blogdown (on hugo) VS hugo (sans blogdown)



For a while now, I had my site built with blogdown. Lately, I started to wonder if I really need blogdown as an intermediary between hugo and me.

Besides the obvious ability to run R code and generate plots and stuff and have all the benefits of Rmarkdown, are there any other specific advantages in the blogdown package that you like and that enhance your hugo experience?


What did Romans ever done for us? :smile:

What would be the advantage of using hugo directly? Is this trade-off worth it?

I genuinely don't know, since for me at least blogdown has never been an obstacle, so I didn't have a reason to even consider using hugo directly.


well if you are blogging with Hugo and not using blogdown, you just create markdown files and put them in the content/posts subdirectory. I think the thing that blogdown offers is that it manages the on-the-fly created images (i.e. graphs) very smoothly and plops the output in the right directory. Then plops the markdown in the right directory. Plus the "new post" GUI bit in RStudio is nice. These are all "friction reducers" but not huge new functionality, it's true.

Keep in mind that reducing what us economists call "transaction costs" (yak shaving, learning curve, etc) is of great value. I think blogdown is a transaction cost lowering type of package. It does not create totally new things, but it certainly makes existing things easier!


Simpler, lighter, cleaner install and maintenance? IDK. There is some "this sparks joy" element for me in getting closer to the source and working without intermediates... Peeling off one layer of complexity.

I also kind of gravitate closer to plain Markdown, if one can help avoid running R on top. One reason is simplicity, with a good example in this thread:

IMO, ![](image.jpeg) Markdown syntax just seems to be some much cleaner than the whole knitr::include_graphics code chunk business.

Another reason is broader acceptance of Markdown. I can take my Markdown doc and use it beyond an RStudio session. Can't always do the same with an RMarkdown post in blogdown (well, I can, but with caveats). And if I need to run an R code on the side to generate a couple of images - I'm kind of OK with that.

Totally, I'm with you on that! It was very easy to start a blog with blogdown while knowing nothing about how to make things work. After a year of prodding, tinkering, breaking and groking things, I kind of done a lot of hugo things directly anyway... That's when I started to find blogdown as a layer of abstraction.
I guess it's the same way with, say, learning R via tidyverse: it gets you started fast, but inevitably you kind of learn some concepts along the way and later realize you don't need to load a package per every line of code.


You can use that if you use .Rmarkdown instead of .Rmd in blogdown, but it sounds like you have the answer you want already in your head :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: .

If that's how you were using the tidyverse, something has gone horribly awry.


Correct, and both will take normal Markdown syntax if I'm not mistaken. I was referring to the underlying differences between inserting an image with Markdown syntax VS knitr::include_graphics.

I don't think this should come as a surprise :stuck_out_tongue:. I was looking for other underlying benefits of blogdown that I'm missing. Not really "change my mind" kind of thing, but more of "Hey, I like this other thing. Am I wrong?" But generally speaking, yes, I came here with an opinion (stated upfront) and am hoping to hear arguments against it :smiley:
But I hope this is just good old "change my mind" meme humor? Not sure how to read it right...

A bit of exaggeration and simplification on my part. I can re-state if there is any value in it.


⇧ at its finest

That's the very essence of the change my mind meme, so I'd say we nailed it. virtual high five :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:

No need, just razzing you, since the t'verse swing came out of left field (which is a terrible mixed metaphor…if someone's swinging from left field then something has gone horribly horribly awry!)


Thank you, @mara!

(Online and in real life, I often feel like the main guy from this Sarcasmaholics Anonymous skit, hence the clarifying questions)

And no swing at tidyverse was intended, I swear! :smiley: Just poor example on my part.


And and just to prove myself and everyone else wrong, I thought more about this question and have decided to remain hooked on blogdown. While a clean hugo install feels lighter and simpler, I gain nothing from getting rid of the blogdown layer, and in return get a headache of rewriting old blogposts (mainly inserting generated graphs into places where blogdown generated graphs for me).

So, yes, mind is changed I guess? :smiley:


sometimes a nice abstraction layer is helpful :wink:


The great flip-flopper that I am, I converted my site to hugo from blogdown. I'm kind of liking the lightness of it. I did have to generate a couple of images on the side (previously generated at the site rendering by blogdown), but it was a very fast fix.