A basic sort-of retro theme for the Hugo static-website generator
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would have been cool in the 80s

A minimalist, sort of retro theme. Objectives are:

  • Simple to adapt/maintain
  • Fast loading with minimal dependencies (no scripting)
  • Not entirely ugly - probably the weak link, let's be honest

The theme was inspired by the following geometric shapes to whom all credit is owed:

  • All right-angled quadrilaterals
  • The fillet (but not the chamfer)

A live site using this theme: socratic.space (warning: it's terrible) Aaaand that site is soooo down now! Not because of technical issues, no sir! I just didn't want that domain any more (it sounded stupid, but you knew that). Wow, guess you'll just have to trust me, a random person on the internet, instead. Yikes.


WHBCIT8 screenshot


Generic installation instructions are here


Site configuration

To "make it yours" (even though we all know this theme is mine), change the bits of the following config.toml file that start with TK (and get rid of the TK)

#Adjust all settings that start with TK to customise this theme to your site.  Also remove the TK
theme = "would-have-been-cool-in-the-80s"
baseurl = "TK http://mysite.com"
languageCode = "en-us"
title = "TK MY SITE'S TITLE"

  aboutpage = "TK name-of-the-about-post" #This makes the "about" link in the header function.  It must be the exact filename of your about page without the file extension.  E.g. if your about page is called "mysiteabout.md" then enter in "mysiteabout"
  author = "TK Your Name" #Goes in the meta info of your webpage to help identify you as the author of the content
  copyrightstatement = "TK A copyright statement of your choosing." #Will appear in the footer of each page.
  description = "TK A description that will appear in the html meta" #Goes in the meta info of your webpage to describe the content of your site
  siteclass = "TK MY SITE'S SUBTITLE" #Optional.  If you set it, it will display a subtitle in a contrasting color (adjustable within the CSS) on the site's index page.
  tagline = "TK My site's witty tagline" #Optional.  If you set it, it will display a tagline for the website underneath the titles.  By default it appears italicized.


To add in some introductory spiel to the index page, create a markdown document in your content folder with the following in your toml frontmatter:

timeless = "indexintro"
title = "indexintro"

To keep things simple there's no repositioning of the page index; so perhaps keep this bit short so as not to push the index too far down the page.


The CSS is adapted from HTML5 Boilerplate. Just a few layout and color tweaks. There are some override styles and a few custom ones prefixed with "whbcit8". In terms of font choice: geometric sans-serifs, monospace, and perhaps even slab serifs all seem to work fine.

That's about it. I could have done more I'm sure with pagination and all that crap but I was basically going for one step beyond a MVP, as well as teaching myself HTML5 and CSS3, and this Hugo thingy.

Individual page configuration

Page configuration is largely unchanged from the default but there are some additional bits in the archetype (the template that defines default page settings) which enable additional features. It's explained in the comments in the template for your page frontmatter below.

streamtitle="" #Optional.  If you set it, it will display a subtitle in a contrasting color (adjustable within the CSS) on the individual page.
timeless = "false" #Optional.  If you set it, it will determine whether the post displays date features (displaying a date on the post summary on the index page, date in the page title).  Changing the value to true suppresses all of these features, with the exception of the last modified date shown by the pedrolastmod parameter
coolinthe80slastmod="YYYYMMDD" #Optional.  If you set it, it will display a Last Modified Date under the footer.  This is not automated at all, nor formatted, but simply provides a basic ability to indicate that the creation date differs from the modified date.  If left unchanged, it will display the created date.


Dependencies (and acknowledgements)

HTML5 Boilerplate [and Normalize.css]

Ok so I didn't do all of this theme myself. I do embarrassingly rely on HTML5 Boilerplate and normalize.css. For a beginner like me these are excellent aides. Although I was utterly dismayed to find that a shim like normalize.css was necessary. Seriously, wtf? I know that as a neophyte I probably sound completely ignorant here, and also that there's a ton of history behind this. But goddamn, isn't there like a W3C, or perhaps ISO to tell people how to make a consistent renderer. Whatever, these things meant I had to think less, so thank you!


Is Hugo itself a dependency? I don't know what I'm supposed to put in this readme but duh, you need hugo to use this theme. And again the best part of it was it didn't require me to think a lot. I roll Windows like a total web n00b and I'm usually using all my brainpower to not bump into things, so the fact I could just freaking download an .exe and not even have to add it to my path made me smile. Seriously, who has time for that shit?

Google Fonts

The default configuration uses a rather nice geometric sans-serif font called Montserrat hosted by Google Fonts.

Supporting Infrastructure

And since this is a sort of starter theme from a starter aimed at starters; here's the "stack" of products that I'm using. The skills you need to use these are the ability to read the instructions and a bit of batch scripting [to use S3.exe]: