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Published December 22, 2023

Integrating Sanity's Presentation Tool with Next.js: Comprehensive Guide

By FocusReactive B.V. & Eugene Boruhov

Designed for developers aiming to incorporate Sanity's visual editing into a Next.js frontend application, this guide offers a focused, technical approach for seamless integration. Key areas covered include:

  • Live Preview Setup: Instructions on configuring a live preview feature in your Next.js app, enabling real-time content updates and editing.
  • Next.js and Sanity Integration: Detailed exploration of how to connect Sanity with a Next.js application for efficient data flow and management.

This guide provides the necessary steps for developers to effectively integrate advanced content management features into their applications, enhancing the functionality and user experience.

The world of web development is constantly evolving, with new tools and technologies emerging to optimize the content creation and management process. One such tool is the Sanity Presentation Tool, a powerful feature within the Sanity.io ecosystem designed to enhance the content editing experience. This tool bridges the gap between content management and frontend presentation, offering a seamless, real-time editing interface that is invaluable for content creators and developers alike.

While there is exhaustive documentation available, including the template-nextjs-personal-website repository, which contains useful code examples, this guide aims to synthesize information from those resources to provide a detailed, practical explanation. Its focus is on demonstrating how to integrate the Sanity Presentation Tool into your existing Next.js application, transforming your content handling into a more dynamic, interactive, and visually intuitive process.

For those new to Sanity or looking to integrate it into their workflow, this guide offers a practical approach to implementing the Presentation Tool. Integrating this tool into your system involves two key components: configuring the Presentation Tool on the Sanity side using the sanity/presentation tool, and enabling live-editing and visual overlays in your frontend application. In this guide, we'll walk through the steps of enabling the Presentation Tool in a Next.js app, focusing on the frontend aspect. For those interested in the Sanity side implementation, I recommend checking out our article A Deep Dive into Sanity's Visual Editing and Presentation Tool: The developer view, which provides a comprehensive overview and practical configuration examples. Additionally, you can see all the code samples from this article in action in our demo project, which showcases all the new features of the Presentation Tool.

Understanding the Presentation Tool​

Before diving into the implementation, it's crucial to understand what the Sanity Presentation Tool is and how it improves the content editing experience. Here, we assume that you are already familiar with the Presentation Tool and will focus more on practical aspects. If you are new to the Presentation Tool, I recommend going through our previous article for a detailed introduction.

The core of the Presentation Tool's functionality lies in its ability to offer a live, interactive preview of content. This feature as it allows content creators to see and edit content in a format that closely resembles its final presentation on frontend. Such real-time feedback is invaluable in creating a more efficient and error-free editing process.

Central to this tool are several key technologies:

  • @vercel/stega a technology used for encoding metadata within text strings. This encoding is necessary for linking the frontend content with its corresponding editable segments in the CMS.
  • @sanity/client/stega integrates Stega with the Sanity client and ensures communication between your content management system and frontend.
  • @sanity/react-loader facilitates data fetching and streaming in your application, playing a key role in managing the content flow and real-time updates.
  • @sanity/overlays create a visual editing interface on frontend, allowing users to click and directly edit content.

In the following sections, we will explore how these technologies can be integrated into an existing Next.js application to leverage the full capabilities of the Sanity Presentation Tool.

Implementation Roadmap​

Embarking on the journey to integrate the Sanity Presentation Tool into a Next.js application requires a strategic approach. This section outlines the roadmap that we will follow to enable the full functionality of the Presentation Tool in your existing Next.js app. By breaking down the process into manageable steps, we aim to provide a clear and concise guide that can be followed with ease, regardless of your experience level.

  1. Setting up the environment: Ensure that your development environment is ready for integration. This includes having the latest version of Next.js installed and your Sanity Studio set up.
  2. Installation of required packages: We'll cover the necessary packages that need to be installed in your Next.js application to support the Presentation Tool. These include the Sanity client and specific packages like @sanity/react-loader and @sanity/overlays.
  3. Configuring loaders: Loaders play a pivotal role in fetching and rendering content. We will delve into the setup of loaders, discuss their importance, and demonstrate how to use them effectively in your application.
  4. Enabling overlays: Overlays provide the visual interface for editing content directly from the preview. We'll guide you through the process of enabling them in your application.
  5. Live mode and real-time preview: A crucial feature of the Presentation Tool is the real-time preview. We will explore how to enable and make the most of this live mode for immediate content updates.
  6. Final touches: Once all components are in place, we'll go through the process of fine-tuning and testing the integration to ensure everything works as expected.

Initial Configuration​

Before integrating the Sanity Presentation Tool into your Next.js application, it's essential to ensure your environment is up to date and has all the necessary components. This initial setup lays the groundwork for a smooth integration process.

  1. Updating Sanity: Start by updating your Sanity Studio to version 3.20 or higher. This update ensures that you have access to the latest features we rely on here.
  2. Updating Next.js: Ensure that your Next.js application is running on version 14 or higher. This update is needed for compatibility and to take advantage of the latest Next.js features and performance enhancements.
  3. Installing required packages: With your environment up to date, proceed to install the necessary packages. Use the following commands in your terminal to install these packages:

npm install @sanity/client @sanity/react-loader @sanity/overlays

Alternatively, adjust these commands to suit your preferred package manager, such as Yarn.

With these initial configuration steps complete, your application will be well-prepared for the next stages of integrating the Sanity Presentation Tool.

Setting Up Loaders​

Loaders provide a unified method for loading data from Sanity's Content Lake, ensuring consistency across different states (production, development, and preview) and rendering modes (server and client-side). They are key to implementing Visual Editing capabilities, enabling features like real-time previews and clickable overlays. In this section, we'll delve into setting up Loaders and explore their practical applications. Sanity offers loaders tailored for various frameworks, ensuring compatibility and ease of integration regardless of your project's specific technology stack. For this guide, we will focus on using the React Loader. However, the techniques discussed can be adapted to other frameworks – refer to the documentation for guidance on your framework.

Updating Sanity Client With Stega Support​

Establish a connection between your Next.js application and your Sanity project using the @sanity/client package. Configure the client with necessary parameters like project ID, dataset, and API version.

If you're currently using @sanity/client or next-sanity, you'll need to switch to @sanity/client/stega. This updated client includes support for Stega, which is essential for the Presentation Tool's interactive and visual features. The upgrade process is straightforward, in most cases, all you need to do is update your import statement and configure the stega options. Here's how your updated client configuration should look:

// client.ts

import { createClient } from '@sanity/client/stega'

export const client = createClient({
  projectId: "<YOUR_SANITY_PROJECT_ID>",
  dataset: "<YOUR_SANITY_DATASET>",
  apiVersion: "<API_VERSION>",
  useCdn: false, // We will rely on Next.js cache
  perspective: 'published',
  stega: {
    studioUrl: "<SANITY_STUDIO_URL>",
  },
})

Creating a QueryStore​

Start by setting up a query store using the createQueryStore function from @sanity/react-loader. This store manages the data fetching and streaming in your application. It includes essential utilities like useQuery, loadQuery, and useLiveMode, each serving a specific function:

  • useQuery react hook for client-side data loading and streaming.
  • loadQuery used primarily for server-side rendering (SSR) to fetch content data.
  • useLiveMode activates real-time updates, ensuring that content changes in Sanity are instantly reflected in your application.

// queryStore.ts

import { createQueryStore } from '@sanity/react-loader/rsc'

// The `queryStore` instance is shared in RSC and client components, keep this file tiny as it will be included in the client bundle
export const queryStore = createQueryStore({
  client: false,
  ssr: true,
})

Setting Up a Wrapper for LoadQuery​

In order to enhance the functionality of loadQuery and handle specific needs such as server-client consistency and effective caching strategies, we create a custom wrapper around this function. Additionally, we will integrate support for draft mode, ensuring that it responds dynamically to different content states in your application.

// Throw error if this file will be imported on the client side
import 'server-only'

import { draftMode } from 'next/headers'

import { client } from './client'
import { queryStore } from './queryStore'

// Configuring a separate client for server-side usage, enabling Stega in non-production environments
const serverClient = client.withConfig({
  stega: {
    enabled: process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production',
  },
})

// Setting the server client in the query store for consistent server-client data handling
queryStore.setServerClient(serverClient)

// Custom wrapper function for `queryStore.loadQuery` to handle draft mode and keep configuration in one place
export const loadQuery = ((query, params = {}, options = {}) => {
  return queryStore.loadQuery(query, params, {
    cache: 'force-cache',
    perspective: draftMode().isEnabled ? 'previewDrafts' : 'published',
    ...options,
  })
}) satisfies typeof queryStore.loadQuery

