How I Made My Website Using Academic & Netlify

Dec 13, 2019


I finally found the perfect theme to make my portfolio in! If you’re curious, it’s the site that you’re on right now!

I’m using Academic, a HUGO theme made by George Cushen (and other contributors), to run my site. There are many reasons to like Academic, so I wanted to share my thoughts.

I have been looking for a good static site generator now. I used to host my old portfolio on github using a Jekyll theme, but at that time, I learned that developing the site locally meant a lot of Ruby installations and configurations, etc. I ended up installing Ruby, but I thought that it was a waste because I don’t work with Ruby, and it took up a lot of space for something I don’t use often. When I found Hugo later, I was very happy because it is:

  1. Written in Go, and Go is such a fun language to work with
  2. Lightweight
  3. Fast

Furthermore, I came across Academic, and it has been a joy to work with so far.

That being said, here are the two main reasons why I like Academic:


If you take a look around my site, you can see that I changed up the base Academic theme. I really like how the widgets and pages are set up because it gives you the ability to make design choices. If you’re interested in customization, Academic is the theme for you. Besides having the ability to use prebuilt widgets, you can also make your own and define your own pages.

For example, the Concepts and Gallery pages are page types that I defined separate from the main page. I unfortunately have not made my own widget yet so I don’t have a working example. The fact that you can make your own widgets, however, shows just how deep into customization you can get.

You can also use custom HTML and CSS code to fine-tune your customization. For example, you can change the background color of specific widget types, text indentation level, and so much more.

If you want to customize the html, you need to understand how Hugo templates work.

Don’t worry if you don’t like customizing too much; the base theme of Academic looks very professional by itself.

Netlify Integration

Netlify is a company which offers hosting and serverless backend services for static websites. I was really glad that Academic has native integration with Netlify because it makes it extremely easy for me to deploy changes to the web. My code for this website is hosted on github, and I gave Netlify a deploy key so it’s able to rebuild my site whenever I push changes.

Netlify is also free for most reasonable personal projects and offer other benefits such as:

If you take a look at my web address, you can see that I have a custom domain. Netlify DNS is set to be quick and mostly automated – I haven’t had trouble adding my custom domains so far!

If you’re interested after reading this post, I highly recommend downloading Hugo and this theme; try playing around to customize the site to your liking!

Last but not least, thank you to Geroge Cushen and other contributors who keep this open source project alive. Without your hard work, there wouldn’t be Academic today.

def academic():
    print("I like using Academic, Hugo, and Netlify!")
    print("I think you should try using it too~")

if __name__ == "__main__":
Yiping Su
Yiping Su
Software Engineer

I am interested in data, software engineering, and the application of computer science concepts in real-world scenarios.