next-mdx-remote

utilities for loading mdx from any remote source as data, rather than as a local import

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import nextMdxRemote from 'https://cdn.skypack.dev/next-mdx-remote';
</script>

README

next-mdx-remote


Installation

# using npm
npm i next-mdx-remote

# using yarn
yarn add next-mdx-remote

Examples

import { serialize } from 'next-mdx-remote/serialize'
import { MDXRemote } from 'next-mdx-remote'

import Test from '../components/test'

const components = { Test }

export default function TestPage({ source }) {
  return (
    <div className="wrapper">
      <MDXRemote {...source} components={components} />
    </div>
  )
}

export async function getStaticProps() {
  // MDX text - can be from a local file, database, anywhere
  const source = 'Some **mdx** text, with a component <Test />'
  const mdxSource = await serialize(source)
  return { props: { source: mdxSource } }
}

While it may seem strange to see these two in the same file, this is one of the cool things about Next.js -- getStaticProps and TestPage, while appearing in the same file, run in two different places. Ultimately your browser bundle will not include getStaticProps at all, or any of the functions it uses only on the server, so serialize will be removed from the browser bundle entirely.

IMPORTANT: Be very careful about putting any mdx-remote code into a separate "utilities" file. Doing so will likely cause issues with nextjs' code splitting abilities - it must be able to cleanly determine what is used only on the server side and what should be left in the client bundle. If you put mdx-remote code into an external utilities file and something is broken, remove it and start from the simple example above before filing an issue.

Additional Examples

Passing custom data to a component with `scope`

<MDXRemote /> accepts a scope prop, which makes all of the values available for use in your MDX.

Each key/value pair in the scope argument will be exposed as a javascript variable. So, for example, you could imagine if you had a scope like { foo: 'bar' }, it would be interpreted as const foo = 'bar'.

This specifically means that you need to make sure that key names in your scope argument are valid javascript variable names. For example, passing in { 'my-variable-name': 'bar' } would generate an error, because the key name is not a valid javascript variable name.

It's also important to note that scope variables must be consumed as arguments to a component, they cannot be rendered in the middle of text. This is shown in the example below.

import { serialize } from 'next-mdx-remote/serialize'
import { MDXRemote } from 'next-mdx-remote'

import Test from '../components/test'

const components = { Test }
const data = { product: 'next' }

export default function TestPage({ source }) {
  return (
    <div className="wrapper">
      <MDXRemote {...source} components={components} scope={data} />
    </div>
  )
}

export async function getStaticProps() {
  // MDX text - can be from a local file, database, anywhere
  const source =
    'Some **mdx** text, with a component using a scope variable <Test product={product} />'
  const mdxSource = await serialize(source)
  return { props: { source: mdxSource } }
}
Passing `scope` into the `serialize` function instead

You can also pass custom data into serialize, which will then pass the value through and make it available from its result. By spreading the result from source into <MDXRemote />, the data will be made available.

Note that any scope values passed into serialize need to be serializable, meaning passing functions or components is not possible. Additionally, any key named in the scope argument must be valid javascript variable names. If you need to pass custom scope that is not serializable, you can pass scope directly to <MDXRemote /> where it's rendered. There is an example of how to do this above this section.

import { serialize } from 'next-mdx-remote/serialize'
import { MDXRemote } from 'next-mdx-remote'

import Test from '../components/test'

const components = { Test }
const data = { product: 'next' }

export default function TestPage({ source }) {
  return (
    <div className="wrapper">
      <MDXRemote {...source} components={components} />
    </div>
  )
}

export async function getStaticProps() {
  // MDX text - can be from a local file, database, anywhere
  const source =
    'Some **mdx** text, with a component <Test product={product} />'
  const mdxSource = await serialize(source, { scope: data })
  return { props: { source: mdxSource } }
}
Custom components from MDXProvider

If you want to make components available to any <MDXRemote /> being rendered in your application, you can use <MDXProvider /> from @mdx-js/react.

// pages/_app.jsx
import { MDXProvider } from '@mdx-js/react'

const components = { Test }

export default function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }) {
  return (
    <MDXProvider components={components}>
      <Component {...pageProps} />
    </MDXProvider>
  )
}
// pages/test.jsx
import { MDXProvider } from '@mdx-js/react'
import { serialize } from 'next-mdx-remote/serialize'
import { MDXRemote } from 'next-mdx-remote'

import Test from '../components/test'

export default function TestPage({ source }) {
  return (
    <div className="wrapper">
      <MDXRemote {...source} />
    </div>
  )
}

export async function getStaticProps() {
  // MDX text - can be from a local file, database, anywhere
  const source = 'Some **mdx** text, with a component <Test />'
  const mdxSource = await serialize(source)
  return { props: { source: mdxSource } }
}
Component names with dot (e.g. motion.div)

