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Setting up Hugo automatic deployment to Github with Wercker

Posted on 5 mins read

Recently, I again migrated my blog from Pelican to Hugo. So till now, I have experimented with Wordpress, Jekyll, Pelican and Hugo. Without any doubt, Hugo is the simplest to setup. This time, I have setup Hugo in Windows, as I think, in my system, I reinstall Windows OS much less frequently than the Linux. So that way, it will be less pain for me to set up the blog again.

In this post, I will list all the process which I used to setup automatic deployment of Hugo generated site to Github user pages using Wercker. In the beginning, I was trying to use Travis-CI, but then I read about Wercker somewhere. I was impressed with the integration of Wercker with Hugo and availability of many its community-generated “steps” for the build and deploy process.

Hugo Docs already has a fantastic documentation for setting up Hugo with Wercker, but it is outdated. Many other documentations available on-line are also outdated. Wercker has changed many functionalities in its platform, which made it difficult for me to setup things correctly. But after hours of continuous trial and error, I was able to build and deploy my static files successfully.

Here I would like to share the issues I encountered and the tweaks I’ve made. The source codes of this site can be found here.

Project Pages or User Pages

Two types of sites are supported on Github Pages, User Site, and Project Site. User Sites will serve the files stored in the master branch of the repository https://github.com/user_name/user_name.github.io at the address https://user_name.github.io. For the Project sites, everything under the gh-pages will be served at the address https://repo_name.github.io.

My site is a User site, so I wanted all the static files to be saved in the master branch. As Hugo generates all the static files under public directory, I needed another branch to store my source files. So my made a new branch source which will save all the source files for my blog. Don’t forget to remove the .git folder from the theme folder. Otherwise, the build will fail at later stage. You can try using git submodule feature to avoid this issue. I created a repository yash2696.github.io in Github also.

git init                       #initialized git repository in site root
git checkout -b source         #created new branch source
git remote add origin https://github.com/yash2696/yash2696.github.io
git add .
git commit -m "Initial Commit"
git push origin source

Then I initialized my master branch as a orphan branch.

git checkout --orphan master
git rm -rf .
rm -f '.gitignore'
echo "#Your repository name" > README.md
git add README.md
git commit -a -m "Initial Commit"
git push origin master

Automatic deployment using Wrecker

It is very simple to build a Hugo site. Invoke hugo command under your root directory, Hugo will create a public directory which will contain all your content, static files, etc. Then push this directory to Github, and voila, your site is up!

What if a single push to source branch can trigger all the process for you automatically. Here the magic of continuous integration(CI) comes into picture. A free Wercker account can be easily created and hooked to Github account and a new application from a chosen repository. After setting up everything, a push to the development branch will automatically trigger the Wercker. One of the biggest advantages of using Wercker is its extensive collection of user made and well documented “steps.” In this post, I will use two steps, build hugo and deploy to Github.

Wercker Steps

Wercker Steps

Wercker -> Registry -> steps

The first task is to create a wercker.yml file. It will tell Wercker which all actions, it should perform. Here is my wercker.yml for reference. In this, I have used two pipelines, build and deploy. Please follow the official docs for the more detailed steps. I will list all the problems which I face while setting up things properly.

Build

Following the official guide, I used this step to trigger Hugo to build HTML pages. I had already removed git repository information from the theme folder, so this step finished successfully. If you haven’t, you may add the following piece of code in your build step.

- script:
    name: install git
    code: |
        apt-get update
        apt-get install git -y
    - script:
        name: initialize git submodules
        code: |
            git submodule update --init --recursive

Deploy

There is no concept named “Add Deploy Target” in Wercker as of now. Most of the on-line tutorials follow this process which is outdated. Now Wercker uses a concept called “Workflows in Pipelines.”

For new interface, even if you add a deploy stage in the wercker.yml, you will have to create a new pipeline deploy under the Workflows tab. After creating the pipeline, the “YML Pipeline name” must be set to the deploy stage name, which in this case is deploy.

In deploy stage, I used this step to deploy the built site to Github. Each pipeline starts from scratch, so for the deploy pipeline, the git package needs to be installed again. One also has to set up the environment variable $GIT_TOKEN to each pipeline, acquired from Github setting.

Wercker Pipeline

Wercker Pipeline

You need to generate a new access token for your deploy stage from Github settings.

Github Access Token

Github Access Token



After adding deploy stage, add the token you obtained from the Github to Environmental Variables in deploy pipeline.

Wercker Token

Wercker Token



On the next push to your development branch, Wercker will automatically build the site and deploy it on Github Pages.

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