Going Hugo

I’ve finally updated this blog. In the past I built most of the websites I worked on using the excellent Django web framework built in Python. In switching jobs a little over a year ago, I moved to an team that didn’t run any Python and instead used PHP and the Laravel framework. This greatly reduced my opportunity to work in Django on a daily basis and I instead spent most of my time working on front end code. That switched even more a few months later when I became the SEO & PPC Manager at Micro Focus.

I can’t believe I hadn’t updated the site in 5 years, but hey, priorities. The old design felt fresh in 2011 when I built it but the colors and mobile friendliness just weren’t there. Also, I had people in the comments letting me know that the white text on red background “made their eyes bleed”! So, there was that.

Why Hugo

I certainly could have just updated the Django powered CMS that was powering the site and refreshed the design. However working more on just front end code I realized I loved the idea of static generators. I read a bunch about them and then tried a few. I liked the customizability of Jekyll but I’ll be darned if on the second day on I was battling “package dependency hell” in just trying to switch between my work desktop and home laptop. It felt like it should be easier.

Then I found Hugo. It was simple to install, logical and most importantly it was blazing fast! It makes development fun again. The built in local development server refreshes almost instantly so seeing my changes is almost immediate.

Why Static

There are a lot of reasons why more sites are being built statically. I would say the main reasons are:

  • Security - With no database to hack into security is greatly simplified
  • Speed - Because it’s static the entire site can be hosted on any CDN making load times blazingly fast
  • Simplified Dev - Since everything can now be in git (or whatever version control you prefer) development is simplified

Being focused more on SEO now the big benefit I wanted was greater speed. With users being on mobile devices more and a reduced patience for slow sites, this was the biggest win to me.

I anticipate I’ll be building out many more sites using Hugo as it becomes my development platform of choice.

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