Mardown, hugo, slidev: ideas that may help

On the forum, I have posted a couple of times in different places how I have found these markdown ways of making websites with hugo and presentations with slidev to be difficult. This is strange because I use markdown all the time and I thought it would be easy but the problem is not really the use of markdown but how developers often think about problems. I think I have cracked a few problems I was having though and I am putting them here because maybe it will help someone else. Some of this understanding (which may seem/be obvious to many of you) helped me get past a barrier to developing a hugo website:

  1. Developers often try to separate content from styling. This is counter to the whole gui way of doing things that microsoft and apple have pounded into our heads since the 80s (apple) and 90s (microsoft). So take for instance powerpoint, every slide is one-off. One does the formatting with the content. Tools like slidev and beamer separate the content from the styling far more. It is the same with websites on hugo where you write the content and apply a theme later where as wordpress site styling and themes are chosen up front.

  2. Because of point 1 above, it is best to concentrate on content at the beginning when using hugo or slidev. Apply a theme later.

  3. Do not get into micro-managing themes. They are not that easy to change. Hugo also has multiple places to change things and it is difficult to keep track and also to overwrite your custom styling with an update of a theme. Choose a theme and if you don’t like it, you will probably find another that you do like.

  4. Not all hugo themes are equally easy to modify. If you do get into modifying a .css for a hugo theme, not all themes are the same. I made the mistake of starting with the casper theme and I am only realising now that this was 80% of my problem. Most other themes seem easier to use.

  5. greping can lead you astray when making a hugo website. Many people’s approach is to find something they like and change the content find with grep. There is a lot of repeated content and changes you make often seem not to appear on website. You need to know exactly where styles are being applied.

  6. _index in hugo is important.

  7. hexadecimal colour specifications in .css are a pain when you are trying to change a colour via searching.


I personally like this approach, because if my actual content is in Markdown, I can publish it anywhere, or convert to other formats like PDF. If formatting etc is included with the content, it becomes a bit difficult to reuse content. My old content written and formatted in MS word are still lying around waiting to be re written in markdown.

For example, I write in markdown. I publish the content on my personal blog. The same content is also published on a different blog website. It is also published on my university’s blog. The university blog does not use markdown, but its easy to convert markdown to rich text.

So having content separate works for me, because I just need to write once and then copy paste wherever I want to publish. But I agree it makes theming a bit difficult. I am using a pre made and bloated theme for my jekyll blog. I want to modify it, but the code it too complex for me to handle.

Also, using markdown format gives me the extra guarantee that I can convert it to any format easily. If there’s some new exotic format popping up on the internet, no worries if my content is in markdown. Even if nobody has made a converter, markdown is so simple that I’ll write my own converter for markdown to new format.

I have never worked on Apple device/software. I do have worked on PowerPoint lot of times. I almost never apply formatting on a per siide basis, and instead use a similar approach of making content and design separately. I use slide master to first specify the layouts, fonts, colors. I write content in MS Word. Then I use the import feature to convert Word document to slides. If needed, I change the layout to a different one I pre defined. move pictures here and there. But thats it. All backgrounds, colors, fonts, content layout is done with slide master.

Very true. :laughing:


Kinda off topic - I found an interesting repo that lets you make presentation slides in markdown and export it as a website that you can host on your server or GitHub pages.

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