Google approached Wildebeest with a request to redesign and rebuild their gRPC site, built on GitHub Pages, using Jekyll templating. gRPC, an open-source, high-performance RPC framework is a technology we were interested in learning more about, so were eager to take this one on. The result was a revamped look and feel, a much more intuitive user experience, and codebase easily accessed by developers using a variety of programming languages.
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As the site’s primary goal is to engage developers to use and contribute to the codebase, a major challenge was to ensure it was both technically informative and straightforward enough for people to quickly get started. For example, gRPC has libraries available in 10 programming languages, each of which has its own language-specific documentation that had to be presented in a clean, easy-to-understand design.
Visually, as a significant part of the website is open to public contributions, the site design had to be flexible enough to change unexpectedly in the future, both in content and styling.
Finally, this website was built using GitHub Pages and Jekyll, two tools we had yet to explore. This brought an added challenge and awesome learning opportunity for our team.
With a full UI and UX refresh, we were able to provide Google with an updated look and feel, as well as an intuitive guide for developers to quickly use and contribute to their framework.
As a result of the site’s uncertain content in the future, we used Jekyll’s markdown CSS to standardize styling across various page types and layouts.
Similarly, Jekyll proved the perfect choice. As it was built for sites with active contributions to open-source project, Jekyll makes abstracting page variables a breeze with front matter variables, which enabled us to create a hierarchy of page templates that were highly responsive to dynamic content. Formatting markdown files with Jekyll/Kramdown makes contributing simple and intuitive, such that any user can contribute elegant and beautifully-styled pages.