Converting from ikiwiki to hugo
Static web sites are great - but ikiwiki was too slow

About 4 years ago I attempted to get off of blogger and onto some more modern, better looking, useful blogging technology. In the end I chose ikiwiki - which appeared to meet most of my needs…

I then documented, step by step, what I needed to do in order to achieve each goal - and I finally did get something that was quite nice, making the edit step truly pleasant and fast - except for one, rather major thing -

Ikiwiki was so slow as to make the publish step more painful than using blogger. I mean, it would take 10 seconds to publish stuff.

And worse, later on, my highly customized ikiwiki code broke, and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. And then, I got involved in the bufferbloat project and had to work in textile (which I hated), and email (which I liked) - and I stopped blogging entirely.

My canon rotted. A lot of my emails would have benefited from being more blog/web like. Not having a publishing tool handy that would “do the right thing” has been a serious demotivator.

So finally, I got up off my ass and evaluated some new tools. I love org-mode - but it just needs too much love to keep running all the time, and it’s interface to html is nowhere near as good as it’s interface to TeX. I really need something that looks more like markdown and converting between url formats is a PITA.

ikiwiki - still too damn slow.

jeckyll: Gotta admit, I was really tempted by jeckyll - but it was written in python and still too darn slow.

Then someone pointed me at hugo.

Ahh… finally - a truly compiled language. The 42 blog posts here render in under 50ms. ikiwiki was measured in 10s of seconds.

It is under heavy development and thus far I still have a few features left to add, which were pretty much the same features as I’d had to add to ikiwiki:

  • heli.gif as the icon
  • MathJax
  • Syntax Highlighting
  • Sidebar
  • Disquis
  • Imagery
  • Import of Postcards from the bleeding edge

The beauty of this is that I blogged most of the process of getting ikiwiki to do what I wanted, and in converting those old blog entries to hugo, I am learning each special bit of syntactic sugar needed to do what I eventually managed to make ikiwiki do.

I am not sure if I will stick with hugo, jeckll is a fallback, but I am pretty sure the work I am sinking in now will pay off.

Find me elsewhere.

Best of the blog Uncle Bill's Helicopter - A speech I gave to ITT Tech - Chicken soup for engineers
Beating the Brand - A pathological exploration of how branding makes it hard to think straight
Inside the Internet Mind - trying to map the weather within the global supercomputer that consists of humans and google
Sex In Politics - If politicians spent more time pounding the flesh rather than pressing it, it would be a better world
Getting resources from space - An alternative to blowing money on mars using NEAs.
On the Columbia - Why I care about space
Authors I like:
Doc Searls
Jerry Pournelle
The Cubic Dog
David Brin
Charlie Stross
Eric Raymond
The Intercept
Chunky Mark
Dan Luu's rants about hardware design
Selenian Boondocks
Transterrestial Musings

February 13, 2015
430 words

latency usability