How I Built This - Sun, Oct 11, 2020
Even though I am a newbie to static site generators and Hugo, I built the site, pre-content, in about 10 minutes using a 9 year old laptop after taking about 15 minutes to follow the Hugo Quick Start. Your mileage might vary depending on your familiarity with command line and text editors. Here's a look behind the scenes.
Before You Dismiss This Little Experiment
Special notes for people who immediately jump to “yeah, but …” dismissiveness: Keep this in mind:
–> “Yeah but the site looks like crap.” I picked this theme. You are free to pick something different for your own website. More about this below. And besides, I will likely test how hard it is to change themes.
–> “Yeah but how are not techies going to use it?” Whatever. There are various front end CMSs out there that integrate with Hugo for just that purpose. I have not pursued this.
A Duck-Duck-Go search for static site generators took me to this Jamstack site. I wanted a widely used framework because of all the resources available if I ran into problems or wanted to keep going with it. I just picked it. I did not over-think it.
Computer I Used
You don’t need a fancy computer. I used a 9-year old laptop with only 4 MB of RAM. The pandemic is underway and my son is doing school from home. He was using the good computer in the home office. I had not fired it up in ages.
Once upon a time, the laptop ran Windows. A number of years ago it struggled to run Windows 8. So I installed Ubuntu. It runs Ubuntu 18.04.5 LTS with Xfce desktop environment just fine. I am amazed it has enough RAM to run Firefox with lots of tabs open and Visual Studio Code.
I followed the Hugo Quickstart for a quick run through creating a site. I did that then went off and created this site.
Another helpful page is this one about usage and getting started.
Hugo themes are plentiful. I found the theme for this site in “Retro.”
I have not added a CMS and wrote all content in markdown. If you are not familiar with markdown, it’s easy to learn. There are lots of cheatsheet references available. The two themes I played with had example pages in markdown.
Deployment and Hosting
My goal included hosting the site in S3 buckets on AWS. You can use other cloud services or traditional hosting. Details about deploying Hugo can get you going.
Are All Static Websites This Ugly? (in other words, Why Does the Site Look So Bad?)
This site looks the way it does by choice. I’m having fun with it. Check out the Hugo themes and Showcase for more traditional designs. By the way, the website for Dino’s Pizza in Seattle is a personal favorite of mine. That might be a better explanation.