Setting Up a Wrapper for UseQuery​

Creating a custom wrapper around the useQuery hook is an effective way to extend its functionality and tailor it to the specific needs of your application. This wrapper can handle additional tasks like encoding data attributes for overlays and consistent error management. Here's how you can set it up:

import {
  type QueryParams,
  useEncodeDataAttribute,
  type UseQueryOptions,
} from '@sanity/react-loader/rsc'

import { queryStore } from './createQueryStore'

// Custom hook for `queryStore.useQuery` to simplify usage of `encodeDataAttribute`
export const useQuery = <
  QueryResponseResult = unknown,
  QueryResponseError = unknown,
>(
  query: string,
  params?: QueryParams,
  options?: UseQueryOptions<QueryResponseResult>,
) => {
  const snapshot = queryStore.useQuery<QueryResponseResult, QueryResponseError>(
    query,
    params,
    options,
  )

  // Generate data attributes for overlays using Sanity's data
  const encodeDataAttribute = useEncodeDataAttribute(
    snapshot.data,
    snapshot.sourceMap,
    '<YOUR_STUDIO_URL>',  // Replace with your Sanity Studio URL
  )

  // Consistent error handling by throwing any caught errors
  if (snapshot.error) {
    throw snapshot.error
  }

  // Return the query results along with the `encodeDataAttribute` function
  return {
    ...snapshot,
    encodeDataAttribute,
  }
}

// Export `useLiveMode` for enabling real-time updates in the `VisualEditing` component
export const { useLiveMode } = queryStore

Along with data from queryStore.useQuery, our hook also returns the encodeDataAttribute function. This function is used to create the necessary data for the data-sanity attribute, which we will discuss in more detail below.

Implementing Loaders in Components​

Integrate Loaders into your Next.js components using the useQuery and loadQuery hooks. For server-side rendered pages, use loadQuery to fetch initial data. For dynamic, client-side interactions, useQuery is your go-to hook. This ensures that your components are always displaying up-to-date content from Sanity.

Creating a Preview Component for Next.js Routes​

Begin by developing a client-side component designated for loading only when the draft mode is enabled. The purpose of this component is to fetch and pass the most current, or 'fresh' data to your page, ensuring that the content being edited is up-to-date with the latest changes made in the Sanity Studio.

'use client'

import { type QueryResponseInitial } from '@sanity/react-loader/rsc'

import Page from './Page'
import { useQuery } from './useQuery'

type Props = {
  params: { slug: string }
  initial: QueryResponseInitial<PagePayload | null>
}

export default function PagePreview(props: Props) {
  const { params, initial } = props
  // Using the `useQuery` hook to fetch the most current data based on the page slug
  const { data } = useQuery<'YOUR_PAGE_PAYLOAD_TYPE' | null>('<YOUR_GROQ_QUERY>', params, {
    initial,
  })

  return <Page data={data!} />
}

Use the Preview Component

With the preview component set up, let's now integrate it into a Next.js page:

import dynamic from 'next/dynamic'
import { draftMode } from 'next/headers'
import { notFound } from 'next/navigation'

import { Page } from './Page'
import { loadQuery } from './loadQuery'

// 1. Lazily load the Preview component for performance optimization
const PagePreview = dynamic(() => import('./PagePreview'))

type Props = {
  params: { slug: string }
}

export default async function PageRoute({ params }: Props) {
  // 2. Fetch initial data for the page
  const initial = await loadQuery(params.slug)

  // 3. Display the Preview component in draft mode with initial data
  if (draftMode().isEnabled) {
    return <PagePreview params={params} initial={initial} />
  }

  // Handle page not found scenario
  if (!initial.data) {
    return notFound()
  }

  // Render the standard page with fetched data
  return <Page data={initial.data} />
}
  1. Dynamic loading: The PagePreview component is dynamically imported using dynamic function. This approach optimizes performance by only loading the component when necessary, specifically in draft mode for content editing.
  2. Server-side data fetching: The loadQuery function fetches initial data. Depending on the mode (draft or production), it provides the appropriate data to either the preview or standard page component.
  3. Draft mode check: The use of draftMode().isEnabled ensures that VisualEditing is only rendered when the application is in draft mode. This is crucial for maintaining performance and user experience in the production environment.

