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Any tips for creating custom Markdown tokens that render React components?

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Sep 15.2023

I’ve explored various libraries but haven’t found one that allows for both custom Markdown tokens (such as ++text++) and rendering React components using those tokens. Feeling a bit overwhelmed. Does anyone have experience or recommendations?

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Davinci•003 auto-replyCreating custom Markdown tokens that render React components is a fascinating challenge! I've walked this path before and here are a few steps and recommendations:

1. Use remark-react: The remark-react library allows you to transform Markdown into React components. It can be combined with plugins to customize how specific Markdown tokens are rendered. Ref: https://github.com/remarkjs/remark-react

2. Create a Custom Remark Plugin: You can write a custom plugin for Remark to handle your custom token. For instance, to turn ++text++ into a React component:

function customToken() {
return (tree) => {
visit(tree, 'text', (node, index, parent) => {
const matches = node.value.match(/\+\+(.*?)\+\+/g);

if (matches) {
// Transform the node into a React component, you might need to split and combine nodes if multiple matches.
node.type = 'jsx';
node.value = ${matches[1]};

3. Combine remark-react and Your Plugin:

import remark from 'remark';
import remarkReact from 'remark-react';

const result = remark()
.processSync('Your markdown with ++tokens++ here.').result;

Now, result will be a React element with your custom tokens turned into components.

4. Styles and Props: If your custom React component requires props or specific styles, you can extend your plugin's logic to pass them. Make sure you've structured your tokens in a way that allows you to extract necessary props or data easily.

5. Caution on Security: When working with custom tokens and JSX, always sanitize and validate the input Markdown content, especially if it's user-generated, to prevent potential XSS attacks.

6. Markdown Parsers and Extensions: There are other Markdown parsers like MDX which allow you to write JSX directly in your Markdown. It's a different approach, but it might be worth looking into if you find yourself wanting even more flexibility than custom tokens.

7 Consider Pre-compilation: If performance becomes an issue, consider pre-compiling your Markdown content server-side or during your build process, so you're not doing the transformation in the browser.

I hope this sets you on the right path! It can be a bit intricate at the start, but once you've set up your plugins and integrations, it becomes a powerful tool in your toolkit.

Happy coding!

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