John Polacek

Chicago Web Developer

John Polacek is a web developer from Chicago who leads front end at GiveSmart.

Follow me at @johnpolacek

Building a Blog with Next.js and MDX

I’ve re-done my website with content authoring in MDX, powered by Next.js. I’ve open sourced a Next.js MDX Blog Starter so you can too.

I reach for Next.js because it scales to what I need it to do. It can build a simple static blog like this one, or a SaaS app with parameterized routing, serverless backet, user auth and an integrated API (see my Hello Next App project for example). I pretty much use it for everything new I’m building on the web these days.

MDX is a powerful tool for authoring content. It gives you everything that authoring your content in markdown does, but with the added superpower of being able to drop in React components at will. For a web developer blog, that’s obviously pretty appealing.


Black Lives Matter

I have been on hiatus from social media and posting online for the last few months. As I am starting to post again, it must be said, Black Lives Matter. I’ve made a $200 donation to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. an official partner of the Black Lives Matter movement. I urge you to donate as well!


The Cost of Covid-19

I built, a website for tracking the cost of Covid-19 across Europe, China and the United States, in human lives and to their economies.


Color to Color

I like to wear dress shirts with matching socks. Sometimes I buy socks in a set and have no shirts that match. How can I find a shirt to match my sock, or a sock to match my shirt? I decided to build a thing. Check it out at


Design Systems Playground

I finished a rebuild of my Design Systems Playground project. Open sourced on Github. Built with React / Gatsby. Styles and theming by Theme UI. Animations with Greensock. Deployed to Netlify. Tested with Cypress.


MDX Deck with Greensock Animation

I combined my favorite new React presentation deck awesome sauce (MDX Deck) with my favorite old do-anything-you-can-imagine animation platform (Greensock) to make an animated version of the MDX Deck Demo. Check it out at and on Github.