Choosing a Hugo theme: Part 1

There are a whole lot of themes for the Go-powered Hugo static site generator, and I don’t think I’ve necessarily been using a theme that is best suited to what I want to do with Hugo.

I want to have a lot of posts, which means I need pagination. I’d like to have Disqus baked in. And syntax highlighting for code examples.

I’ve been going through all the themes and trying to figure out which have pagination (the ability to list the blog index across multiple pages, though I also want an archive that lists every post on a single page) and the other features I’m looking for.

Especially when starting out with Hugo, I want a theme with “batteries included.” I’ll leave modification of the themes to a time when I know more about how the templates work, although I’ve already successfully added highlight.js support for code syntax highlighting in one Hugo theme with help from the project documentation.

I counted 141 themes. That is a lot of themes. I am going though them and making notes about which ones feature pagination, and including additional notes about my first impressions.

The number of themes with pagination is much less than the 141 total themes available, so I’ll probably take a second run at them and either try to rank them, or install a bunch and see which ones work – and work for me.

One thing I’m looking at is dogfooding. Is the theme developer actually using what they created? If the answer is “yes,” that’s a definite +1.

I am also making a list of themes I like that don’t feature pagination. Some have really nice designs that otherwise work great for blogs, and others are aimed at things like portfolios, company sites and slide presentations.

tl;dr

Users have contributed a lot of themes that work with the static-site generator Hugo, but it’s hard at first (or 10th) glance to figure out which ones are the best for you. Looking at all the themes takes a long time but seems to be the only way to shed some light.