Bye Known, Welcome Hugo

Various CMS’s were used in the past by me:

  1. Various offline generators like QuickSite
  2. WordPress
  3. Social Media (Google Plus mainly)
  4. Known

And now I have switched to Hugo, a nice Static Site Generator.

Why?

Content Management Systems are nice when you deal with creating a lot of content and you need the features a CMS has to offer like access management, plugins and so on. They are also a pain to manage:

  • It has a database behind it
  • It needs backing up
  • It needs updates to be installed swiftly (to fix security issues for example)
  • It limits in what I can actually put on my site as it’s not the HTML you put there, the CMS generates it

Also a CMS is much slower as it has to query the information that is requested and render each and every page. All this can easily be done up front with a static site generator. You add content, run the generator and you get a bunch of html files that can be served instantly.

Hugo?

Yes, I have chosen Hugo. It has a nice Windows binary, which is useful to me as I do not run Linux. It’s easy to use and it actually has what they call “live update”, you can edit a file, save it and the page in the browser is instantly refreshed and shows the result.

Yes, Known is good at linking my social media accounts to my site. Through a concept called POSSE, I was able to create content on my site and have it be syndicated out to the other networks. Using Brid.gy – which uses WebMentions to notify my site – the comments, likes and retweets were ported back. You do need to share publically though, which is not my kind of game. There are two kinds of ‘writing’ I do:

Public writing

I sometimes write long(er) articles that explain something or reflect my thoughts and/or values. These articles often require research and it takes a while to create. This kind of articles I often link to when I need to explain something to someone.

I like a public, searchable archive of this kind of articles

Private sharing, status updates and diary

When we have been doing something interesting, I like to share that with a select group of people, mostly family and good friends. This kind of information is not suitable for the public domain as it may contain personal, private photos and/or information that could possibly harm me or someone else close to me.

I also keep a diary and I have succesfully merged these two. I keep my journal in Journey. This is a nice app running on my android phone as well as in Chrome on my laptop. I use it to keep track of my experiences throughout live. Most of it is kept privately, for myself only. Some of it I can easily publish to social media like Facebook. I have setup a special list in Facebook to share only with people I want to.

Only for the public writing I like my own site as I do adhere to the #indieweb principles and I like to own my own content. I also have a blog on Medium, but I rather have my own stuff.

No pain, easy and fast and fully secure, period!

Hugo allows me to add new content using my laptop. It’s not easy to publish from my phone, but that is not a real issue to me as I write extended articles on my laptop anyway. Hosting is much easier as it doesn’t need anything but a webserver to serve static files. Backing up is also easy, I have added my whole Hugo site to Google Drive and also in my backup strategy so I keep archives of previous versions in case I break something.

It’s also fully secure as there is no code to run on the webserver. I’m not vulnerable to WordPress exploits, PHP issues, MySQL injection attacks or whatever bad guys throw at my site.

Transition

I have been working a few nights to copy content over from Known to Hugo. Unfortunately there is not really an automated way and I wanted to clean a lot anyway as I have been responding to other people’s websites and adding lots of banter that went to Twitter and other social media that is not really something I want to keep around, certainly not publically. Using TweetDelete I now keep my tweet history to two weeks. Enough for the realtime aspect of it. I still use Facebook, but that’s all private now and only shared with (good) friends.

Future

I hope the indieweb community works on private sharing, with the benefits of owning your own content and possibly using your own site to do so, but without the hassle of having to do everything publically. I guess it would get a lot more traction that way. Work is already on its way. Who knows what will be running here in a year from now or even further.

Happy writing and reading! 🙂