The website itself is built by and served from Cloudflare Pages.
Why use a Static-Site-Generator?
This site has no-need for any kind of server-side interaction - it’s a readonly set of HTML pages, plus a few figures and notes, so there’s no need to manage any kind of running server process - this means that the site can be created as just a set of flat HTML pages and images, which can be served by a number of free services online (such as Github Pages).
It’s much easier to use a static-site-generator than to write HTML directly, because it allows articles to be composed in Markdown rather than writing complicated HTML syntax, and the generator then has the job of using a “theme” plus its' own logic, to turn this into a set of HTML pages. The theme was written by myself in a day or so, just using plain HTML and CSS.
Hugo is one of many static site generators available today, others include Jekyll (which is supported by Github Pages natively and written in Ruby), Next.JS (in JS), and many others, there’s even ones specifically built for documentation (such as Docaurus).
Hugo is good for me for the following reasons:
- The installation is very easy, and comprises of a single binary (for either the standard or “extended” version) which can be copied onto a server or into a small Docker image which is handy if I want to do anything with it. Trivial builds like this site complete in dozens of milliseconds, so build-time isn’t a problem.
- The ecosystem for it seems fairly large, it’s used by some big-name developers and googling for questions seems to often show results from across the web including (e.g) Stack Overflow and Github issues, which makes troubleshooting issues much easier.
- It comes with a lot of features “out of the box” (especially with the “extended”, big-box version), and up to this point I’ve been able to deploy it without the need to include any third-party plugins or scripts (which is very much not the experience I had with Jekyll).
- Developing templates/themes can be done using just the built-in templating language (which is simliar to small inline Go snippets, but with some funky syntax). It took only a few hours to work out how to master the templating language and allowed me to develop a theme from scratch, rather than trying to bash someone else’s into my own
- It’s written in Go, which is one of the programming languages which I’m most familiar with, which means that if I ever do have to dig into the code or write any kind of plugin, then that shouldn’t be too much of a task.