We’re going to go through a minimal example that will let you run Rust code on the client side of a Hugo site. We are going to compile the Rust code into WebAssembly (wasm), which will give us near-native performance on the browser!

Creating a new Hugo site

First let’s initialize Hugo’s quickstart site:

hugo new site quickstart_wasm
cd quickstart_wasm
git init
git submodule add https://github.com/theNewDynamic/gohugo-theme-ananke.git themes/ananke
echo "theme = 'ananke'" >> hugo.toml
hugo server

You should see something like:

# Logs ...
Built in 28 ms
Environment: "development"
Serving pages from disk
Running in Fast Render Mode. For full rebuilds on change: hugo server --disableFastRender
Web Server is available at http://localhost:55802/ (bind address

If you open up the localhost url, you should see something like this:

Empty hugo site
An empty Hugo site

Creating a Rust project

We’re going to use Rust as the source language for our wasm, primarily because its macros make it extremely easy to create bindings. For convenience, let’s initialize the library within the assets directory in our Hugo site.

# In hugo site folder
cd assets
mkdir rust_app && cd rust_app
cargo init --lib

Open Cargo.toml and add the following

# Add this at the bottom
crate-type = ["cdylib", "rlib"]

Now, we need to add wasm-bindgen as a dependency, which will give us a single-line solution to create bindings.

cargo add wasm-bindgen

In src/lib.rs, let’s write a performance critical function that we need to call from our web app

use wasm_bindgen::prelude::*;

pub fn sieve_of_eratosthenes(n: usize) -> Vec<i32> {
    let mut primes = Vec::new();
    let mut is_prime = vec![true; n + 1];
    is_prime[0] = false;
    is_prime[1] = false;

    for i in 2..=n {
        if is_prime[i] {
            primes.push(i as i32);

            let mut j = 2 * i;
            while j <= n {
                is_prime[j] = false;
                j += i;


We will build this with

wasm-pack build --target web

You should see the compiled output in pkg.

ls pkg
package.json  rust_app.d.ts  rust_app.js  rust_app_bg.wasm  rust_app_bg.wasm.d.ts

Calling Rust from Javascript

Now, in the rust_app folder, let’s create a web app that will use our prime sieve.

# in assets/rust_app
mkdir www && cd www
touch index.js

Put the following in the index.js file

import init, * as wasm from '../pkg/rust_app';

init(wasm_path).then(_ => {
    function computePrimes()
        var inputNumber = parseInt(
        if (!isNaN(inputNumber) && inputNumber >= 1) {
            var primes = wasm.sieve_of_eratosthenes(inputNumber);
            document.getElementById('output').innerText = primes.join(', ');
        } else {
            document.getElementById('output').innerText =
                'Please enter a valid integer.';
    let button = document.getElementById('computeButton');
    button.addEventListener('click', () => {

Embedding WebAssembly into the Site

Now, we want the output of the wasm function to show up on the site. So, let’s make a shortcode that we can insert into an article with a small web app.

In ~/quickstart_wasm/layouts/shortcodes/wasm_app.html

<!doctype html>
<html lang="en">
    <title>Prime Number Finder</title>
    <input type="number" id="inputNumber" placeholder="Enter an integer..." />
    <button id="computeButton">Compute</button>
    <div id="output"></div>

    <!-- rust_app MUST be in /assets to be detected! -->
    {{ $wasm_path := resources.Get "rust_app/pkg/rust_app_bg.wasm" }}

      wasm_path = "{{ $wasm_path.Permalink }}";

    {{ $index_js := resources.Get "rust_app/www/index.js" | js.Build }}

    <script type="module" src="{{ $index_js.Permalink }}"></script>

The key here is the part where we set the global wasm_path variable in our JS environment. This does two things:

  1. Tells Hugo to make that path accessible through fetch requests
  2. Gives the JS script the wasm bytecode to execute

We should now be able to use the prime number generator from the home page!

Prime number generator
hugo server – Prime numbers generated from Rust


There weren’t many resources on wasm + Hugo online, so I figured I’d make the first tutorial. If you have an alternative/better method to deploy wasm, please let me know in the comments.