Building a blog with MDX, Next.js, and TypeScript

Oct 29, 2020

I recently decided to re-launch my personal blog. My goals were to:

  1. Write posts in MDX
  2. Enforce post settings with TypeScript
  3. Build a blog index, without duplicating blog data

Writing posts in MDX

MDX is document format that extends Markdown, adding support for inline JSX. The easiest way to get started with MDX and Next.js is to use the official plugin:

const withMDX = require('@next/mdx')()

module.exports = (_phase, { defaultConfig }) => {
  return withMDX({
    // Only support MDX and TypeScript pages
    pageExtensions: ['mdx', 'tsx'],

Remember to restart your dev server after editing next.config.js

This configuration allows me to:

  1. Write pages using MDX.
  2. Import MDX files as React Components.

Adding an MDX page

Adding an MDX page is now as simple as creating an .mdx file in the /pages directory and writing some markdown. Next.js recognizes the new page, and takes care of compiling the markdown to HTML.

By default, MDX converts markdown headings to their HTML counterparts. For example, it compiles a markdown heading of # Hello to <h1>example</h1>. To customize the compiled output, I needed to wrap the page component in an MDXProvider. I chose to create an MDX component, which defines the components map, and passes it down to <MDXProvider/>.

import { MdxProps, MDXProvider } from '@mdx-js/react'

import { Code } from '../Code'
import { Text } from '../Text'
import type { Tag } from '../Text/types'

function text(textProps) {
  return function MDXText(mdxProps: MdxProps) {
    return <Text {...textProps} {...mdxProps} />

export const MDXComponents = {
  // Map code tags to <Code />
  code: Code,
  // Map <h*> and <p> to <Text />
  h1: text({ el: 'h1' }),
  h2: text({ el: 'h2' }),
  h3: text({ el: 'h3' }),
  // ...etc
  p: text({ el: 'p' }),

export const MDX: React.FC = ({ children }) => {
  return <MDXProvider components={MDXComponents}>{children}</MDXProvider>

Instead of mapping directly to HTML counterparts, I now have a way to customize the rendered output for each element. To make use of this, I wrap every MDX pages in an <MDX/> component. While this can be achieved by exporting a default ”wrapper” component in each .mdx file, I chose to wrap MDX pages conditionally within my custom _app.tsx.

import type { NextComponentType } from 'next'
import type { AppProps } from 'next/app'

import { MDX } from 'components/MDX'

interface Props extends AppProps {
  // MDX adds isMDXComponent as a static property to pages written in .mdx
  Component: NextComponentType & { isMDXComponent?: boolean }

const App: React.FC<Props> = ({ Component, pageProps }) => {
  const ui = <Component {...pageProps} />
  // Conditionally wrap MDX pages.
  const page = Component.isMDXComponent ? <MDX>{ui}</MDX> : ui

  return (
    <div className="app">
      <div className="page">{page}</div>

export default App

This is the approach I took for my/about page. For blog posts, I decided to take an approach which would give me more flexibility to customize the layout and configuration of each post.

Adding blog pages

Instead of including my markdown content in /pages, I created a new top-top level directory for /posts. This directory contains one .mdx file for each blog post, which is then imported into a related .tsx file within /pages/blog. With this setup, my project has the following structure:

├── pages/
│   ├── blog/
│   │   ├── post-one.tsx
│   │   ├── post-two.tsx
│   │   ├── post-three.tsx
│   │   └── index.tsx
│   ├── about.mdx
│   ├── index.tsx
│   └── _app.tsx
└── posts/
    ├── one.mdx
    ├── two.mdx
    └── three.mdx

Within each /pages/blog/*.tsx, I import the .mdx file, and declare some related post meta-data (settings).

import { NextPage } from 'next'

import { Post } from 'layouts/Post'
import Content from 'posts/001.mdx'
import type { BlogSettings } from 'types/blog'

export const settings: BlogSettings = {
  id: '001',
  title: 'Building a blog with MDX, Next.js, and TypeScript ',
    'My approach to building a blog that is both type-safe, and easy to use.',
  publishedOn: new Date('2020-10-29').toString(),

const MdxTsNext: NextPage = () => (
  <Post {...settings}>
    <Content />

export default MdxTsNext

Enforcing post settings

While it's possible to declare post meta-data as frontmatter in .mdx, I chose to do this in a TypeScript file to gain a little type safety. When I declare my settings, I also specify a type of BlogSettings to ensure I don't forget or misspell any of this configuration.

- export const settings = {
+ export const settings: BlogSettings = {
  id: '001',
  title: 'Building a blog with MDX, Next.js, and TypeScript',
  description: 'My approach to building...',

This consistent settings export is also used to create my blog index.

Creating the post list

To build my blog index, I created a new page at /posts/blog/index.tsx. This file contains a component to list blog posts, and a getStaticProps function which fetches data about each blog post at build-time.

import { postIndex } from 'build/posts'
import { GetStaticProps } from 'next'

import type { BlogPreview } from 'types/blog'

interface Props {
  posts: BlogPreview[]

const Blog: React.FC<Props> = ({ posts }) => {
  // some JSX

export const getStaticProps: GetStaticProps = async () => {
  return {
    props: {
      posts: await postIndex(),

export default Blog

In my case, the posts prop passed to the Blog component is returned by getPostIndex. This function works as follows:

// Since this function is only called at build-time,
// it's safe to use node built-ins
import fs from 'fs'
import path from 'path'

import type { BlogPreview } from 'types/blog'

// Get an array of filenames in /pages/blog
const blogDir = path.join(process.cwd(), '/pages/blog')
const blogPosts = fs
  .filter((file) => file !== 'index.tsx')
  .map((fileName) => fileName.replace('.tsx', ''))

export const getBlogIndex = async (): Promise<BlogPreview[]> => {
  const posts: BlogPreview[] = []

  for await (const fileName of blogPosts) {
    // Import the post module
    const post = await import(`../pages/blog/${fileName}`)

    // Check that the post has settings
    if (post.settings === undefined) {
      // Throw a build error if any post is missing settings
      throw new Error(`${fileName} must export a settings object`)

      permalink: fileName,

  return posts

The benefit of this approach is that post settings can be used to within each post, and to populate the list of posts.


This is one of many ways to build a blog using Next.js and MDX. Other approaches are outlined in:

Have you built a blog using MDX? Let me know!