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August 27th, 2016

In this article I will tell you about how to create Markdown Editor with React.js and Web Storage

Purpose of this article is not to teach you React.js from scratch, I’m only just going to show you how to create a specific project using React.js and explain the code

If you want to know more about React.js and explore this technology, I recommend that you go through the following courses on Codecademy

In this project, we will use the following libraries and technologies: React.js, Babel, jQuery, Bootstap, Web Storage, Marked.js and Highlight.js

1) React.js — JavaScript Library for Building User Interfaces

2) Babel — Babel is a JavaScript compiler. We will use it for Setting up React for ES6

3) Marked.js — A markdown parser and compiler

4) Highlight.js — Syntax highlighting for the Web

5 Min Quickstart

Get started by creating a new folder for your project, and name it anything you like. Then, inside that folder, create additional folders and files to match the following structure

Start by creating a index.html file with the connected necessary libraries

Open the js/index.babel in your favorite code editor (for example Sublime Text 3 or Atom) and create a new component that simply displays Hello World on page


Now, run your website on a web server. If you see Hello World on page, it means that you have done everything correctly

If you do not have installed MAMP or WAMP server, for this project you can use Node.js local-web-server package

Now we can get started

First we need to create a text box and markdown preview box where you can see the result of the work

To do this, replace the render function in your component with

and add the following styles to your css/style.css file

Now when you run, your page will look like this Streets of rage arcade machine for sale.

The next step we define a initial default value that the user will see in a textarea. To do this, add getInitialState function before render

and replace


Now, every time you run the page, you’ll see the following text in a textarea

React Native Markdown Viewer

But you’ve probably noticed that in the preview block nothing. Let’s fix it. Add rawMarkup function immediately after getInitialState that will parse the contents of the text box and output the result in preview box

and replace


In this code snippet, I use the standard recommended settings specified in the project repository Marked.js here

and added support syntax highlighting using highlight.js library

and the following code snippet

React markdown npm

takes a this.state.content as input, in this case, the contents of the textarea as a result of the output we get the HTML that you will see in preview box

If you try to change the contents of the textarea notice that your changes are not displayed in the preview box. To fix this, add the following handleChange function after getInitialState

and replace


Function handleChange is attached to the textarea onChange event. The handleChange function updates the components state with the new value of textarea. This causes the component to re-render with the new value

So when you change the markdown in the textarea field you will see changes in the preview

At this point, your code in index.babel file should look like this


Using Web Storage

Suppose a user has written a large amount of text and reload the page by accident, reset computer or even any of the case for which the user did not have time or are not able to save the typed text. The user will probably be upset

What can we do in this case and how to prevent it?

React-native-markdown-renderer Npm

We will keep all written user’s markdown to Local Storage and after each restart page, restarted browser or rebooting the PC, the user will see the text written by him

To do this, add the componentWillMount function immediately after rawMarkup

This code snippet we use to load JavaScript, which is in the file ./js/storage.js on our page within the script tag and execute it every time our component is rendered

Note that the path to storage.js file must be specified relative to the file index.html

Now include the jQuery adding to render

and add the following code in your js/storage.js file

or without jQuery

In this code snippet, we check the user’s browser supports Local Storage (you can check the browser compatibility using the service Can I Use) and if Local Storage is support we add an event listener to the textarea. Every time the input event is fired on them, it means something has changed and we save textarea contents with all changes to Local Storage with markdownStorage key

Finally, replace the initial default value

with add text from Local Storage

Now, if the user has in Local Storage markdownStorage key, to the textarea will be inserted its contents. If markdownStorage key not found or empty then user will see a default value

Full Code






React makes it painless to create interactive UIs. Design simple views for each state in your application, and React will efficiently update and render just the right components when your data changes.

Declarative views make your code more predictable and easier to debug.


Build encapsulated components that manage their own state, then compose them to make complex UIs.

Since component logic is written in JavaScript instead of templates, you can easily pass rich data through your app and keep state out of the DOM.

Learn Once, Write Anywhere

We don’t make assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, so you can develop new features in React without rewriting existing code.

React can also render on the server using Node and power mobile apps using React Native.

A Simple Component

React components implement a render() method that takes input data and returns what to display. This example uses an XML-like syntax called JSX. Input data that is passed into the component can be accessed by render() via this.props.

JSX is optional and not required to use React. Try the Babel REPL to see the raw JavaScript code produced by the JSX compilation step.

Loading code example..

A Stateful Component

In addition to taking input data (accessed via this.props), a component can maintain internal state data (accessed via this.state). When a component’s state data changes, the rendered markup will be updated by re-invoking render().

Loading code example..

An Application

Using props and state, we can put together a small Todo application. This example uses state to track the current list of items as well as the text that the user has entered. Although event handlers appear to be rendered inline, they will be collected and implemented using event delegation.

Loading code example..

A Component Using External Plugins

React allows you to interface with other libraries and frameworks. This example uses remarkable, an external Markdown library, to convert the <textarea>’s value in real time.

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