Version 4 (February 2019)

Release Notes tell you what’s new in Academic. As always, we welcome your feedback. You can also file a bug report. Want to update to this version? Refer to the update guide in conjunction with the parameter changes mentioned in the Breaking Changes section below.

See what’s new in Academic!

Welcome to the v4 release of Academic. This version is all about people! There are a number of exciting updates in this version that we hope you will like, including:

  • User profile system
    • Displays a profile page for every author and enables visitors to discover content authored by them
  • Fully personalized contact links
    • Create any number of contact links in the Contact widget - easily link to your Twitter, WhatsApp, Skype, Wechat, Weibo, etc.
  • People widget
    • Enables organisations to easily introduce their staff and organisation structure
  • Blog with Jupyter Notebooks
    • Learn how to blog in Academic using Jupyter notebooks
  • Re-usable About widget
    • Great for showcasing team members

Breaking changes

Here are some considerations to make when updating Academic from the previous version, v3.3:

Configuration and About Widget

Hugo v0.53+ required.

Upgrade your config to the easier to manage multi-file structure

  • note that some variables have been moved or renamed (such as their prefixes removed, especially for those in square brackets)
  • the explicit telegram, skype, keybase, and discussion options are deprecated but they are still supported with the new contact_links (see next item)
  • contact_links in params.toml enables you to add any number of custom contact links, such as Twitter, WhatsApp, Skype, Wechat, Weibo, etc.

Rename the list_format option to view in the front matter of post, talk, and publication widgets and index pages. Adjust its value based on the new mappings:

  • 1 = List (previously Simple)
  • 2 = Compact (previously Stream)
  • 3 = Card (previously Detailed)
  • 4 = Citation (previously APA and MLA), only available for publications
    • Optionally, edit the value of citation_style in params.toml to APA or MLA
  • 5 = Showcase (large images), only available for projects

Also, in params.toml, rename the following project options and adjust their values according to the above mapping:

  • post_format -> post_view
  • talk_format -> talk_view
  • publication_format -> publication_view

If you are using a non-English language pack, you may need to synchronise the fields with the latest English language pack as a number of new items were added.

User Accounts

Create a user account for yourself based on the admin template.

Each folder name in content/author/ corresponds to a username. Usernames must be lowercase with any spaces replaced with hyphens (-). ASCII alphanumeric character set is recommended. You can then enter a username in the authors field of a page in order to link to a user profile, e.g. authors = ["admin"].


If using Selected Publications widget:

  • Edit home/ to convert widget = "publications_selected" to widget = "publications_featured"
  • Update the front matter of any featured publications to convert selected = true to featured = true

Publication types (“Journal Article” etc.) have finally been moved from the config to the language packs. Currently, they have been added to the English pack and can be translated as usual for the other language packs.


If using Selected Talks widget:

  • Edit home/ to convert widget = "talks_selected" to widget = "talks_featured"
  • Update the front matter of any featured talks to convert selected = true to featured = true

For talks, if you do not wish to display a time for the talk, just add all_day = true to the talk’s front matter.

Custom CSS and JS

If you are using custom CSS/JS, move custom JS/CSS from static/ to assets/ folder (create the folder if it does not exist). Keep it under js or css subdirectory as before.

Then use the following options in the new params.toml to load your custom scripts:

# Load CSS and JS plugins
#   E.g. To load `/assets/css/custom.css`, set `plugins_css = ["custom"]`.
#   E.g. To load `/assets/js/custom.js`, set `plugins_js = ["custom"]`.
plugins_css = ["custom"]
plugins_js  = ["custom"]

People Widget

The People widget helps an organization to easily introduce their staff. It may be of particular interest to academic research groups.

To display the People widget,

  1. For each user that you wish to show in the People widget, add the authors and user_groups settings to their account as per the the demo user account
  2. Download the People widget to your content/home/ folder if it doesn’t already exist
  3. Activate the People widget at content/home/ by setting active = true in its front matter
  4. Edit the People widget’s user_groups to determine which user groups to display

Please report any feedback in the discussion thread.


Improved display of dates in talks and publications (#891)

  • In v3 of Academic, the publish date for every page was displayed at the top in the page metadata. This meant that dates could be displayed twice on talk and publication pages, which already had separate date fields
  • For publications, we have formatted the date in the metadata according to publication date format parameter (in params.toml) and removed the second date that was shown
  • For talks, we have removed the date that the page was published as this may be confused with the talk date

Day and Night Mode

When toggling between day and night mode using the sun/moon icon in the navigation bar, any code blocks on your site will also now have the corresponding day or night theme applied to them.

Styling widgets

It’s possible to customize the style of a specific instance of a widget. For example, the background of a widget may be changed to an image or color gradient.

First, define your custom style in CSS using the CSS Plugin feature.

To apply your new style to a widget, set css_class in a widget’s front matter. For example css_class = "MY_CSS_CLASS", where MY_CSS_CLASS is the name of the CSS class which you defined in the previous step.

Thank you

Last but certainly not least, a big Thank You to all the folks that helped to make Academic even better.

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