  3. Add any custom CSS (or Sass, including imports) you'd like immediately after the @import line

Note: If you'd like to change the theme's Sass variables, you must set new values before the @import line in your stylesheet.


If you'd like to change the theme's HTML layout:

  1. Copy the original template from the theme's repository
    (Pro-tip: click "raw" to make copying easier)
  2. Create a file called /_layouts/default.html in your site
  3. Paste the default layout content copied in the first step
  4. Customize the layout as you'd like

Overriding GitHub-generated URLs

Templates often rely on URLs supplied by GitHub such as links to your repository or links to download your project. If you'd like to override one or more default URLs:

  1. Look at the template source to determine the name of the variable. It will be in the form of {{ site.github.zip_url }}.
  2. Specify the URL that you'd like the template to use in your site's _config.yml. For example, if the variable was site.github.url, you'd add the following:
      another_url: another value
  3. When your site is built, Jekyll will use the URL you specified, rather than the default one provided by GitHub.

Note: You must remove the site. prefix, and each variable name (after the github.) should be indent with two space below github:.

For more information, see the Jekyll variables documentation.


See the open issues for a list of proposed features (and known issues).

Project philosophy

The Hacker theme is intended to make it quick and easy for GitHub Pages users to create their first (or 100th) website. The theme should meet the vast majority of users' needs out of the box, erring on the side of simplicity rather than flexibility, and provide users the opportunity to opt-in to additional complexity if they have specific needs or wish to further customize their experience (such as adding custom CSS or modifying the default layout). It should also look great, but that goes without saying.


Interested in contributing to Hacker? We'd love your help. Hacker is an open source project, built one contribution at a time by users like you. See the CONTRIBUTING file for instructions on how to contribute.

Previewing the theme locally

If you'd like to preview the theme locally (for example, in the process of proposing a change):

  1. Clone down the theme's repository (git clone
  2. cd into the theme's directory
  3. Run script/bootstrap to install the necessary dependencies
  4. Run bundle exec jekyll serve to start the preview server
  5. Visit localhost:4000 in your browser to preview the theme

Running tests

The theme contains a minimal test suite, to ensure a site with the theme would build successfully. To run the tests, simply run script/cibuild. You'll need to run script/bootstrap one before the test script will work.