HTML parsing

Interweave doesn't rely on an HTML parser for rendering HTML safely; instead, it uses the DOM itself. It accomplishes this by using DOMImplementation.createHTMLDocument (MDN), which creates an HTML document in memory, allowing us to easily set markup, aggregate nodes, and generate React elements. This implementation is supported by all modern browsers and IE9+.

DOMImplementation has the added benefit of not requesting resources (images, scripts, etc) until the document has been rendered to the page. This provides an extra layer of security by avoiding possible CSRF and arbitrary code execution.

Furthermore, Interweave manages a list of both HTML tags and attributes, further increasing security, and reducing the risk of XSS and vulnerabilities.

Allowed tags

Interweave keeps a mapping of renderable HTML tags to parsing configurations. These configurations handle the following rules and processes.

  • Defines the type of rule: allow or deny.
  • Defines the type of tag: inline, block, inline-block.
  • Flags whether inline children can be rendered.
  • Flags whether block children can be rendered.
  • Flags whether children of the same tag name can be rendered.
  • Maps the parent tags the current element can render in.
  • Maps the child tags the current element can render.

The following tags are not supported, but their children will still be rendered.

acronym, area, basefont, bgsound, big, blink, center, col, content, data, datalist, dialog, dir, font, form, hgroup, image, input, isindex, keygen, listing, marquee, menu, menuitem, meter, multicol, nobr, noembed, noframes, optgroup, option, param, plaintext, progress, select, shadow, slot, spacer, strike, template, textarea, tt, wbr, xmp

The following tags and their children will never be rendered, even when the allow list is disabled.

applet, base, body, canvas, command, embed, frame, frameset, head, html, link, meta, noscript, object, script, style, title

The list of allowed tags can be customized using the allowList prop, which accepts a list of HTML tag names.

Allowed attributes

Interweave takes parsing a step further, by also filtering attribute values and HTML nodes. Like tags, a mapping of renderable HTML attributes to parser rules exist. A rule can be one of: allow and cast to string (default), allow and cast to number, allow and cast to boolean, and finally, deny.

Any attribute not found in the mapping will be ignored unless allowAttributes is passed.

Render precedence

There are 3 levels of rendering, in order:

  • Banned - Tags that will never be rendered, regardless of the allow list, or what the consumer configures. This is based on the BANNED_TAG_LIST constant. This takes the highest precedence.
  • Blocked - Tags that will not be rendered and are configured through the consumer with the blockList prop. This takes precedence over allowList and allowElements.
  • Allowed - Tags that will be rendered. The default allow list is based on the ALLOWED_TAG_LIST constant, or can be configured by the consumer with the allowList prop. The allowElements prop has a higher precedence than allowList, but both of which are lower than blocked or banned tags.

By-passing allowed

If need be, the allowed tag list can be disabled with the allowElements prop, which renders all HTML elements except for banned tags (hard-coded) and blocked tags (provided by blockList). Furthermore, the allowed attribute list can be disabled with allowAttributes, which renders all non-event and non-XSS attack vector attributes.

These props are highly discouraged as it opens up possible XSS and injection attacks, and should only be used if the markup passed to Interweave has been sanitized beforehand.

That being said, banned tags like script, applet, and a few others are consistently removed.

Replacing elements

By default, Interweave converts tags to an <Element /> React component, which renders the appropriate DOM node. For custom block-level elements, the transform function prop can be passed.

This function receives the parsed DOM node, and can return either a React element (which is inserted into the React element tree), undefined to use the default <Element /> component, or null to skip the element entirely.

For example, to replace a elements with a custom element:

import Interweave, { Node } from 'interweave';
function transform(node: HTMLElement, children: Node[]): React.ReactNode {
if (node.tagName === 'a') {
return <Link href={node.getAttribute('href')}>{children}</Link>;
<Interweave transform={transform} />;

Note that transform is run before checking the allowed list, permitting you to use non-allowed tags in a controlled way. Banned tags like script will not be transformed.

Disabling HTML

The HTML parser cannot be disabled, however, a noHtml boolean prop can be passed to both the <Interweave /> and <Markup /> components. This prop will mark all HTML elements as pass-through, simply rendering text nodes recursively, including matchers.

If you want to strip user provided HTML, but allow HTML from matchers, use the noHtmlExceptMatchers prop instead.