Thomas Derflinger BlogFR

Creating Interactive Markdown with MDX

Markdown is a popular format for online content due to its easy syntax. Now you can create interactive content with React components in markdown with MDX.

In this article I show how to use MDX with a React application to render an interactive chart with Recharts in a markdown file.

React Static

React Static is a progressive static site generator for React. It is used for our example application. Other React static site generators like Gatsby or Next.js can also be used.

The MDX loader needs to be added to React Static which is described in the MDX documentation.

Recharts

Recharts is a React charting library based on the fantastic D3.js library. With it you can easily create line charts, bar charts and many other types of charts. All this is easily packaged for React developers.

To use Recharts for your own application, just install it with

yarn add recharts

Example Chart

The example chart component is shown here, a normal React component:

ExampleChart.js

import React from 'react'
import {
  LineChart,
  Line,
  XAxis,
  YAxis,
  CartesianGrid,
  Tooltip,
  Legend,
} from 'recharts'
const data = [
  {
    name: 'Page A',
    uv: 4000,
    pv: 2400,
    amt: 2400,
  },
  {
    name: 'Page B',
    uv: 3000,
    pv: 1398,
    amt: 2210,
  },
  {
    name: 'Page C',
    uv: 2000,
    pv: 9800,
    amt: 2290,
  },
  {
    name: 'Page D',
    uv: 2780,
    pv: 3908,
    amt: 2000,
  },
  {
    name: 'Page E',
    uv: 1890,
    pv: 4800,
    amt: 2181,
  },
  {
    name: 'Page F',
    uv: 2390,
    pv: 3800,
    amt: 2500,
  },
  {
    name: 'Page G',
    uv: 3490,
    pv: 4300,
    amt: 2100,
  },
]
export default () => (
  <div>
    <LineChart width={400} height={400} data={data}>
      <CartesianGrid strokeDasharray="3 3" />
      <XAxis dataKey="name" />
      <YAxis />
      <Tooltip />
      <Legend />
      <Line
        type="monotone"
        dataKey="pv"
        stroke="#8884d8"
        activeDot={{ r: 8 }}
      />
      <Line type="monotone" dataKey="uv" stroke="#82ca9d" />
    </LineChart>
  </div>
)

This component displays a nice line chart.

Then this ExampleCharts component can be inserted into the MDX file:

chart.mdx

# The Chart in MDX

This is some sample data from our chart:

import ExampleChart from "../components/ExampleChart.js"

<ExampleChart></ExampleChart>

Note, that you can write whole lines of JavaScript and JSX directly in the MDX file. In our example, I imported the component and displayed it.

For the React Static application, you also need to display it in a route as a component which you can import, like so:

import React from 'react'
import Chart from './chart.mdx'

export default () => (
  <div>
    <Chart />
  </div>
)

The result is a beautiful line chart as you can see in this screenshot:

MDX screenshot

Conclusion

Using MDX with React Static was easy and straighforward. The example React component Recharts was easily incorporated. Thus, I hope to encourage you to try out MDX yourself.

References

Published 20 Jan 2020

Thomas Derflinger

Thomas Derflinger

I am an independent entrepreneur and software developer.

Web is a topic I really enjoy. Let's get in touch!