Docusaurus 2 - Technical Preview

May 16, 2019

Wanted to give a taste of the future Docusaurus ? Read this unofficial super short guide.

โš ๏ธ Disclaimers

This is a very early and incomplete alpha release of Docusaurus 2. We are making it available early to maximize community participation and feedback. Expect it to evolve a lot over the course of the alpha-beta period. If you are adventurous enough to be an early adopter, chat with us on Discord ๐Ÿ˜‰.

You should use this if

  • โœ… You want to contribute to Docusaurus 2
  • โœ… You want to give feedback to make sure it suits your needs
  • โœ… You are curious about what's next as a Docusaurus user

Do not use this if

  • โŒ You are expecting a full production-ready solution (try Docusaurus 1 instead)
  • โŒ You are not willing to adapt with the breaking changes/ things not working properly as we improve it during alpha period



Docusaurus is not just a documentation site generator. It is a painless static site generator with focus on content-centric website like documentation and blog site.

This website for example, is build with Docusaurus 2 alpha.


  • โš›๏ธ Built using React - Extend or customize with React
  • ๐Ÿ“ฆ Uses webpack - Build an optimized bundle and use any CSS-in-JS solution you like
  • โšก๏ธ Lightning Fast - Link prefetching, instant navigation and page views
  • โœ‚๏ธ Easy - Hot reloading out-of-the-box, automatic route-based code and data splitting! Create new routes by creating new Markdown or JSX files
  • ๐Ÿ’ฅ Single-page Application - Client-side navigations and easily add dynamic interactivity to your website (Client-side Rendering)
  • ๐ŸŽฏ SEO Friendly - index.html files are statically generated for every possible path (Static Rendering)
  • ๐Ÿ˜Œ Painless - Painless project setup. First class support for documentation
  • ๐Ÿ“ MDX Based - Write interactive components via JSX and React embedded in markdown
  • โ˜๏ธ GitHub pages friendly - Publish to GitHub pages with one command!
  • ๐Ÿ”Œ Pluggable - Plugin system to extend basic functionality and do almost anything youw ant
  • ๐ŸŽจ Themeable - Theming system to customize how your website's appearance
  • ๐Ÿ” Search - Make it easy for people to search what they need in your website.
  • ๐ŸŒŽ i18n - Internationalize your website easily (coming soon)
  • ๐Ÿ’พ Versioning - Versioning support (coming soon)
  • ๐Ÿš€ Many others ....

๐Ÿ’ก Getting Started

The easiest way to install Docusaurus is to use the command line tool that helps you scaffold a Docusaurus site skeleton. You can run this command anywhere in a new empty repository or within an existing repository, it will create a new directory containing the scaffolded files.

npx @docusaurus/init@next init my-website classic

It will then prompt you for the name and the template for your Docusaurus site. We recommend the classic template so that you can get started quickly. The classic template comes with standard documentation, blog and custom pages features.

Project Structure

Assuming you chose the classic template and named your site my-website, you will see the following files generated under a new directory my-website/:

โ”œโ”€โ”€ blog
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€
โ”œโ”€โ”€ docs
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€
โ”œโ”€โ”€ package.json
โ”œโ”€โ”€ src
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€ css
โ”‚ โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ custom.css
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ pages
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€ styles.module.css
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ index.js
โ”œโ”€โ”€ static
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ img
โ”œโ”€โ”€ docusaurus.config.js
โ”œโ”€โ”€ package.json
โ”œโ”€โ”€ sidebars.js
โ””โ”€โ”€ yarn.lock

Running the Development Server

cd my-website
npm start

A browser window will open at http://localhost:3000.

Congratulations! You have just created your first Docusaurus site! Browse around the site to see what's available.


In this section, we will learn about creating ad-hoc pages in Docusaurus using React. This is most useful for creating one-off standalone pages.

In the src/pages directory, create a file called hello.js with the following contents:

import React from 'react';
import Layout from '@theme/Layout';
function Hello() {
return (
<Layout title="Hello">
display: 'flex',
justifyContent: 'center',
alignItems: 'center',
height: '50vh',
fontSize: '20px',
Edit <code>pages/hello.js</code> and save to reload.
export default Hello;

Once you save the file, the development server will automatically reload the changes. Now open http://localhost:3000/hello, you will see the new page you just created.

If you are familiar with other static site generators like Jekyll and Next, this routing approach will feel familiar to you. Any JavaScript file you create under /src/pages/ directory will be automatically converted to a website page, following the /src/pages/ directory hierarchy. For example:

  • /src/pages/index.js โ†’ <baseUrl>/
  • /src/pages/test.js โ†’ <baseUrl>/test
  • /src/pages/foo/test.js โ†’ <baseUrl>/foo/test
  • /src/pages/foo/index.js โ†’ <baseUrl>/foo

Using React

React is used as the UI library to create pages. You can leverage on the expressibility of React to build rich web content.


Using Markdown

Next, let's touch on the powerful feature in Docusaurus - documentation.

Create a new file within the docs directory called with the following contents:

title: Hello
I can write content using [GitHub-flavored Markdown syntax](
### Markdown Syntax
**Bold** _italic_ `code` [Links](#url)
> Donec sit amet nisl. Aliquam semper ipsum sit amet velit. Suspendisse id sem consectetuer libero luctus adipiscing.
- Hey
- Ho
- Let's Go

Embedding React Components

Did you know that you can now write React components within your Markdown files? This is possible because of MDX, which allows you to write JSX within your Markdown documents.

Now we'll add a third-party chart component into the Markdown file created above. Before that, kill your web server (Cmd + C or Ctrl + C) if it's running and install react-trend in your website directory.

npm install react-trend

Start the development server again and go to http://localhost:3000/docs/hello, you will see a new page created from the Markdown file.

