Thoughts On Indigo, Two Weeks Later

While v1.0 of my first Hugo theme, Indigo, was released two weeks ago, it was only added to the Hugo themes gallery (and tweeted about from the Hugo account) five days ago. Since then, I’ve learned a couple of things that I thought I’d share.

Test, Test, Test

This is kinda obvious, but Indigo shipped with a shockingly silly bug. My assumption was that the Hugo site would always be setup at the site root, rather than in a subdirectory. The result of this is that some assets are referenced from the site root too; for example, if your site is at example.com/blog the request will 404 on page load, meaning that the resource can’t be found — the HTML will be set up to load the fonts from example.com/fonts, but they’ll actually live at example.com/blog/fonts and therefore won’t load properly.

Lesson learned #1: Well, you know what they say about assumptions. I built the theme for my own use, and then didn’t test it against other scenarios. This is such an egregious mistake when building stuff for people that I feel really silly having made it.

Worse, the auto-generated demo site in the theme gallery also runs from a subdirectory, so naturally all those wonderful fonts are nowhere to be found.

Lesson learned #2: you can (and should) actually build the theme gallery and see how your theme will work before you submit it. I’m adding that step to my testing workflow for future work on the theme.

Open source is about clear communication

Within a day or two of being added to the gallery, I had contributions! Jens Sauer opened a reported a few issues (including the one I referenced above) and opened a couple of pull requests.

This was super cool! Nothing I’ve released before really attracted the attention of others, so I was excited. It also made me realize that there’s a lot of value in being very clear about contributions, using issue and PR templates in GitHub, and generally making the process as friction-free and easy for people to help improve your project.

Lesson learned #3: While there is a CONTRIBUTING document in the repository, I feel that it’s not as well fleshed-out as it could be—probably because I wasn’t really expecting anyone to actually, you know, contribute. I’ve opened an issue to fix that.

It’s still scary

This isn’t the first thing I’ve made and released to the public, open-source or not, and it’s far from being the most complex. It’s just a fun side little project, built mostly in HTML and CSS.

And yet — it was scary.

I’m not sure it ever stops being scary. Maybe it just gets a bit easier to intercept the fear and react a little more appropriately. So.

Lesson learned #4: I’m not really sure. Don’t be afraid of the fear, I guess.

Angelo Stavrow

Montreal, Canada
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Tinkerer with a strong interest for development, of both the personal and software persuasion; easily defeated with spatulas. Equal measures enthusiasm and concern for tech's effect on the world. He/him.