Rendering Minimal Pages


I created a new site and dropped a bunch of markdown documents in the content folder assuming that, without any layouts or themes, Hugo will make a best effort to generate a site. In fact, it just rendered warnings, not any errors. But none of the markdown documents were transformed.

So I did some experiments:

  • I added a baseof.html and still nothing changed. See repository.
  • I then added a single.html and only the was transformed to html, not or See repository.
  • Only when I renamed to, where and rendered to HTML. See repository.

My expectation was that if I did the following:

  • run hugo new site
  • drop markdown documents from elsewhere into the content directory
  • run hugo


  • in the absence of any layouts/themes Hugo will render markdown files to HTML without any layout (similar to pandaoc); the layouts are additive. Browsers don’t really require the boilerplate.
  • if there is a single.html, that I do not have to rename to in order to render or when those files exist in the root.
  • If a page can’t be rendered, due to missing layouts, or empty layout files, then we should have an error by default, not silently fail.

I understand that the intent is probably for the site owner to use some theme, or some layouts to have a fully functional website; and functional is in the eye of the beholder. Layouts and themes are not strictly necessary to have a working site.

Not really asking for a solution here (that is evident from the experiments); just wondering if the fact that and wasn’t transformed is a defect or not, and in the absence of a theme/layout, whether Hugo should transform the markdown to HTML similar to the manner in which pandoc does conversion.

It is not. Please see “page bundles”.

My only response is to let go of that assumption, and if the docs caused you to prescribe to that assumption please help us change it. :slight_smile: