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Commands and helpers

So now we have an editor, but how do we make changes to the document, and observe changes to save them to a backend?

Remirror providers commands and helpers to enable this. You can think of commands as write actions, and helpers as read actions.


The only way to modify a Remirror document is via commands - even when you are typing in a Remirror editor, you are creating insertText commands behind the scenes.

Commands are provided by extensions, and they may be triggered by input rules (i.e. **bold**), or keyboard shortcuts (i.e. Ctrl/Cmd + B).

They can also be triggered manually, this is useful when creating custom components that trigger behaviour. @remirror/react exposes the hooks useCommands or useChainedCommands for exactly this purpose.


import React from 'react';import { useActive, useCommands } from '@remirror/react';
export const BoldButton = () => {  // Access the commands individually  const { toggleBold, focus } = useCommands();  const active = useActive();
  return (    <button      onClick={() => {        toggleBold();        focus();      }}      style={{ fontWeight: active.bold() ? 'bold' : undefined }}    >      B    </button>  );};


import React from 'react';import { useActive, useChainedCommands } from '@remirror/react';
export const BoldButton = () => {  // Using command chaining  const chain = useChainedCommands();  const active = useActive();
  return (    <button      onClick={() => {        chain // Begin a chain          .toggleBold()          .focus()          .run(); // A chain must always be terminated with `.run()`      }}      style={{ fontWeight: active.bold() ? 'bold' : undefined }}    >      B    </button>  );};

However be aware a command might not make sense in the current selection context - for instance, you cannot bold or italicise text within a code block, or you cannot change callout attributes, if the selected node is not a callout.

It is good UX practice to hide (or disable) actions that are not available at the moment. With Remirror you can check if a command is enabled using its .enabled() property.

In the example below we check if toggleBold is enabled, by checking the toggleBold.enabled() property. If not enabled, we disable the button.

import React from 'react';import { useActive, useCommands } from '@remirror/react';
export const BoldButton = () => {  // Access the commands and the activity status of the editor.  const { toggleBold } = useCommands();  const active = useActive();
  return (    <button      onClick={() => toggleBold()}      disabled={toggleBold.enabled() === false}      style={{ fontWeight: active.bold() ? 'bold' : undefined }}    >      B    </button>  );};

toggleBold is a very simple command with no arguments, others are more complex and expect arguments, like insertImage

insertImage({ src: '' });

In these cases it is good practice to pass the same arguments to .enabled, to ensure accurate results.

insertImage.enabled({ src: '' });

How this works (advanced)#

Commands and there .enabled property execute the exact same code - the difference is whether they are dispatched to the document or not.

Commands must do 2 things

  1. Return true or false, to indicate whether they are enabled right now.
  2. Check whether the dispatch property is present.
    • If dispatch is present, the command will modify the document.
    • If dispatch is not present, the command will not modify the document (this is the .enabled() case, checking if we could execute the command).

Example here


Helpers allow you to read state from the Remirror document, they are provided by extensions, just as commands are.

@remirror/react exposes the hook useHelpers to enable you to create custom components that use document state.

For instance if you want to save your Remirror document when the user presses Ctrl/Cmd + S, you could use a helper to extract the JSON representation of the document state.

import React, { useCallback } from 'react';import { BoldExtension } from 'remirror/extensions';import { Remirror, useHelpers, useKeymap, useRemirror } from '@remirror/react';
// Hooks can be added to the context without the need for creating custom componentsconst hooks = [  () => {    const { getJSON } = useHelpers();
    const handleSaveShortcut = useCallback(      (props) => {        const { state } = props;        saveToBackend(getJSON(state));
        return true; // Prevents any further key handlers from being run.      },      [getJSON],    );
    // "Mod" means platform agnostic modifier key - i.e. Ctrl on Windows, or Cmd on MacOS    useKeymap('Mod-s', handleSaveShortcut);  },];
const Editor = () => {  const { manager, state } = useRemirror({ extensions: () => [new BoldExtension()] });
  // Using the hooks prop to inject functionality that doesn't require rendered elements  return <Remirror manager={manager} initialContent={state} hooks={hooks} />;};

Here are a few useful helpers, but there are many more!

getJSON(Built in)JSON representation (not stringified)
getText(Built in)Plain text representation (maintains line breaks)
getHTML(Built in)HTML representation (using schema toDOM)
getMarkdownmarkdown-extensionMarkdown representation (where possible)