Component names that contain a dot (.), such as those from framer-motion, can be rendered as long as the top-level namespace is declared in the MDX scope:

import { motion } from 'framer-motion'

import { MDXProvider } from '@mdx-js/react'
import { serialize } from 'next-mdx-remote/serialize'
import { MDXRemote } from 'next-mdx-remote'

export default function TestPage({ source }) {
  return (
    <div className="wrapper">
      <MDXRemote {...source} scope={{ motion }} />
    </div>
  )
}

export async function getStaticProps() {
  // MDX text - can be from a local file, database, anywhere
  const source = `Some **mdx** text, with a component:

<motion.div animate={{ x: 100 }} />`
  const mdxSource = await serialize(source)
  return { props: { source: mdxSource } }
}
Lazy hydration

Lazy hydration defers hydration of the components on the client. This is an optimization technique to improve the initial load of your application, but may introduce unexpected delays in interactivity for any dynamic content within your MDX content.

Note: this will add an additional wrapping div around your rendered MDX, which is necessary to avoid hydration mismatches during render.

import { serialize } from 'next-mdx-remote/serialize'
import { MDXRemote } from 'next-mdx-remote'

import Test from '../components/test'

const components = { Test }

export default function TestPage({ source }) {
  return (
    <div className="wrapper">
      <MDXRemote {...source} components={components} lazy />
    </div>
  )
}

export async function getStaticProps() {
  // MDX text - can be from a local file, database, anywhere
  const source = 'Some **mdx** text, with a component <Test />'
  const mdxSource = await serialize(source)
  return { props: { source: mdxSource } }
}

APIs

This library exposes a function and a component, serialize and <MDXRemote />. These two are purposefully isolated into their own files -- serialize is intended to be run server-side, so within getStaticProps, which runs on the server/at build time. <MDXRemote /> on the other hand is intended to be run on the client side, in the browser.

  • serialize(source: string, { mdxOptions?: object, scope?: object, target?: string | string[] })

    serialize consumes a string of MDX. It also can optionally be passed options which are passed directly to MDX, and a scope object that can be included in the mdx scope. The function returns an object that is intended to be passed into <MDXRemote /> directly.

    serialize(
      // Raw MDX contents as a string
      '# hello, world',
      // Optional parameters
      {
        // made available to the arguments of any custom mdx component
        scope: {},
        // MDX's available options at time of writing pulled directly from
        // https://github.com/mdx-js/mdx/blob/master/packages/mdx/index.js
        mdxOptions: {
          remarkPlugins: [],
          rehypePlugins: [],
          hastPlugins: [],
          compilers: [],
          filepath: '/some/file/path',
        },
        // Specify the target environment for the generated code. See esbuild docs:
        // https://esbuild.github.io/api/#target
        target: ['esnext'],
      }
    )
    

    Visit https://github.com/mdx-js/mdx/blob/master/packages/mdx/index.js for available mdxOptions.

  • <MDXRemote compiledSource={string} components?={object} scope?={object} lazy?={boolean} />

    <MDXRemote /> consumes the output of serialize as well as an optional components argument. Its result can be rendered directly into your component. To defer hydration of the content and immediately serve the static markup, pass the lazy prop.

    <MDXRemote {...source} components={components} />
    

Frontmatter & Custom Processing

Markdown in general is often paired with frontmatter, and normally this means adding some extra custom processing to the way markdown is handled. Luckily, this can be done entirely independently of next-mdx-remote, along with any extra custom processing necessary.

Let's walk through an example of how we could process frontmatter out of our MDX source:

import { serialize } from 'next-mdx-remote/serialize'
import { MDXRemote } from 'next-mdx-remote'

import matter from 'gray-matter'

import Test from '../components/test'

const components = { Test }

export default function TestPage({ source, frontMatter }) {
  return (
    <div className="wrapper">
      <h1>{frontMatter.title}</h1>
      <MDXRemote {...source} components={components} />
    </div>
  )
}

export async function getStaticProps() {
  // MDX text - can be from a local file, database, anywhere
  const source = `---
title: Test
---

Some **mdx** text, with a component <Test name={title}/>
  `

  const { content, data } = matter(source)
  const mdxSource = await serialize(content, { scope: data })
  return { props: { source: mdxSource, frontMatter: data } }
}

Nice and easy - since we get the content as a string originally and have full control, we can run any extra custom processing needed before passing it into serialize, and easily append extra data to the return value from getStaticProps without issue.

Replacing default components

Rendering will use MDXProvider under the hood. This means you can replace HTML tags by custom components. Those components are listed in MDXJS Table of components.

An example use case is rendering the content with your preferred styling library.

import { Typography } from "@material-ui/core";

const components = { Test, h2: (props) => <Typography variant="h2" {...props} /> }
...

If you prefer, you can also wrap your entire application in an <MDXProvider /> instead of passing your components directly to <MDXRemote />. See the example above.

Note: th/td won't work because of the "/" in the component name.

Background & Theory

There isn't really a good default way to load mdx files in a Next.js app. Previously, we wrote next-mdx-enhanced in order to be able to render your MDX files into layouts and import their front matter to create index pages.

