I'm trying out a new blogging system after using Jekyll for a few years.

A Little History

I've been blogging personally since 2003 or so and professionally since 2007 (when I started my Ruby career). I started on a self-hosted Movable Type install and migrated to self-hosted Wordpress in ~2009 but the administrivia and complexities of those systems wore me down. I made the decision to wind down my own server and move to hosted services, like GitHub Pages, after hearing about the hundredth Wordpress security breach. Since Ruby is my jam, I selected Jekyll, a static site generator written in Ruby.

Jekyll

Jekyll was a refreshing change because everything is flat files and static content. No SQL database of content, no server to administer. For setup, you have a Gemfile with the github-pages gem in it and everything is installed for you by Bundler.

All is not perfect though:

  1. that one gem requires 74 dependent gems.
  2. I could not figure out an easy workflow for creating a post, seeing it while I authored it despite reading the docs many times.
  3. It took 5-6 seconds to rebuild my site everytime I wanted to preview a content change, incremental builds did not work for me.

Hugo

Hugo is a static site generator written in Go which solves many of those problems. Things I love so far:

  1. Easy install with one 17MB binary by running brew install hugo
  2. Fast: complete site build takes 300ms by running hugo
  3. I can preview my entire site by running hugo server and livereload just magically works: I can see content changes immediately in the browser, without even needing to hit the refresh button

Things I don't like or I'm worried about:

  1. Lots of open issues/PRs.
  2. Large Go codebase, Go is not a terse language.
  3. Overly complex: archtetypes, taxonomies, tags are all things I don't need. Instead of choosing one config format, they support three!

We'll see how the project continues over the next few years. I'd love to see a site generator written in Crystal, a fast, higher-level language that has most of the advantages of Go while also being more terse.

comments powered by Disqus