Turbolinks and Hugo

I’m currently working on a little side-project called StrangeNewPlaces.org where I’m using Hugo as the main content-framework. That being said, I wanted to have a few dynamic areas on that page that should be loaded via JavaScript and eventually using React.

But having your whole React-app being re-initialised on every page-load would be really bad. Luckily, a couple of months ago I stumbled onto Turbolinks thanks to this great post on changelog.com. With this I hoped to keep for instance an account-box unchanged while the rest of the content is loaded via AJAX and inserted the DOM.

Turns out, integrating Turbolinks is extremely easy but nearly immediately I still ran into a small problem. Whenever I navigated from one page to another, I was greeted by a blank page and something like this showing up in the browser’s JS console:

turbolinks.js:5 Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'querySelector' of null
    at n.t.SnapshotRenderer.n.findFirstAutofocusableElement (turbolinks.js:5)
    at n.t.SnapshotRenderer.n.focusFirstAutofocusableElement (turbolinks.js:5)
    at turbolinks.js:5

Sadly, I couldn’t find any usable information about this so I decided to experiment with various Hugo flags. Seems like the live-reload feature is injecting some JavaScript into the page that prevents Turbolinks from working properly. If I just start Hugo with hugo serve --disableLiveReload everything works fine.

That’s not an ideal solution by any means, but for now it’s enough 🙂

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