Using Org-mode and Babel with Hugo


Carl Colglazier


April 25, 2017


This is no longer my current workflow and is also out-of-date at this point; however, I am keeping a copy up for archival purposes.

I have been a consistent user of Org-mode for a couple of years. I like it for a few reasons. It is very versatile; I can use it for everything from class notes to papers to writing documentation. It is very extendable; it can perform almost every operation I need in a text program. Most importantly it saves time.

My main attraction to using Org-mode with Hugo is to pursue a form of literate programming. Babel provides an excellent tool for literate programming such that both the source code and output can be included in the same document.

I use this technique frequently to dynamically generate adaptable reports. I can write both the code and my write-up inside Org-mode and any changes are automatically reflected in the next export.

For this reason, I was excited to hear that Hugo added support for Org mode in v0.19. The native go parser, goorgeous, does not support every part of the Org-mode syntax at the moment, but it is certainly good enough to work with for now.

Getting Started

Hugo can generate Org-mode files in the same way it creates markdown files

cd ../../
rm content/notes/
hugo new notes/
/home/carl/programs/web/ created

The contents of the file will look like the following:

date: 2017-04-25T14:47:30-04:00
draft: true
title: post

This front matter is formatted using YAML. Currently Org-mode is not supported as a metaDataFormat, so we will not be able to have hugo create an Org-mode header by defualt; however, everything still works if we create the header manually.


First I created a simple “Hello, World” program written in C inside an Org-mode source block.

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
    printf("Hello, World!\n");
    return 0;
Hello, World!

I then ran the program in Babel, producing the above result.