Draft Mode in Next.js 14: A New Feature Explained

Anton Ioffe - November 11th 2023 - 10 minutes read

As you delve into the cutting-edge domain of modern web development, Next.js 14 heralds a transformative evolution with its Draft Mode feature—an amenity poised to revolutionize the way we interface with content management and shape our digital narratives. This exploration will not only unravel the intricacies and potential of this novel addition but will also guide you through a meticulous distillation of performance strategies, adroit implementation techniques, and savvy resolution of common challenges. Whether you're seeking to refine your development workflow or sculpt an application architecture that champions modularity and reusability, our comprehensive treatise on Draft Mode is set to equip you with the insights necessary to forge ahead in the ever-advancing terrain of web innovation. Prepare to elevate your toolkit and perspective as we embark on this revelatory journey through the latest offering from the Next.js universe.

Unveiling Next.js 14’s Draft Mode Capabilities

Next.js 14 introduces the innovative Draft Mode, which markedly improves the content creation and preview workflow, particularly when using a headless CMS. Draft Mode serves to seamlessly preview and iterate on content before making it public, offering a real-time view of how content edits will materialize in the output. Unlike its predecessor, the Preview Mode API which is not supported in the new app directory, Draft Mode presents a refined user experience by allowing content creators to fetch and render draft content effortlessly, ensuring that they can review and fine-tune their work with confidence.

Setting up Draft Mode is relatively straightforward and begins with incorporating specific endpoints in your Next.js application. These endpoints are used to toggle Draft Mode on and off, usually requiring a preview secret to secure the transitions into and out of the mode. Upon activation, visitors can render dynamic draft content on their pages, though it is important to note that security concerns demand careful handling of preview secrets and access controls to prevent unauthorized users from entering Draft Mode.

Operational nuances of Draft Mode include the behavior during self-hosting versus hosting on Vercel. When self-hosting, every request using Draft Mode interacts with the Next.js server, which could potentially add to server load or cost – considerations developers should bear in mind in terms of traffic and resource utilization. On Vercel, however, Draft Mode is secured behind authentication used for Preview Deployments, ensuring that only team members can enable it, which greatly mitigates the potential for unauthorized access.

The impact of Draft Mode can be significant as it integrates with any headless provider of your choice and allows for the direct server-rendering of previews for static pages. This capability is integral for content creators who rely on accurate representations of their work before publication. It supports the concept of composable content management but ensures a process where the editorial team feels confident in the quality of their output—all within the Next.js ecosystem.

Draft Mode underscores Next.js's commitment to enhancing the developer experience. It exemplifies convenience by streamlining immediate feedback on content changes, marrying the speed of static generation with the flexibility of dynamic content management. With Draft Mode, content creators can enjoy a rapid preview environment during the development process, free from the constraints of production build times and local development limitations. This fosters a nimble and efficient development workflow, empowering developers with the tools to effectively collaborate with content teams.

Draft Mode Performance Considerations and Best Practices

When implementing Draft Mode in Next.js, developers must juggle the immediate preview needs of content authors with the potential performance hit to their application due to on-demand server rendering. This live-preview functionality necessitates an analysis of the rendering pipeline to maintain efficiency. Best practice involves optimizing server-rendered pages by minimizing the complexity of draft content, thereby reducing compute time and resource consumption. Smart caching strategies and selective previewing can further mitigate performance impacts, ensuring the server only re-renders changed content at appropriate intervals.

Draft Mode's interactivity means that content updates trigger server-side updates, which could lead to a sluggish preview experience. To optimize this, developers should use debouncing to aggregate rapid successions of draft content updates, thus minimizing unnecessary server requests. This technique prevents the server from being inundated with requests, striking a balance between responsiveness and server load.

Here's an example of how debouncing can be implemented in a hypothetical content editor interface of your Next.js-powered application:

let debounceTimer;
function handleContentUpdate(content) {
    debounceTimer = setTimeout(() => {
        // Update draft content on server
    }, 300); // Milliseconds to wait before sending the content update to the server

function sendDraftToServer(content) {
    // Simulate the draft content update process
    console.log('Draft content sent to server:', content);

This code ensures that the server only processes content updates after a specified amount of inactivity (300ms in this case), reducing the performance burden.

For self-hosted scenarios, understanding resource utilization is crucial. Server load can fluctuate significantly with Draft Mode, and corresponding server capacity must be planned for. This involves adopting auto-scalable infrastructure, if possible, which can dynamically provision additional resources to accommodate bursts in drafting activity without manual intervention or overprovisioning.

Deploying on Vercel provides a natural edge in managing Draft Mode’s performance, as content delivery is fortified through a globally distributed network. Still, developers should remain vigilant about the configuration and deployment of server-side components. Maintain concise and optimized server functions; excessive processing can still stall the preview despite Vercel's infrastructure advantages.

Continuous performance tuning is a cornerstone of using Draft Mode effectively. Regularly employ tools to monitor key indicators such as server response times and resource utilization. Adopting a proactive approach and adjusting based on live metrics ensures Draft Mode enriches the content editing process without compromising your application's speed.

