Building this blog: Choosing Astro over Jekyll and Hugo

Building this blog: Choosing Astro over Jekyll and Hugo

Recently, I embarked on what seemed like a simple quest: to set up a personal blog. However, that “simple” venture turned into an odyssey of tools, themes, and configurations. If you’re thinking of starting a blog or perhaps revamping your current one, I hope this post helps shed some light on a few tools I evaluated and why I eventually settled on Astro.

Jekyll: The GitHub Darling

Since I initially planned to deploy to GitHub Pages, Jekyll was the natural first choice. It’s tightly integrated, and many swear by its simplicity and speed. And yes, I was drawn by its being the default option for GitHub Pages.

However, a couple of bumps appeared along the road.

  1. Installation Woes on Windows: I hit a series of snags trying to get Jekyll up and running on my Windows machine. There are workarounds and guides available, but I believe the starting process should be smoother.

  2. Theme Challenges: There’s no shortage of Jekyll themes out there, but finding the perfect one that’s still actively maintained turned out to be harder than expected.

Given these challenges, I decided to explore further.

Hugo: The Speedy Contender

Hugo’s reputation for speed preceded it, and I was eager to give it a try. The installation process was a breeze, especially compared to my Jekyll experience.

But, as I delved deeper:

  1. Learning Curve: Hugo’s content management system more intricate than I anticipated. It wasn’t a deal-breaker, but it did require more time to wrap my head around it.

  2. Dancing with Tailwind CSS: I was interested in using Tailwind CSS for styling this blog, since it seems to have become a top choice in the web development community recently. However, integrating it into Hugo needed more configuration than I expected, especially involving Node.js tooling. It felt like patching things together rather than experiencing a streamlined process.

Astro: The Rising Star

Enter Astro. Having already had Node.js installed, the setup was a cakewalk. What really stood out were:

  1. Theme Abundance: Unlike my Jekyll experience, with Astro, it was easy to find modern, maintained themes. It felt like the community was active and vibrant.

  2. Seamless Tailwind Integration: With everything running on Node, incorporating Tailwind CSS felt intuitive and straightforward. No more piecemeal configurations!

  3. Intuitive Project Structure: In contrast to my experience with Hugo, Astro’s content management felt made sense to me without needing to dive much into the documentation.

In Conclusion

Every tool has its merits. Jekyll and Hugo are undoubtedly powerful and have their dedicated fan bases for good reasons. However, for my needs and preferences, Astro was a match made in developer heaven. Its easy setup, vibrant theme ecosystem, and seamless integration with modern tools like Tailwind made it the ideal choice for my blog.

If you’re on the fence about which tool to use, I’d recommend giving Astro a try, especially if you’re leaning towards a Node-based ecosystem. The blogging world is vast, and there’s no one-size-fits-all. But for this software engineer, the stars aligned with Astro.