This workflow from mdx-enhanced was fine, but introduced a few limitations that we have removed with next-mdx-remote:

  • The file content must be local. You cannot store MDX files in another repo, a database, etc. For a large enough operation, there will end up being a split between those authoring content and those working on presentation of the content. Overlapping these two concerns in the same repo makes a more difficult workflow for everyone.
  • You are bound to filesystem-based routing. Your pages are generated with urls according to their locations. Or maybe you remap them using exportPathMap, which creates confusion for authors. Regardless, moving pages around in any way breaks things -- either the page's url or your exportPathMap configuration.
  • You will end up running into performance issues. Webpack is a JavaScript bundler, forcing it to load hundreds/thousands of pages of text content will blow out your memory requirements. Webpack stores each page as a distinct object with a large amount of metadata. One of our implementations with a couple hundred pages hit more than 8GB of memory required to compile the site. Builds took more than 25 minutes.
  • You will be limited in the ways you are able to structure relational data. Organizing content into dynamic, related categories is difficult when your entire data structure is front matter parsed into javascript objects and held in memory.

So, next-mdx-remote changes the entire pattern so that you load your MDX content not through an import, but rather through getStaticProps or getServerProps -- you know, the same way you would load any other data. The library provides the tools to serialize and hydrate the MDX content in a manner that is performant. This removes all of the limitations listed above, and does so at a significantly lower cost -- next-mdx-enhanced is a very heavy library with a lot of custom logic and some annoying limitations. Our informal testing has shown build times reduced by 50% or more.

Since this project was initially created, Kent C Dodds has made a similar project, mdx-bundler. This library supports imports and exports within a mdx file (as long as you manually read each imported file and pass its contents) and automatically processes frontmatter. If you have a lot of files that all import and use different components, you may benefit from using mdx-bundler, as next-mdx-remote currently only allows components to be imported and made available across all pages. It's important to note that this functionality comes with a cost though - mdx-bundler's output is at least 400% larger than the output from next-mdx-remote for basic markdown content.

How Can I Build A Blog With This?

Data has shown that 99% of use cases for all developer tooling are building unnecessarily complex personal blogs. Just kidding. But seriously, if you are trying to build a blog for personal or small business use, consider just using normal html and css. You definitely do not need to be using a heavy full-stack javascript framework to make a simple blog. You'll thank yourself later when you return to make an update in a couple years and there haven't been 10 breaking releases to all of your dependencies.

If you really insist though, check out our official nextjs example implementation. 💖

Caveats

Environment Targets

The code generated by next-mdx-remote, which is used to actually render the MDX, is transformed to support: >= node 12, es2020.

import / export

import and export statements cannot be used inside an MDX file. If you need to use components in your MDX files, they should be provided as a prop to <MDXRemote />.

Hopefully this makes sense, since in order to work, imports must be relative to a file path, and this library allows content to be loaded from anywhere, rather than only loading local content from a set file path. As for exports, the MDX content is treated as data, not a module, so there is no way for us to access any value which may be exported from the MDX passed to next-mdx-remote.

Security

This library evaluates a string of JavaScript on the client side, which is how it MDXRemotes the MDX content. Evaluating a string into javascript can be a dangerous practice if not done carefully, as it can enable XSS attacks. It's important to make sure that you are only passing the mdxSource input generated by the serialize function to <MDXRemote />, as instructed in the documentation. Do not pass user input into <MDXRemote />.

If you have a CSP on your website that disallows code evaluation via eval or new Function(), you will need to loosen that restriction in order to utilize next-mdx-remote, which can be done using unsafe-eval.

TypeScript

This project does include native types for TypeScript use. Both serialize and <MDXRemote /> have types normally as you'd expect, and the library also exports a type which you can use to type the result of getStaticProps.

  • MDXRemoteSerializeResult<TScope = Record<string, unknown>>: Represents the return value of serialize. The TScope generic type can be passed to represent the type of the scoped data you pass in.

Below is an example of a simple implementation in TypeScript. You may not need to implement the types exactly in this way for every configuration of TypeScript - this example is just a demonstration of where the types could be applied if needed.

import { GetStaticProps } from 'next'
import { serialize } from 'next-mdx-remote/serialize'
import { MDXRemote, MDXRemoteSerializeResult } from 'next-mdx-remote'
import ExampleComponent from './example'

const components = { ExampleComponent }

interface Props {
  mdxSource: MDXRemoteSerializeResult
}

export default function ExamplePage({ mdxSource }: Props) {
  return (
    <div>
      <MDXRemote {...mdxSource} components={components} />
    </div>
  )
}

export const getStaticProps: GetStaticProps<MDXRemoteSerializeResult> = async () => {
  const mdxSource = await serialize('some *mdx* content: <ExampleComponent />')
  return { props: { mdxSource } }
}

Migrating from v2 to v3

See https://github.com/hashicorp/next-mdx-remote/releases/tag/3.0.0

License

Mozilla Public License Version 2.0