Why Did eSolia Choose Hugo?
A static site generator optimized for performance
Author(s): Rick Cogley
eSolia has used various systems to generate and publish our websites over the years. We’ve used several standalone website “builder” apps that you run on a local PC or Mac, such as Microsoft’s FrontPage, IBM Home Page Builder, Macromedia DreamWeaver and Realmac RapidWeaver. And we’ve used a couple of server-side CMS systems as well: WordPress, Drupal, and Typo3.
Benefits of Static
eSolia has many web pages, but, none of them really require us to use a CMS. If a site has no need for transactions in a database to be driving the content visitors see in a dynamic manner, then why add the overhead of a CMS? We decided to put weight on the superior security and performance of a static site.
A simple comparison between static sites and CMSs is as follows:
|Content Update||Via Files||Access Dashboard|
|Upgrades||As You Like||Continual & Fragile|
The Trouble with Some Static Site Generators
Most SSGs therefore come with the overhead of maintaining a development environment for a required programming language, and all its myriad dependencies. What that really means is the environment has to be kept updated, and that trouble will likely occur when you upgrade or patch the OS. Sometimes, this can get really difficult and irritating. Your site then cannot be updated until you get everything installed just right.
Another potential problem with SSGs is build performance. It may take a fair amount of time to generate the site, because SSGs generally have to iterate through all your files and build each page, every time you update.
A Solution: Enter Hugo
We did a lot of searching for an SSG which would be easy to use, and fast when building the site. Hugo, written in the modern “Go” language, fits that requirement perfectly, and is easy to install for Mac, Linux or Windows. The project was founded by Steve Francia (@spf13), the development is led by Bjørn Erik Pedersen with contributions from many, resulting in an insanely great static site generator in terms of speed and performance.
As a result, most Hugo sites build in milliseconds; in fact it usually takes longer to sync them to your web host (via rsync or ftp) than it does to generate the site files!
Hugo is distributed as a single executable binary file, which you can easily install on Windows, Mac or Linux. There are no dependencies, since it’s just the one file, that contains everything you need.
Hugo for eSolia and Client Sites
When we tested various SSGs, we liked Hugo’s ease-of-use and excellent performance so much that we decided to re-build a few of our sites, and some client sites using it. So far we have built our main English and Japanese sites in it twice, some client sites (example a, example b), and CEO Rick Cogley’s main and live sites.
What if You Need Data for your Static Site?
If data-driven content is needed for your static site, we use our secure cloud database PROdb for that purpose, displaying for example lists of people, cases, organizations, contact info, orders and so on. Once the link is set up, you can easily manage the lists yourself in our PROdb interface.