My blog is now staticly generated with Hugo!

This blog now is staticly generated with Hugo. After almost 8 years I moved from Wordpress to another blogging tool.

Why moving away from Wordress?

I think Wordress is a fantastic tool. It enables everyone to have a blog or homepage, is incredible versatile and easy to work with. Also I can write an article without having an editor on my machine. Heck, I can even write an article on my mobile phone! But it also has downsides: One can get hacked (actually the site of my club was hacked as well just recently…) and the page generation can be slower than staticly generated sites.

So for all the good Wordress does, I decided to jump the static page generator bandwagon and recreate my blog in a static generated fashion.

Ok and why Hugo?

I tried out Wyam (as I’m a .Net Developer and Wyam is written in .Net this seems quite natural). But I faced two-and-a-half difficulties with Wyam:

  • It wasn’t that easy to work with Wyam. As Wyam is not so widely used there are not so many good resources about working with Wyam. Compared to working with Hugo it was easier to start but harder to finish the transition. I did not find information for “normal” use cases (how do I link relative to another page in my blog?) and I took me a long time to transition my blog to Wyam. I liked the flexibility with the pipelines but did not find good examples to manipulate the default pipelines. Hugo on the other hand had a tad better documentation and I found way more examples for Hugo.
  • There was no easy way of migrate from Wordpress to Wyam. I started to write my own. Which took my time from blogging to creating the perfect script. A pattern I recognize often with me on private projects…
  • The “and-a-half” problem was not actually with Wyam but with me: I did download the sourcecode of Wyam (I am an developer) and executed everything from Visual Studio. This was not necessary and drained my focus from actually writing. I always saw the code as an opportunity to learn instead of a means to an end. The blog tool should encourage you to blog. Not to read code… But again, this has nothing to do with Wyam, I would totally have the same problem with other tools if I had the code in front of me.

On the question, why Hugo and not any of the other hundreds of generators? I’d heard of Hugo in the past and it was in the top row on staticgen when ordered by GitHub stars. So I’d gave it a try.

How was the transition?

Ok, I guess? I used the exitwp-for-Hugo to transform my posts to Hugo compatible MarkDown files. It worked good (besides the fun of getting Python running on Windows). Two improvements I wished for would’ve been the download of the images in a post, not only the thumbnails. Also an set alias in the frontmatter would have been nice. Besides that the script works like a charm.

Starting the blog is well documented, although a primer on the functions would have been nice. It took me a while to realize the {{ .Summary }} functions go into the template, not the text. Makes sense in hindsight.

Regarding the frontmatter and configuration it wasn’t always clear to me if a entry is “standard” Hugo or used only in this specific theme.

Regarding the theme I chose Hamburg from Hauke Stieler. I choose it partly as I originate in Hamburg but mostly because it works without Javascript. I still have to download the fonts and remove the calls to google as well as to provide a favicon.