Has your team encountered any unexpected performance challenges while using Draft Mode, and what measures did you take to overcome them? This thought-provoking question invites readers to reflect on their own experiences and consider their approaches to performance management.

The Developer’s Guide to Implementing Draft Mode in Code

To enable Draft Mode in a Next.js 14 project, careful configuration of API routes is required. These routes will manage the switching between draft and published content. Here's how to set up an API route to enter Draft Mode, using environment variables for security:

import { draftMode } from 'next/headers';
import { NextResponse } from 'next/server';

export default function handler(req, res) {
    const previewSecret = process.env.CONTENTFUL_PREVIEW_SECRET;
    const preview = req.query.preview;
    const redirectPath = req.query.redirect || '/';

    if (preview !== previewSecret) {
        return res.status(401).send('Unauthorized');

    const response = NextResponse.redirect(redirectPath);
    response.cookies.set('DraftMode', 'true'); // Example cookie setup
    return response;

To exit Draft Mode, you should implement a complementary route that inactivates Draft Mode, with appropriate security checks as follows:

import { NextResponse } from 'next/server';

export default function handler(req, res) {
    const redirectPath = req.query.redirect || '/';
    const response = NextResponse.redirect(redirectPath);
    response.cookies.delete('DraftMode'); // Assuming Draft Mode is controlled via a cookie
    return response;

Common Coding Mistakes: A mistake often seen is misunderstanding the Next.js API route handlers and incorrectly using page-based methods such as getServerSideProps. It's imperative to use the appropriate handlers designed for API routes. Additionally, sensitive information like preview secrets should never be hardcoded; environment variables offer a secure alternative.

With Draft Mode integration, developers must ensure their code maintains high modularity and reusability. Implementing Draft Mode should not tightly couple your application to the CMS, preserving component flexibility. Consider abstracting the logic of Draft Mode behind a facade to separate CMS details from your application logic.

Reflect on the security and efficiency of your Draft Mode configuration. Consider how it fits into your application's architecture, and whether it incorporates best practices to safeguard your previews. What improvements could be made to bolster your system against unauthorized access, and does your implementation promote clean, maintainable code?

Common Pitfalls When Working with Draft Mode and Their Solutions

Ensuring security when toggling Draft Mode in Next.js extends beyond basic authentication to verifying a user's role or team membership. Here's a practical implementation to protect your Draft Mode endpoints:

export default function handler(req, res) {
  if (authenticateRequest(req)) {
    // Proceed with Draft Mode toggling
    res.status(200).json({ message: 'Draft Mode toggled successfully' });
  } else {
    res.status(401).json({ error: 'Unauthorized' });

function authenticateRequest(req) {
  // Real-world role or team membership validation
  const user = req.user;
  const projectId = 'projectId';
  return user && isMemberOfProject(user, projectId);

function isMemberOfProject(user, projectId){
  // Replace with actual project-specific roles or memberships validation
  const validRoles = ['editor', 'admin']; // Example roles that are allowed to toggle Draft Mode
  return validRoles.includes(user.role) && user.projects.includes(projectId);

When managing caching strategies, understanding how to bypass ISR cache in a Next.js app hosted on Vercel is crucial. The middleware defines when and why the cache should be bypassed, ensuring server-side rendering in Draft Mode:

// Middleware to bypass the ISR cache when Draft Mode is active
import { NextResponse } from 'next/server';

export function middleware(request) {
  const isDraftModeActive = request.cookies.get('draftMode') === 'true';

  if (isDraftModeActive) {
    // Bypass the cache only when Draft Mode is active
    const response = NextResponse.rewrite(request.nextUrl);
    response.headers.set('x-draft-mode', 'on');
    return response;

  // Continue with default caching behavior when Draft Mode is not active
  return NextResponse.next();

To fetch draft content in Draft Mode, your data fetching functions must access the request headers for cookies. Here's the correct approach for getServerSideProps, which safely checks for cookies before parsing:

// Safely parsing cookies to determine Draft Mode state
export async function getServerSideProps(context) {
  const cookieHeader = context.req.headers.cookie;
  let isDraftMode = false;

  if (cookieHeader) {
    const cookies = cookieHeader.split('; ').reduce((acc, currentCookie) => {
        const [name, value] = currentCookie.split('=');
        acc[name] = value;
        return acc;
    }, {});
    isDraftMode = cookies['draftMode'] === 'true';

  // Fetch draft or published content based on Draft Mode state
  // ...

