Jekyll Visual Studio and UTF-8 encoding

So you want to write Jekyll blog posts using Visual Studio. Make sure you set the correct Unicode encoding!

Jekyll does not deal well with UTF-8 encoding including BOM signatures

Create a new markdown file in Visual Studio 2013 with default settings and try parsing it in Jekyll to HTML. You’ll notice that when you open the post in a browser you will see some weird series of characters.

What the page looks like after rendering

How to reproduce the issue

  • Have Jekyll running with the command: jekyll serve --drafts --watch
  • Started off Visual Studio with right-clicking the _drafts folder and selecting “Add New Item”.
  • Select “HTML Page” and entered the name testing001.markdown in the name field in the bottom of the wizard screen.
  • This created a new HTML file in the _drafts folder.
  • Delete the generated HTML source code from the new file.
  • Enter the basic content of the blog post, eg.:
layout: post
author: Johan
> Testing 001
  • Reload your blog posts page and check if the file shows up in the list of new articles.
  • Click the link to the new blog post draft and see for yourselve that somehow the post didn’t render and you end up with only a HTML page with no layout etc.

How it looks like in Visual Studio

Fixing Unicode encoding issue in Visual Studio Community 2013

So Visual Studio is saving new files as Unicode (UTF-8 with BOM signature) by default and Jekyll needs files which are encoded using UTF-8 without BOM signature.

Just make sure that you save the files using the right unicode and you’re good to go.

Save as encoding in Visual Studio wizard

The nice people at JekyllRB warned us about this at

JekyllRB warning about having BOM in your UTF8 encoded files

Note: This is important with rendering the SCSS CSS stylesheet files as well btw! If you ever wonder why your SCSS files are not parsing correctly after making changes in Visual Studio.

So better follow those guidelines!

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