Running Hugo Academic Theme Locally

And hopefully being able to update the extension without rebuilding the site from scratch. Again.

Overall, I am very happy that I moved from WordPress to a static site on Hugo. I also think the Academic theme is a great personal site theme and I’m alway stumbling on new people using it. However I’ve run into two really frustrating issues that I hope that I have resolved for good:

  1. I following the recommended installation instructions of building with one click on Netlify, but when I would clone the project locally, it would not install the theme submodule. This would prevent my local hugo sever from building until I hackishly downloaded a local copy of the them myself.
  2. Similarly, due to my hacked setup, updating the theme proved impossible. Both times that I have updated the theme I did so by setting up fresh versions of the repo then re-loading content from the last version. Not ideal.

I think I have resolved both problems just by learning git a little better. This time after creating a fresh version of the repo with the latest theme, I cloned with the --recurse-submodules flag. This brought down the theme files from the start and my local hugo server built no problem. Plus I think this will allow me to use the theme’s update instructions.


I successfully updated the theme for the first time without having to just rebuild all the content against a fresh site skeleton. Steps: 1. Ran git submodule update --remote --merge then had to add themes folder in git 1. Applied all the breaking and config changes 1. Upgraded Hugo on my local machine 1. Resolved an issue in a template change that I had overridden

It still took a bit longer to execute than I had hoped, but should be faster going forward having gotten this one under my belt.