57005 or alive

Moving to a static site generator

Jun 13, 2016 blog web hugo

This blog started on wordpress.com back in February of 2012, then in November 2013 I moved it to a hosted WordPress.org site here at latkin.org. WordPress is quite nice, but it seemed like it was a bit heavyweight given my very basic needs. I’ve wanted to slim down the site and get more hands-on for a while, now.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been migrating the entire blog to the Hugo static site generator. I’m pleased to announce that the migration is complete!

Why Hugo?

No particular reason. I happened to be reading a blog with a “created by Hugo” footer one evening when inspiration struck. Skimming through comparisons of Jekyll, Hugo, Octopress, Middleman, etc left me with the opinion that they are all capable tools, especially for a simple personal blog.

Some nice aspects of Hugo that I have noticed, though, include simplicity, performance, and ease of use. The entire Hugo platform is just 1 command-line executable, which works great out of the box with 0 config. It’s written in Go so overall it feels pretty snappy.

Leaner, meaner kinder

I wanted the site to be much lighter-weight, simple, and portable. Not quite as barebones as, say, http://danluu.com/, but something closer to that.

Where I’m at now:

The blog landing page weighs in at about 54KB, which is quite trim. Despite my efforts to avoid gratuitous javascript, about 90% of that 54K is is external JS (Google Analytics, Disqus comment counts, KaTeX).

Disqus comment threads are unfortunately pretty heavyweight, making the posts themselves chubbier than I’d like. My most recent post about benchmarking IEnumerables is ~300KB to load, 85% of which is Disqus. That’s a real bummer, but I don’t know of any significantly better alternatives. I do enjoy the (infrequent) comments here, so I’d prefer to keep some kind of commenting system.

I’ve had fun reworking the site. I am no kind of designer or web dev - certainly there is room for improvement/optimization - but it’s been fun to learn along the way.