Project: micromark/micromark-extension-directive

Package: micromark-extension-directive@2.1.2

  1. micromark extension to support generic directives (:cite[smith04])
  1. unified 183
  2. markdown 156
  3. micromark 37
  4. micromark-extension 17
  5. extension 9
  6. directive 4
  7. container 4
  8. generic 3


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micromark extensions to support directives (:cite[smith04] and such).


What is this?

This package contains two extensions that add support for directive syntax in markdown to micromark.

When to use this

This project is useful when you want to solve the need for an infinite number of potential extensions to markdown in a single markdown-esque way.

You can use these extensions when you are working with micromark already.

When you need a syntax tree, you can combine this package with mdast-util-directive.

All these packages are used remark-directive, which focusses on making it easier to transform content by abstracting these internals away.


This package is ESM only. In Node.js (version 16+), install with npm:


npm install micromark-extension-directive

In Deno with esm.sh:

import {directive, directiveHtml} from 'https://esm.sh/micromark-extension-directive@3'

In browsers with esm.sh:

<script type="module">
  import {directive, directiveHtml} from 'https://esm.sh/micromark-extension-directive@3?bundle'


Say our document example.md contains:

A lovely language know as :abbr[HTML]{title="HyperText Markup Language"}.

…and our module example.js looks as follows:

 * @import {Handle} from 'micromark-extension-directive'
 * @import {CompileContext} from 'micromark-util-types'

import fs from 'node:fs/promises'
import {micromark} from 'micromark'
import {directive, directiveHtml} from 'micromark-extension-directive'

const output = micromark(await fs.readFile('example.md'), {
  extensions: [directive()],
  htmlExtensions: [directiveHtml({abbr})]


 * @this {CompileContext}
 * @type {Handle}
 * @returns {undefined}
function abbr(d) {
  if (d.type !== 'textDirective') return false


  if (d.attributes && 'title' in d.attributes) {
    this.tag(' title="' + this.encode(d.attributes.title) + '"')

  this.raw(d.label || '')

…now running node example.js yields:

<p>A lovely language know as <abbr title="HyperText Markup Language">HTML</abbr>.</p>


This package exports the identifiers directive and directiveHtml. There is no default export.

The export map supports the development condition. Run node --conditions development module.js to get instrumented dev code. Without this condition, production code is loaded.


Create an extension for micromark to enable directive syntax.


Extension for micromark that can be passed in extensions, to enable directive syntax (Extension).


Create an extension for micromark to support directives when serializing to HTML.

👉 Note: this uses KaTeX to render math.


Extension for micromark that can be passed in htmlExtensions, to support directives when serializing to HTML (HtmlExtension).


Structure representing a directive (TypeScript type).



Handle a directive (TypeScript type).


Signal whether the directive was handled (boolean, default: true). Yield false to let the fallback (a special handle for '*') handle it.


Configuration (TypeScript type).

👉 Note: the special field '*' can be used to specify a fallback handle to handle all otherwise unhandled directives.

type HtmlOptions = Record<string, Handle>


When authoring markdown with directives, keep in mind that they don’t work in most places. On your own site it can be great!


You can define how directives are turned into HTML. If directives are not handled, they do not emit anything.


How to display directives is left as an exercise for the reader.


The syntax looks like this:

Directives in text can form with a single colon, such as :cite[smith04].
Their syntax is `:name[label]{attributes}`.

Leafs (block without content) can form by using two colons:

::youtube[Video of a cat in a box]{vid=01ab2cd3efg}

Their syntax is `::name[label]{attributes}` on its own line.

Containers (blocks with content) can form by using three colons:

He dies.

The `name` part is required.  The first character must be a letter, other
characters can be alphanumerical, `-`, and `_`.
`-` or `_` cannot end a name.

The `[label]` part is optional (`:x` and `:x[]` are equivalent)†.
When used, it can include text constructs such as emphasis and so on: `x[a *b*

The `{attributes}` part is optional (`:x` and `:x{}` are equivalent)†.
When used, it is handled like HTML attributes, such as that `{a}`, `{a=""}`,
, `{a=''}` but also `{a=b}`, `{a="b"}`, and `{a='b'}` are equivalent.
Shortcuts are available for `id=` (`{#readme}` for `{id=readme}`) and
`class` (`{.big}` for `{class=big}`).
When multiple ids are found, the last is used; when multiple classes are found,
they are combined: `{.red class=green .blue}` is equivalent to
`{.red .green .blue}` and `{class="red green blue"}`.

† there is one case where a name must be followed by an empty label or empty
attributes: a *text* directive that only has a name, cannot be followed by a
colon. So, `:red:` doesn’t work. Use either `:red[]` or `:red{}` instead.
The reason for this is to allow GitHub emoji (gemoji) and directives to coexist.

Containers can be nested by using more colons outside:

He dies.

She is born.

The closing fence must include the same or more colons as the opening.
If no closing is found, the container runs to the end of its parent container
(block quote, list item, document, or other container).

These three are not enough to close
So this line is also part of the container.

Note that while other implementations are sometimes loose in what they allow, this implementation mimics CommonMark as closely as possible:


This package is fully typed with TypeScript. It exports the additional types Directive, Handle, and HtmlOptions.


Projects maintained by the unified collective are compatible with maintained versions of Node.js.

When we cut a new major release, we drop support for unmaintained versions of Node. This means we try to keep the current release line, micromark-extension-directive@^3, compatible with Node.js 16.

This package works with micromark version 3 and later.


This package is safe assuming that you write safe handlers. Any vulnerability in your code could open you to a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack.


See contributing.md in micromark/.github for ways to get started. See support.md for ways to get help.

This project has a code of conduct. By interacting with this repository, organization, or community you agree to abide by its terms.


MIT © Titus Wormer