YAML – the Very Basics

This is grossly simplified introduction to YAML . The complete official documentation is available here . However, you will only need a small subset of it to configure your Hugo project and the ‘front matter’ of your Markdown files. This little tutorial provides a starting point.

YAML is a format for representing data structure in a human-readable way. YAML’s block collections use indentation for scope and begin each entry on its own line. Block sequences indicate each entry with a dash and space ('- ‘). Mappings use a colon and space (': ‘) to mark each key: value pair. Comments begin with #.

Here is an excerpt from config/_default/config.yaml with simple scalar-to-scalar mapping. The quotes are optional, the space after the colon is not: title:"My site" would result in an error.

baseURL: "https://example.org"
title: "My site"
theme: "errorist"

You can nest one mapping into another:

    codeFences: true
    noClasses: false

Here, the key highlight holds two mappings as its value. Indentation is important. If you remove it, this would become three same-level mappings, highlight holding now an empty value. This is probable the most common source of misconfigurations and associated confusion.

Finally, you can map a sequence of scalars:

- git
- hugo
- seo

Here, the tag key holds a sequence of scalars (git, hugo, seo). Mind the space after dash: -git would be an error.

A dash counts for indentation. From YAML specs :

Since people perceive the “-” indicator as indentation, nested block sequences may be indented by one less space.

This is enough, I believe, to get most of the tasks done as far as a your website project is concerned. Should that not be the case, read the YAML docs .

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