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markdown-it with easy tokenization, a fast highlighter, and a lean HTML sanitizer

Megamark is markdown-it plus a few reasonable factory defaults.

  • Markdown parsing via markdown-it
  • HTML is sanitized via insane, and that's configurable
  • Code is highlighted with highlight.js (on a diet in the client-side!)
  • Tokenization made easy: turn those @ mentions into links in no-time!
  • Text gets prettified just like you're used to from marked's smartypants
  • You can highlight interesting content using <mark> tags, even inside code blocks
  • Headings get unique id, helping you implement navigation in your Markdown documents
  • Still manages to produce a small footprint


npm install megamark --save
bower install megamark --save

megamark(markdown, options?)

The markdown input will be parsed via markdown-it. Megamark configures markdown-it for syntax highlighting, prefixing classes with md-. Output is sanitized via insane, and you can configure the whitelisting process too.


Tokenizers can help you transform bits of text like @bevacqua into links. This is often a very useful feature for your users, but hardly ever implemented by developers because how convoluted it is. With megamark, it becomes a pretty easy thing to do.

megamark('Who is this @bevacqua person?', {
  tokenizers: [{
    token: /(^|\s)@([A-z]+)\b/g,
    transform: function (all, separator, username) {
      return separator + '<a href="/' + username + '">' + all + '</a>';
// <- '<p>Who is this <a href='/bevacqua'>@bevacqua</a> person?</p>\n'

The transform method will get all of the arguments of text.match(token), so the first argument will be text, followed by any capturing groups. In our case, the /(^|\s)@([A-z]+)\b/ can be decomposed as follows.

  • First off we have (?:^|\s)
    • The parenthesis delimit a capturing group
    • It'll be passed to transform as the second argument
    • ^|\s means that we are looking to match either the start of input or a space character
    • We can't use \b instead of this expression because @ is not a word character
  • Then there's the @ literal
  • Another capturing group, ([A-z]+)
    • It'll be passed to transform as the third argument
    • Matches one or more alphabet characters
  • Finally, \b means that we want to match everything up to a word boundary

You can use any regular expression you want, but make sure to use the g modifier if you want to match multiples of any given token.


Linkifiers are a simpler kind of tokenizer, but they're also more limited. Instead of asking you for a token expression, linkifiers will run on every single user-provided link (that's in plain text, such as, note that actual links such as [ponyfoo]( won't be affected by this). If an HTML string is returned from your linkifier, then that'll be used. If none of your linkifiers return an HTML string, then the original functionality of converting the link text into an HTML link will be used.

Linkifiers are run one by one. The first linkifier to return a string will stop the rest of the linkifiers from ever running. Each linkifier receives an href argument and a text argument, containing the actual link and the text that should go in the link. These are just hints, you can return arbitrary HTML from your linkifier method, even something other than anchor links.


Return '' when you want to completely ignore a link. Maybe use a condition where you whitelist links from origins you're happy with.

megamark('', {
  linkifiers: [function (href, text) {
    return '';
// <- '<p></p>\n'

A real use case for this type of tokenizer is prettifying the text on the link. This is particularly useful for links on your own domain. The example below converts links that would be turned into <a href='http://localhost:9000/bevacqua/stompflow/issues/28'>http://localhost:9000/bevacqua/stompflow/issues/28</a> into <a href='http://localhost:9000/bevacqua/stompflow/issues/28' class='issue-id'>#28</a> instead.

megamark('http://localhost:9000/bevacqua/stompflow/issues/28', {
  linkifiers: [function (href, text) {
    return "<a href='" + href + "' class='issue-id'>#" + href.split('/').pop() + "</a>";
// <- '<p><a href='http://localhost:9000/bevacqua/stompflow/issues/28' class='issue-id'>#28</a></p>\n'


These configuration options will be passed to insane. The defaults from insane are used by default.


Advanced option. Setting markers to an array such as [[0, 'START'], [10, 'END']] will place each of those markers in the output, based on the input index you want to track. This feature is necessary because there is no other reliable way of tracking a text cursor position before and after a piece of Markdown is converted to HTML.

The following example shows how markers could be used to preserve a text selection across Markdown-into-HTML parsing, by providing markers for each cursor. When the output from megamark comes back, all you need to do is find your markers, remove them, and place the text selection at their indices. The woofmark Markdown/HTML/WYSIWYG editor module leverages this functionality to do exactly that.

megamark('**foo**', {
  markers: [[1, '[START]'], [4, '[END]']]
// <- '<strong>[START]fo[END]o</strong>'

Also note that, as shown in the example above, when a marker can't be placed in the output exactly where you asked for, it'll be cleanly placed nearby. In the above example, the [START] marker would've been placed "somewhere inside" the opening <strong> tag, but right after the opening tag finishes was preferred.




😻 Markdown with easy tokenization, a fast highlighter, and a lean HTML sanitizer





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