Moving to Quarto

Moving my website to Quarto from Hugo Academic/Wowchemy


John Best


April 7, 2022


I first published my personal website using the blogdown pacakge. There were some great walkthroughs to get everything set up and I even had Netlify automatically build and deploy every commit I pushed to Github. The Academic (now Wowchemy) theme was a de facto standard among academics (surprise), and seemed like an obvious choice. It looked nice and basically let you build your CV as the front page of your website. And it has clearly filled a niche, now offering different layouts for research groups and other uses.

As its use cases expanded, it got more complicated. Configuration moved from YAML to TOML at some point, configuration files and directories got moved around. I don’t need to update my webisite very often, but every time I did I had to chase down multiple minor versions’ worth of breaking changes, and remember to update Hugo.

Enter Quarto

I’ve been hearing aboutQuarto for a while now, as a successor to the excellent R Markdown. It supports my two most-used languages, R and Julia. And it seemed pretty straightforward to generate a simple static website. I followed their guide to making a blog and everything more or less worked. I renamed the about.qmd page to index.qmd so that it would show up as the front page, and renamed index.qmd to posts.qmd. Then I added a resources directory to the website options and added a PDF of my CV. Everything else was mostly filling in the blanks. I was able to copy-paste my older blog posts, rename them as .qmd files, then debug a couple of quick issues and they were up and running. A push to Github and pointing Netlify at the new repo and I was up and running. Not quite as convenient because I don’t have automatic builds anymore, but I’m willing to make that compromise.

Because the Quarto site doesn’t have the same outline for an academic CV, I decided it was time to make a new PDF version. I used the vitae package, filling everything in as tribbles, and ended up with a very nice-looking CV that should be easy to keep up-to-date. The source for that is available in this Github repo. In the future I may use the same document to generate an HTML version of my CV to include on my website, but for now the PDF will do.