Hello world: blogdown loves Hugo

This post was originally published here

We are live!

I wrote my last blog post on WordPress on 20-October 2017 and promised myself this was the last time. I’ve been blogging on WordPress since 2014 and the more I used it the more painful it got! This is most likely caused by the fact that I have been thrifting further and further away from point-and-click interfaces anyway…oh and discovering MARKDOWN.

My two rules:

So I finally got round to creating a blogdown-Hugo site:

Hugo is a website generator that is code-based (no more dragging around those pesky WordPress elements); blogdown is an R package that will help you generate Hugo, Jekyll, or Hexo sites, especially if you will be including R Markdown in it.

Steps on 12-February 2018:

  • Created a new blogdown project on RStudio, set kakawait/hugo-tranquilpeak-theme as the theme
  • Edited my name, email etc. information in the config.toml.
  • Absolutely could not figure out how to change coverImage = "cover.jpg". Tried putting my cover image in /static/img/, /static/_images/, source/assets/images and tried linking to these any way I could think of (e.g. with and without the first /) but it just wasn’t happening. Ended up putting my picture in /themes/hugo-tranquilpeak-theme/static/images/ and blatantly naming it cover.jpg (replacing the theme’s default photo). This worked.
  • Pushed the whole project to https://github.com/riinuots/hugo-tranquil-website and then created a submobule in https://github.com/riinuots/hugo-tranquil-website/tree/master/themes so when the theme gets updated I can pull the new version. This is not essential. I need to figure out the cover image issue though.
  • Set up Netlify as in https://bookdown.org/yihui/blogdown/netlify.html which was superquick but then spent some time troubleshooting why my theme wasn’t displaying properly. Turns out that for this theme, it is essential to set the baseURL = "https://riinu.netlify.com/" (in config.toml).
  • Created this Hello World post which seemed to work fine at first. I then added an unquoted semicolon to the title, broke everything and spent 2 h trying to figure out what went wrong. These were the errors I was getting and that no-one else in the world (Google) seemed to have reported:
    • edits to the new post not happening, but the site isn’t broken either
    • clean_site() errors with:

rmarkdown::clean_site() Error in file.exists(files) : invalid 'file' argument

  • after spending 2h on Google/github/rstudio/rmarkdown, blogdown book, blogdown repo, Hugo documentation, I finally came across hugo -v (v for verbose). Noticed

yaml: line 1: mapping values are not allowed in this context

(which I had indeed seen before at some point during these 2 hours). Anyway, seeing it for the second time clicked – markdown thinks I’m mapping something that shouldn’t be mapped (mapping usually means defining variables). My title was (second line of the markdown file, really) title: Hello world: blogdown loves Hugo, but if using a semicolon you need quotes: title: "Hello world: blogdown loves Hugo".

Still better than WordPress.

Next steps:

  • Set up Disqus (comments).
  • Bring over old posts from https://riinudata.wordpress.com
  • Write all the new posts ideas I’ve been gathering over the past 4 months.

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