  // Pass it to the page as a prop
  return { props: { isDraftMode } };

Exiting Draft Mode should give users immediate feedback, especially when the action fails. This function on the client side correctly handles exiting Draft Mode with proper error management:

// Client-side JavaScript to exit Draft Mode with improved error handling
function exitDraftModeHandler() {
    .then((response) => {
      if (!response.ok) {
        throw new Error('Failed to exit draft mode.');
      // Provide visual confirmation that Draft Mode is now off, e.g., update UI state
    .catch((error) => {
      // Notify the user gracefully about the failure
      alert('Error: Could not exit draft mode.');

Testing your Draft Mode implementation is essential for ensuring it functions correctly for various user roles. Here's how to test Draft Mode activation and deactivation robustly:

// Testing Draft Mode activation/deactivation with complete example
import { render, fireEvent, waitFor } from '@testing-library/react';
import YourComponent from '../path-to-your-component'; // Import the actual component

describe('Draft Mode Activation/Deactivation', () => {

  it('should allow authorized users to toggle Draft Mode', async () => {
    const { getByTestId, queryByTestId } = render(
      <YourComponent userRole='editor' projectId='projectId' />

    // Simulate user action to activate Draft Mode

    // Wait for the UI to update
    await waitFor(() => expect(queryByTestId('draft-mode-active')).toBeTruthy());

  it('should prevent unauthorized users from toggling Draft Mode', async () => {
    const { getByTestId, queryByTestId } = render(
      <YourComponent userRole='visitor' projectId='projectId' />

    // Attempt to activate Draft Mode

    // Assert Draft Mode remains inactive

  // Additional test cases as needed

Harnessing Draft Mode for Modular and Reusable Code

In the architectural design of modern web applications with Next.js, modularity and reusability stand as critical pillars. By embracing the newest advancements in this framework, developers can cultivate a set of components that seamlessly integrate or operate independently, much like individual gears in a well-oiled machine. There's a particular focus on developing components that can be easily plugged in or removed, substantially contributing to robust and adaptable user interfaces.

For instance, integrating Draft Mode into a PreviewWrapper component could look like this:

import { useDraft } from 'next/draft';

const PreviewWrapper = ({ children }) => {
    const { isDraft } = useDraft();
    return (
        <div className={isDraft ? 'content-draft' : 'content-published'}>

Here, the useDraft hook from Next.js Draft Mode is utilized to determine if the content is in draft. This way, the PreviewWrapper can conditionally render styling and content, showcasing its role in a Draft Mode-centric feature.

Next.js's features align well with the concept of higher-order components (HOCs), fostering a design pattern conducive to the reuse of logic associated with content management. A withContentManagement HOC could integrate Draft Mode as follows:

import { useDraft } from 'next/draft';

const withContentManagement = (WrappedComponent) => {
    return (props) => {
        const { isDraft } = useDraft();
        // Implement your draft-specific fetching logic here
        const content = isDraft ? fetchDraftContent(props.id) : fetchPublishedContent(props.id);

        return <WrappedComponent {...props} content={content} />;

This HOC now encapsulates behavior that directly interacts with Draft Mode by using the provided useDraft hook, enhancing the ability to manage different content states from within your components.

Within the application, custom hooks offer another pathway for encapsulating reusable logic. To work with Draft Mode, the useContentToggle hook could be adapted:

import { useDraft } from 'next/draft';

const useContentToggle = (id) => {
    const { isDraft, setDraft } = useDraft();
    const content = isDraft ? fetchDraftContent(id) : fetchPublishedContent(id);

    const toggleDraft = () => {

    return { content, isDraft, toggleDraft };

By leveraging the useContentToggle hook, components can internalize and control the draft state of content, significantly enhancing their modularity and reliability.

On a granular level, these architectural features streamline component testing by simulating interactions with Draft Mode:

import { useDraft } from 'next/draft';

// Mock the useDraft hook for testing
jest.mock('next/draft', () => ({
    useDraft: jest.fn()

describe('PreviewWrapper', () => {
    it('renders draft content when isDraft is true', () => {
        useDraft.mockReturnValue({ isDraft: true });
        // Setup and assertions for draft content rendering behavior

    it('renders published content when isDraft is false', () => {
        useDraft.mockReturnValue({ isDraft: false });
        // Setup and assertions for published content rendering behavior

With these mock returns, we can effectively test the component's behavior under various Draft Mode states, ensuring its versatility and robustness.

Through the application of Next.js's innovative features, we foster an environment where components are not only independent but can also be composed to craft a comprehensive and advanced application architecture. As you continue to develop, consider how to weave these modular patterns into your existing codebase, strengthening its flexibility and scalability to meet future challenges.


Next.js 14 introduces Draft Mode, a transformative feature that improves content creation and preview workflow in modern web development. This article explores the intricacies of Draft Mode, including its setup, operational nuances, and performance considerations. It provides best practices for implementing Draft Mode, such as optimizing server-rendered pages, using debouncing techniques, and monitoring key performance indicators. The article also offers practical code examples and common pitfalls to avoid when working with Draft Mode. Readers are prompted to reflect on their own experiences and consider improvements to their Draft Mode implementation. By harnessing Draft Mode, developers can create modular and reusable code that enhances the efficiency and scalability of their applications. A challenging task for readers is to test their Draft Mode implementation and ensure it functions correctly for various user roles.

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