Using UseQuery in Production​

While the useQuery function is primarily used in the context of editing and development, and it's worth noting that it can also be employed in a production environment. Utilizing useQuery in production allows for the creation of highly dynamic components. However, this is a rarer use case, as it involves real-time updates and data streaming.

'use client';

import { useQuery } from './useQuery'

export function DocumentCount() {
  const { data, loading } = useQuery<number>('count(*)')

  if (loading) {
    return <div>Loading…</div>
  }

  return <div>Total # of documents: {data}</div>
}

By carefully implementing these steps, you ensure that your Next.js application not only efficiently manages content in both production and draft modes but also leverages the full potential of Sanity's real-time content editing features.

Enabling Overlays​

With the Loaders set up, the next crucial step in integrating the Sanity Presentation Tool into your Next.js application is implementing overlays. They appear as clickable visual indicators on the frontend, guiding content creators directly to editable elements. When an overlay is clicked, it signals the Sanity Studio to open the corresponding field for editing, even if it's nested deeply within the document structure.

Creating the VisualEditing Component​

Start by creating a VisualEditing component. This component will incorporate the useLiveMode hook from @sanity/react-loader and enableOverlays function from @sanity/overlays:

'use client'

import { enableOverlays } from '@sanity/overlays'
import { useEffect } from 'react'

import { client } from './client'
import { useLiveMode } from './useQuery'

// Configure the client to always use Stega in Live Mode
const stegaClient = client.withConfig({ stega: true })

// Set the allowed studio origin, defaulting to localhost in a non-browser environment
const allowStudioOrigin =
  typeof location === 'undefined' ? 'http://localhost:3000' : location.origin

export default function VisualEditing() {
  useEffect(() => {
    // Enable overlays and set up a cleanup function
    const disable = enableOverlays({ allowStudioOrigin })

    return () => disable()
  }, [])

  // Activate live mode updates using the configured client
  useLiveMode({ allowStudioOrigin, client: stegaClient })

  return null
}
  • useLiveMode hook is essential for reflecting any changes made in the Sanity Studio onto the frontend preview instantaneously. This real-time update capability is crucial for maintaining synchronization between the content in the CMS and its presentation.
  • enableOverlays function is responsible for turning on the overlay functionality in your application.

Adding VisualEditing Component to Your Layout​

Integrate the VisualEditing component into your application's layout. This ensures that the live preview and overlay functionality are available across all pages.

import dynamic from 'next/dynamic'
import { draftMode } from 'next/headers'

// Dynamically import the VisualEditing component for optimized loading
const VisualEditing = dynamic(() => import('./VisualEditing'))

export default function IndexRoute({
  children,
}: {
  children: React.ReactNode
}) {
  return (
    <>
      {/* ... */}
      
      {/* Conditionally render the VisualEditing component based on draft mode */}
      {draftMode().isEnabled && <VisualEditing />}
    </>
  )
}

In the example above, we load VisualEditing dynamically, in the same way, we did previously with PreviewPage, and render it only when in draft mode. This approach optimizes performance by only loading the component when necessary, specifically in draft mode for content editing.

Integrating Overlays Into Your Application​

Ensure that your content elements have the necessary data attributes for overlays to recognize and interact with them. This is particularly important for custom components or more complex content structures where stega strings don't work.

Consider a scenario where you want to add an overlay around a non-text element. For such components, you can use the data-sanity attribute. In the example below we have two components: SvgIcon and Header. SvgIcon is a hardcoded component stored in a repository. isLogoEnabled is boolean option coming from the CMS to determine visibility of SvgIcon. To enable overlays for SvgIcon with the link to isLogoEnabled you need to:

  1. Pass down the encodeDataAttribute from our custom useQuery hook in the PreviewPage component.
  2. Add the data-sanity attribute and use the encodeDataAttribute function to generate a string containing the data necessary for overlays to open the correct field in the CMS. This function requires the path to the isLogoEnabled field as an argument.

