Jan 19, 2023

Markdoc components with non-primitive attributes

This guide will show you a way around passing non-primitive attributes to components in Markdoc.

Markdoc is great for writing structured content, where your page would typically consist of Markdown content, and some predefined components. Predefined, because Markdoc requires you to list all the components and their attributes in a schema, before using them with their custom {% %} syntax. This is great when your components are essentially static, or at most parametrized in a simple way, using for instance strings and numbers:

{% note type="info" %}An informational note{% /note %}

But what if we wanted our component to include some content that cannot be represented with simple types? Say, we want a note component to include a custom icon, represented as a React component? In MDX, there is a natural way to do this, because MDX understands React/JSX and module imports in the page itself. Markdoc also understands React/JSX, but it requires an extra step, which we will describe here.

In MDX, our note component with a custom icon could be created on the fly as follows:

import { Note } from "@components/ui/note"
import { Warning } from "@components/icons"

<Note type="info" icon={WarningIcon}>
  An informational note

In Markdoc, there is currently no way to set a custom Markdoc component, let alone a JSX component, as an attribute to another component. Instead, we need to use a set of predefined primitive values that we want to support for our icons (e.g. questionMark, exclamationMark, xMark), and map these to the appropriate icons within our JSX definition.

Our Note component could be written like this:

// /components/ui/note.jsx
import { useMemo } from "react"
import { QuestionMark, ExclamationMark, XMark } from "@components/icons"

const getIconForId = (iconId) => {
  switch (iconId) {
    case "exclamationMark": return <ExclamationMark className="w-4 h-4 text-amber-500" />
    case "xMark": return <XMark className="w-4 h-4 text-rose-500" />
    default: return <QuestionMark className="w-4 h-4 text-sky-500" />

export const Note = ({ type, iconId, children }) => {
  const Icon = useMemo(() => {
    return getIconForId(iconId)
  }, [iconId])

  return <div className="flex flex-row gap-2">

In order to use it, we need to define our Note component in our Markdoc schema, which is located in /markdoc.config.js:

const config = {
  tags: {
    note: {
      render: 'Note',
      children: ['paragraph', 'tag', 'list'],
      attributes: {
        type: {
          type: String,
          default: 'info',
          matches: ['info', 'warning', 'danger'],
        iconId: {
          type: String,
          default: 'questionMark',
          matches: ['questionMark', 'exclamationMark', 'xMark'],

If you haven't already, we also need to tell what the Note component refers to, in /markdoc.components.js:

import { Note } from '@components/ui/note'

export default {
  // Other components accessible to Markdoc

Now, we can use our Note component with an icon reference in our Markdoc pages, as follows:

{% note type="info" iconId="questionMark" %}My informational note{% /note %}