Edit docs/ and append the following:

import Trend from 'react-trend';
_Here's a bar chart!_
data={[0, 2, 5, 9, 5, 10, 3, 5, 0, 0, 1, 8, 2, 9, 0]}
gradient={['#00c6ff', '#F0F', '#FF0']}

Save the file and notice that the site is hot-reloaded with the edited content.

Here's a bar chart!


Another feature is the blogging system. Once again, I remind you that this blog is created with Docusaurus 2.

Now, let's create a new markdown file blog/

title: Hello
author: Endilie Y
authorTitle: Maintainer of Docusaurus
authorTwitter: endiliey
Welcome to my blog. This blog is created with [**Docusaurus 2 alpha**]( :wink:
<!--truncate -->
More content here ....

If you navigate to http://localhost:3000/blog. You can see that we have a blog list page. You can also navigate to http://localhost:3000/blog/2019/05/16/hello


Users can install themes, that provide a set of components, e.g. Navbar, Layout, Footer.

Users can use these components in their code by importing them using the @theme webpack alias:

import Navbar from '@theme/Navbar';

The alias @theme can refer to a few directories, in the following priority:

  1. A user's website/theme directory, which is a special directory that has the higher precedence.
  2. A Docusaurus theme packages's src/theme directory.
  3. Fallback components provided by Docusaurus core (usually not needed).

Given the following structure

โ”œโ”€โ”€ node_modules
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ docusaurus-theme
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ theme
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ Navbar.js
โ””โ”€โ”€ src
โ””โ”€โ”€ theme
โ””โ”€โ”€ Navbar.js

src/theme/Navbar.js takes precedence whenever @theme/Navbar is imported. This behavior is called component swizzling. In iOS, method swizzling is the process of changing the implementation of an existing selector (method). In the context of a website, component swizzling will mean providing an alternative component that takes precedence over the theme-provided component.

The classic/default Docusaurus theme will provide most components out of the box, and users can swizzle the components by adding a component of the same name in the themes directory if they want to modify how it looks and behaves.

Component Swizzling

You might notice that at first, we installed @docusaurus/preset-classic. Presets are collection of plugins and themes.

The basic overview of @docusaurus/preset-classic is this:

โ”œโ”€โ”€ theme-classic
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€ Navbar.js
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€ Layout.js
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ Footer.js
โ”œโ”€โ”€ plugin-docs
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€ theme
โ”‚ โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€ DocPage.js
โ”‚ โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ DocItem.js
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ index.js
โ”œโ”€โ”€ plugin-blog
โ””โ”€โ”€ plugin-pages

So how do we swizzle the theme component easily ?

First of all, make sure to kill your webserver (Cmd + C or Ctrl + C) and run this command to swizzle (override) the component.

yarn swizzle @docusaurus/theme-classic Footer

It will create a themes/Footer file in your project folder. Try to edit that file, save it and you can see that we're customizing the Footer.

For example, we can just return null for the Footer.:

import React from 'react';
function Footer() {
return null;
export default Footer;

And you can see that the footer is no longer shown. It's not the default Facebook footer anymore! ๐Ÿ˜„


To add search bar with Algolia, just add algolia field in your themeConfig. Note that you will need algolia API key. You can use docusaurus 2's api key for testing purposes.

// docusaurus.config.js
themeConfig: {
// ....
algolia: {
apiKey: '47ecd3b21be71c5822571b9f59e52544',
indexName: 'docusaurus-2',
algoliaOptions: {},


To build the website, just run this command. After that, check your build folder.

yarn build

You can deploy it to GitHub pages, netlify, etc. It's completely up to you. The site is server rendered so it works without JavaScript too !


Docusaurus provide a very easy way of publishing to GitHub pages. First, you need to modify your docusaurus.config.js and add the required params

organizationNameThe GitHub user or organization that owns the repository. If you are the owner, then it is your GitHub username. In the case of Docusaurus, that would be the "facebook" GitHub organization.
projectNameThe name of the GitHub repository for your project. For example, the source code for Docusaurus is hosted at, so our project name in this case would be "docusaurus".
urlYour website's URL. For projects hosted on GitHub pages, this will be ""
baseUrlBase URL for your project. For projects hosted on GitHub pages, it follows the format "/projectName/". For, baseUrl is /docusaurus/.


const siteConfig = {
url: '', // Your website URL
baseUrl: '/',
projectName: '',
organizationName: 'endiliey'
  1. Now you have to specify the git user as an environment variable and run the deploy script
GIT_USERThe username for a GitHub account that has commit access to this repo. For your own repositories, this will usually be your own GitHub username. The specified GIT_USER must have push access to the repository specified in the combination of organizationName and projectName.


GIT_USER=endiliey yarn run deploy

There are also two optional parameters that are set as environment variables:

USE_SSHIf this is set to true, then SSH is used instead of HTTPS for the connection to the GitHub repo. HTTPS is the default if this variable is not set.
CURRENT_BRANCHThe branch that contains the latest docs changes that will be deployed. Usually, the branch will be master, but it could be any branch (default or otherwise) except for gh-pages. If nothing is set for this variable, then the current branch will be used.

This website for example, use TravisCI to automate running this deploy script.

To be continued ....

There are lot of other undocumented features that I am not able to write in detail on this super short post, like theme, plugin and presets. There are also some killer features that we haven't implemented in v2 (but already did in v1) like i18n, and versioning.

Anyway, that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed this super short guide.

Chat with us on Discord ๐Ÿ˜‰.