Sharvari Desai

Hexo website themes


Back in 2017, static site generators were the cool new kids on the frontend block, and I just had to know how they worked. For the next few weekends, I decided I would create a new website theme each week just for fun.


I chose to build my themes for the Hexo static site generator because, at the time, it was the most popular static site generator powered by Node.js, which I was already familiar with through work.

For my first theme, I built a simple blog theme and open-sourced it on Github:

screenshot of blog theme

For my second theme, I built another blog theme using lessons learned from my first, and this time decided to try selling it for a low price. I've since earned hundreds of dollars from sales of this theme, so I'd consider it a weekend well spent.

screenshot of another blog theme

For my final theme, I built an ecommerce theme using Snipcart, a Javascript shopping cart that advertised itself as easy to integrate. I had been wanting to try it out for a while, and it was pretty easy to get started with. I no longer sell this theme, but it was a fun exploration.

screenshot of ecommerce theme


While I earned some nice pocket change through selling a couple of these themes, I quickly realized that it wasn't enough to motivate me to continue supporting and updating them indefinitely. Luckily in the case of my open-sourced theme, others forked my code and continued to give it a life, but I stopped selling my ecommerce theme entirely due to lack of maintenance.

This taught me an important lesson about picking which third-party software I use carefully and considering the motivation, or lack thereof, its maintainers may have for continuing to keep it updated.

I honestly sometimes look back on these themes and cringe because I've come so far since then in technical knowledge and understanding of accessibility requirements. Despite that, and despite the fact the Hexo static site generator did not remain popular, I'm glad I took the time to build these themes. The knowledge I gained about static site generation continues to influence my frontend work today, and I'm using another static site generator, Eleventy, to create this very website today.