Migrating to Hugo

I have just completed migrating the blog from Movable Type to Hugo. Hopefully everything still works and is in the right place, but do let me know if you find any issues. The comments have been migrated to Disqus.

I’ve been wanting to update my websites for quite a while now. I spent quite a lot of effort trying to find someone to do it for me but all of the web companies seemed to lose interest when they realised that I didn’t want an ongoing “SEO” package (I’ve always viewed SEO as “snake oil”). Eventually the old system was untenable; Google was penalising my sites for not displaying well on mobile devices; and the Movable Type installation had become almost impossible to update and was suffering from various vulnerabilities that meant I had to keep cleaning things up and turning things off.

Migration was reasonably easy, but took time. Step one was to export the current data from Movable Type to a series of Markdown files that I could use as the basis of the Hugo content. This was achieved by creating new “entry templates” in Movable Type which rendered the content in the correct format. Then I post-processed these files with a crufty piece of code that fixed up various issues where there was raw html in the markdown.

I decided on the Mainroad theme for Hugo as it allowed me to stick to a design that was familiar to me. I then tweaked it a little and added date based archive pages by following this from Jayless.net. The archive display still needs a bit of work with some nicer css styles but the bulk of the work is done.

Hopefully this system is easier to publish on than the Movable Type system ended up being. The advantage of Hugo, for me, is that it’s all static pages and it can be published via a git commit and push to my hosting provider. All of the editing and clever stuff happens on any machine that I fancy working on as long as I can check out my website repo.