Built in Speed and Built for Speed by Hugo

This site is built by the snappy static site generator Hugo. There are many reasons to like this small binary, but the main attraction is pure speed.

I first spent an evening setting it up with Jekyll, Hugo’s turtle twin. When I finished that task, I had a site up and running, but I had lost the motivation for … writing!

There is a good reason why Ruby-programmers always lose at hackatons: When the competition is over, the Gems are just about finished installing. Even George Clooney has abandoned Ruby in favor of Go.

So I spent a couple of hours porting my new Jekyll-site to Hugo. A very short-lived Jekyll-site, it was.

I have never looked back.

Top 10 Reasons Why I like Hugo

Apart from number one, there are no obvious chronology to the list below, but numbered lists are nice:

  1. Speed. It’s fast! It’s as fast as Jekyll is slow. Hugo is coded in Go1, and that seems to help utilize all available cores to their limits. This site is still very small, so a full rebuild is just a handfull centiseconds. But out of curiosity I generated a thousand dummy-pages, and we’re still talking just a second or two build time. For bigger sites there are no other static options out there known to me.
  2. Easy install. No myriads of Gems2. It’s multi-platform and distributed as one binary per platform. Copy and execute. Nothing beats that simplicity.
  3. This is the same for all static site generators, but nothing beats this ease of deployment: Copy. It can even be hosted for free on GitHub.
  4. The static side of it also means that even serving the pages will be blistering fast, and without worries of getting arm-wrestled by some Russian hacker named Ivan.
  5. The livereload-feature is just great, and a recent commit made it even better (soft reloading of CSS- and image-changes). Nothing beats writing articles in a text-editor with instant preview in the browser. This is WYSIWYRG3.
  6. It’s backed by Blackfriday, a fast and very good Markdown-renderer written in Go. I read on GitHub that Asciidoctor-support is on it’s way, and that is good stuff for longer documents.
  7. A small, but helpful community. Check it out on the forum or at GitHub.
  8. It integrates with Pygments for server-side syntax highlighting. Pygments is Python, so relatively slow, but it looks great.
  9. The documentation is easy on the eye and it looks like it has been through some comprehensive and good copy-editing. But after using Hugo for a while, I get a feeling that many details are missing, and it is in badly need of a search engine.
  10. Did I mention the fact that it’s fast?

Some Stuff I Don’t Like

It’s not all happiness. Almost, but not completely:

That’s about it. I notice Hugo has built this in the background while I was writing it. It looks fine. Push publish …

Other Random Notes

no, wait a minute … I might as well mention some of the non-Hugo-related items that helped me create this simple site:

That’s it. Now publish.


  1. Go is a fairly new programming language built by some clever Google-guys – and being employees at Google they sure chose a non-Googable name for it (hint: try “golang”) – some of them invented Unix. It’s a statically typed and garbage-collected language, but it’s not a VM-language so it runs very close to the iron. [return]
  2. “Gem” sounds like a friendly and happy word, but Ruby’s Gems are a pain in the ass to manage. [return]
  3. My new acronym: What You See Is What You Really Get. [return]
  4. “Adelle Sans manages to capture one of the most desired of human emotions: cheerfulness.” – typographica.org [return]

This is a post in the Hugo series. Posts in this series:

  • May 18, 2015Hugo Still Rules
  • Oct 30, 2014 – Built in Speed and Built for Speed by Hugo



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