Brought to you by Hugo

After over a year without a post, it gets difficult to get motivated to patch the constant stream of security issues that Wordpress brings. I’ve been thinking for some time about minimizing the footprint of this blog and the other properties I host for friends and family, and I decided I would use static sites where possible. This weekend I decided to pull the trigger and export everything from Wordpress to Markdown.

What is Hugo?

Hugo is a static site generator, written in Go, that acts a lot like Jekyll. In short, it takes a bunch of source files, combines them using rules, and then renders a bunch of HTML files… once.

Why Hugo?

Hugo was pretty easy to choose, for me. It has great documentation, a pretty active release history, and contributions to the repo on GitHub. I like how it’s pre-compiled, and can be run anywhere, like most other Go binaries. I didn’t have to mess with Python or Ruby, and it was easy to install on my home build server.

How do I use it?

I have a private repository on BitBucket (the fact that it’s private doesn’t really mean anything - after all the content is all public) that I check new content or template changes in to. I have a Jenkins instance on my home build server that intermittently polls the repository for changes, and if it detects a changed commit ID for the repository, it initiates the build, deploys it to FTP (and S3 for when I move off of BlueHost soon), and then sends me a text message (via Twilio) to let me know it’s done.

What’s the difference?

For most people, not a lot. You don’t need PHP or any sort of server-side software besides a web server. For those of us who host content on other people’s web servers, that means we don’t need to worry about patching or maintaining some other product.

There’s a little downside: There aren’t comments. That’s a big loss for some people, but I think in the case of this website, which is mostly dead, it’s not a big loss. Options for people who care include Diqus, which will allow comments via JavaScript. Plus, there’s always Twitter.

What is the future of Send4Help?

It looks like it’s dead. I figured I’d give an update, and what better place for it? I’ll be writing going forward on a personal blog where I write about things I care about, instead of things that bring traffic from the web.

Thanks for visiting and reading!