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Adding Comments To My Blog

Comments are important to a blog, people love to engage but I did not want to pay for a service, or invade my readers with ads or tracking everything they do. I want to improve the quality of the blog and comments felt like the right direction, allowing people to commment and let me know how they felt about each post.

What did I pick?

I chose Utteranc which is a lightweight comments widget built on GitHub issues. It uses GitHub to allow people to comment on a blog post, they just sign in with the GitHub and can comment away.

Why did I pick Utteranc?

  1. It's 100% open source
  2. No ads, no tracking
  3. Git backed (Means I keep the comment data)
  4. Extremely lightweight

How Did I implement this on NextJS?

I decided to go with a hook that is referenced in a component. I could of just implemented an async script but where is the fun in that?

Below is the hook code:

import { useEffect } from 'react';

export const useUtterances = (commentNodeId) => {
    useEffect(() => {
        const scriptParentNode = document.getElementById(commentNodeId);
        if (!scriptParentNode) return;
        const script = document.createElement('script');
        script.src = '';
        script.async = true;
        script.setAttribute('repo', 'REPO_NAME');
        script.setAttribute('issue-term', 'pathname');
        script.setAttribute('label', 'comment :speech_balloon:');
        script.setAttribute('theme', 'github-light');
        script.setAttribute('crossorigin', 'anonymous');


        return () => {
            // cleanup - remove the older script with previous theme
    }, [commentNodeId]);

This creates a script that is async and fills in all the important pieces needed to make it work with utterance. This is also extendable so technically I could implement useState and change the theme based upon dark or light mode.

The component then takes the hook and then returns an div ready for comments:

import { useUtterances } from '../lib/useUtterances';

const commentNodeId = 'comments';

const Comments = () => {
    return <div id={commentNodeId} />;

export default Comments;

Now I can reference it anywhere in my application and it will show up using <Comments/>