// PreviewPage.tsx
export default function PagePreview(props: Props) {
  const { params, initial } = props
  const { data, encodeDataAttribute } = useQuery<PagePayload | null>(pagesBySlugQuery, params, {
    initial,
  })

  return <Page data={data!} encodeDataAttribute={encodeDataAttribute} />
}

// SvgIcon.tsx
import { SVGProps } from 'react'

export const SvgIcon = (props: SVGProps<SVGSVGElement>) => {
  return (
    <svg viewBox="0 0 170 61" width="170px" height="61px" {...props}>
      <path
        fillRule="evenodd"
        fill="rgb(248, 248, 248)"
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      ></path>
    </svg>
  )
}

// Header.tsx
import type { EncodeDataAttributeCallback } from '@sanity/react-loader/rsc'
import { SvgIcon } from './SvgIcon'

interface HeaderProps {
  // ...
  encodeDataAttribute?: EncodeDataAttributeCallback
}

export function Header({ encodeDataAttribute, ...props }: HeaderProps) {
  return (
    <header>
      {/* ... */}

      <SvgIcon
        data-sanity={encodeDataAttribute?.(['header', 'isLogoEnabled'])}
      />
    </header>
  )
}

Enhancing Navigation Within Presentation Tool​

To ensure smooth navigation within the Sanity Presentation Tool, we utilize a HistoryAdapter. This adapter maintains synchronization between the studio preview pane and your application’s routing or history state. It effectively manages navigation events and updates, ensuring that changes in your application's URL or state are accurately reflected in the Studio's preview environment and vice versa.

export default function VisualEditing() {
  const router = useRouter()
  const pathname = usePathname()
  const searchParams = useSearchParams()
  const routerRef = useRef(router)
  const navigateRef = useRef<HistoryAdapterNavigate>()

  routerRef.current = router

  const history: HistoryAdapter = useMemo(
    () => ({
            // Subscribe function to handle navigation changes
      subscribe(navigate) {
        navigateRef.current = navigate
        return () => {
          navigateRef.current = undefined
        }
      },

            // Update function to handle different types of history updates
      update(update) {
        switch (update.type) {
          case 'push':
            return routerRef.current.push(update.url)
          case 'pop':
            return routerRef.current.back()
          case 'replace':
            return routerRef.current.replace(update.url)
          default:
            throw new Error(`Unknown update type: ${update.type}`)
        }
      },
    }),
    [],
  )

  useEffect(() => {
    const disable = enableOverlays({
      allowStudioOrigin,
      history,
    })
    return () => disable()
  }, [])

  // Update navigation state when pathname or search parameters change
  useEffect(() => {
    navigateRef.current?.({
      type: 'push',
      url: `${pathname}${searchParams?.size ? `?${searchParams}` : ''}`,
    })
  }, [pathname, searchParams])

  useLiveMode({ allowStudioOrigin, client: stegaClient })

  return null
}

Conclusion​

As we reach the end of this guide, you should now have a fully functional integration of the Sanity Presentation Tool in your Next.js application. This integration not only enhances the content management experience but also brings a new level of interactivity and efficiency to your workflow.

Reflecting on the Benefits​

The integration of the Presentation Tool offers numerous advantages:

  • Real-time editing: Content creators can see changes instantly, making the editing process more intuitive and efficient.
  • Visual clarity: Overlays offer a clear visual indication of editable content, simplifying content management.
  • Enhanced user experience: The seamless integration between the frontend and the CMS improves the overall user experience, both for content creators and developers.

Encouragement to Experiment​

With the foundational knowledge and examples provided in this guide, you're encouraged to experiment further. Each Next.js application is unique, and there may be additional ways to tailor the Presentation Tool to better suit your specific needs. If you find yourself in need of expert advice on Headless CMS and the latest web technologies, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

Seeking Further Assistance​

For additional resources or support, consider exploring the Sanity community forums or reaching out to fellow developers. The open-source nature of these tools means that there is a wealth of shared knowledge and experience available.

Final Thoughts​

Integrating the Sanity Presentation Tool into your Next.js application is a step towards a more dynamic and interactive web development experience. As technology continues to evolve, staying adaptable and open to new tools and methodologies will undoubtedly benefit your projects and workflow.

We hope this guide has been valuable in your journey to enhance your Next.js application with the Sanity Presentation Tool. Happy coding!

Sanity – build remarkable experiences at scale

Sanity Composable Content Cloud is the headless CMS that gives you (and your team) a content backend to drive websites and applications with modern tooling. It offers a real-time editing environment for content creators that’s easy to configure but designed to be customized with JavaScript and React when needed. With the hosted document store, you query content freely and easily integrate with any framework or data source to distribute and enrich content.

Sanity scales from weekend projects to enterprise needs and is used by companies like Puma, AT&T, Burger King, Tata, and Figma.