How I used terraform to create a swa blog with Hugo


I was using a service called Stackbit to host and manage my jamstack website for a while. I went in at some point and found out that I couldn’t edit my website at all. StackBit was a fairly new service and I was one of the first 1000 people to use it, and they actually deprecated the way that I had set it up. They had a period of time to upgrade to the newer version of managing websites, but I totally missed that window. So I just let it sit there. Fast forward 6 months and I started a new job in Cloud Engineering. I specifically had been learning Terraform with Azure and have been getting my feet wet in IaC. My job provides a subscritption to Pluralsight and I went through a bunch of courses on Terraform. My favorites were taught by Ned Bellavance. I started following him on Twitter, and he mentioned making a repo for building web app blog by using Terraform.

The Task#

So I decided I was going to fork his repo and build my new blogging website from there while practicing all of my new Terraform knowledge.

My Actions#

I forked his repo on Github. I bought a spare domain to test things out. I then cloned the forked repo to my laptop. From there I used terraform to deploy the infrastructure to Azure. I used Azure CLI to put in the commands to do the following:

  • I created the resource group in westus2, I then created the storage account.
  • I then created a store account container.
  • I then setup the backend config file and placed it into the container. I placed it there to keep the state remote and safe.
  • I then setup a .tfvars file with all the variables needed such as the temporary domain name.
  • I deployed it with terraform init -backend-config=backend-config.txt . It showed me what it’s plan was which included making the swa.
  • I then did terraform apply. After it ran for a bit it spat out an api token, and some name servers.

Around this point I ran into an issue. The swa used Hugo for building the swa. And the default theme wasn’t quite working for me. The CSS wasn’t loading. I didn’t like the theme that much anyways so I decided to go with another theme instead.

When reading through the docs I saw that it used a yaml file for it’s configuration, but the default config file is .toml for hugo. I tried using a .toml to .yaml converter but it was a pain. I decided to go ahead and swap out the .toml config file for the .yaml, which I was more used to using anyways and it worked great when I ran it locally!

After that I added the api token as a secret. The repo already came with some GitHub Actions that allowed the workflow to publish the site from Github to Azure.

Once that was working, I went ahead and created a CNAME record and pointed it to my website on Azure and got it validated and working!

The Result#

It’s a simple and neat little website that loads pretty quick thanks to Azure’s CDN and this was a fun little project to stretch my wings a bit and put into practice what I’ve been learning. I don’t have a background CMS system with this and that’s okay. I wanted to learn how to write with Markdown a little bit more anyways.

I’m very thankful for Ned Bellavance for creating this resource and for his Terraform tutorials on Pluralsight, it gave me the confidence to try this out and I’m very happy with the results.