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A GraphQL client for React using modern context and hooks APIs that is lightweight (< 2.5 KB size limited) but powerful; the first Relay and Apollo alternative with server side rendering.
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graphql-react

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A GraphQL client for React using modern context and hooks APIs that is lightweight (< 2.5 KB size limited) but powerful; the first Relay and Apollo alternative with server side rendering.

Setup

Next.js setup

See the next-graphql-react setup instructions.

Vanilla React setup

To install graphql-react from npm run:

npm install graphql-react

Create a single GraphQL instance and use GraphQLProvider to provide it for your app.

For server side rendering see ssr().

Usage

Use the useGraphQL React hook in your components to make queries and mutations, or use the GraphQL instance method operate directly.

Examples

Here is a basic example that displays a Pokemon image, with tips commented:

import { GraphQL, GraphQLProvider, useGraphQL } from 'graphql-react'

// Zero config GraphQL client that manages the cache.
const graphql = new GraphQL()

const PokemonImage = ({ name }) => {
  // The useGraphQL hook can be used just the same for queries or mutations.
  const { loading, cacheValue = {} } = useGraphQL({
    // Any GraphQL API can be queried in components, where fetch options for
    // the URL, auth headers, etc. are specified. To avoid repetition it’s a
    // good idea to import the fetch options override functions for the APIs
    // your app uses from a central module. The default fetch options received
    // by the override function are tailored to the operation; typically the
    // body is JSON but if there are files in the variables it will be a
    // FormData instance for a GraphQL multipart request.
    fetchOptionsOverride(options) {
      options.url = 'https://graphql-pokemon.now.sh'
    },

    // The operation typically contains `query` and sometimes `variables`, but
    // additional properties can be used; all are JSON encoded and sent to the
    // GraphQL server in the fetch request body.
    operation: {
      query: `{ pokemon(name: "${name}") { image } }`
    },

    // Load the query whenever the component mounts. This is desirable for
    // queries to display content, but not for on demand situations like
    // pagination view more buttons or forms that submit mutations.
    loadOnMount: true,

    // Reload the query whenever a global cache reload is signaled.
    loadOnReload: true,

    // Reload the query whenever the global cache is reset. Resets immediately
    // delete the cache and are mostly only used when logging out the user.
    loadOnReset: true
  })

  return cacheValue.data ? (
    <img src={cacheValue.data.pokemon.image} alt={name} />
  ) : loading ? (
    // Data is often reloaded, so don’t assume loading indicates no data.
    'Loading…'
  ) : (
    // Detailed error info is available in the `cacheValue` properties
    // `fetchError`, `httpError`, `parseError` and `graphQLErrors`. A combination
    // of errors is possible, and an error doesn’t necessarily mean data is
    // unavailable.
    'Error!'
  )
}

const App = () => (
  <GraphQLProvider graphql={graphql}>
    <PokemonImage name="pikachu" />
  </GraphQLProvider>
)

Support

Consider polyfilling:

API

Table of contents

class GraphQL

A lightweight GraphQL client that caches queries and mutations.

Parameter Type Description
options object? = {} Options.
options.cache GraphQLCache? = {} Cache to import; usually from a server side render.

See

Examples

Construct a GraphQL client.

import { GraphQL } from 'graphql-react'

const graphql = new GraphQL()

GraphQL instance method off

Removes an event listener.

Parameter Type Description
type string Event type.
handler Function Event handler.

GraphQL instance method on

Adds an event listener.

Parameter Type Description
type string Event type.
handler Function Event handler.
See

GraphQL instance method operate

Loads or reuses an already loading GraphQL operation in GraphQL operations. Emits a GraphQL instance fetch event if an already loading operation isn’t reused, and a cache event once it’s loaded into the GraphQL cache.

Parameter Type Description
options object Options.
options.operation GraphQLOperation GraphQL operation.
options.fetchOptionsOverride GraphQLFetchOptionsOverride? Overrides default GraphQL operation fetch options.
options.reloadOnLoad boolean? = false Should a GraphQL reload happen after the operation loads, excluding the loaded operation cache.
options.resetOnLoad boolean? = false Should a GraphQL reset happen after the operation loads, excluding the loaded operation cache.

Returns: GraphQLOperationLoading — Loading GraphQL operation details.

GraphQL instance method reload

Signals that GraphQL cache subscribers such as the useGraphQL React hook should reload their GraphQL operation. Emits a GraphQL instance reload event.

Parameter Type Description
exceptCacheKey GraphQLCacheKey? A GraphQL cache key for cache to exempt from reloading.
Examples

Reloading the GraphQL cache.

graphql.reload()

GraphQL instance method reset

Resets the GraphQL cache, useful when a user logs out. Emits a GraphQL instance reset event.

Parameter Type Description
exceptCacheKey GraphQLCacheKey? A GraphQL cache key for cache to exempt from deletion. Useful for resetting cache after a mutation, preserving the mutation cache.
Examples

Resetting the GraphQL cache.

graphql.reset()

GraphQL instance property cache

Cache of loaded GraphQL operations. You probably don’t need to interact with this unless you’re implementing a server side rendering framework.

Type: GraphQLCache

Examples

Export cache as JSON.

const exportedCache = JSON.stringify(graphql.cache)

Example cache JSON.

{
  "a1bCd2": {
    "data": {
      "viewer": {
        "name": "Jayden Seric"
      }
    }
  }
}

GraphQL instance property operations

A map of loading GraphQL operations. You probably don’t need to interact with this unless you’re implementing a server side rendering framework.

Type: object<GraphQLCacheKey, Promise<GraphQLCacheValue>>


function GraphQLProvider

A React component that provides a GraphQL instance for an app.

Parameter Type Description
props object Component props.
props.graphql GraphQL GraphQL instance.
props.children ReactNode? React children.

Returns: ReactNode — React virtual DOM node.

See

  • GraphQLContext is provided via this component.
  • useGraphQL React hook requires this component to be an ancestor to work.

Examples

Provide a GraphQL instance for an app.

import { GraphQL, GraphQLProvider } from 'graphql-react'

const graphql = new GraphQL()

const App = ({ children }) => (
  <GraphQLProvider graphql={graphql}>{children}</GraphQLProvider>
)

function reportCacheErrors

A GraphQL cache event handler that reports fetch, HTTP, parse and GraphQL errors via console.log(). In a browser environment the grouped error details are expandable.

Parameter Type Description
data object GraphQL cache event data.
data.cacheKey GraphQLCacheKey GraphQL cache key.
data.cacheValue GraphQLCacheKey GraphQL cache value.

Examples

GraphQL initialized to report cache errors.

import { GraphQL, reportCacheErrors } from 'graphql-react'

const graphql = new GraphQL()
graphql.on('cache', reportCacheErrors)

function ssr

Asynchronously server side renders a React node, preloading all GraphQL queries set to loadOnMount. After resolving, cache can be exported from the GraphQL instance property cache for serialization (usually to JSON) and transport to the client for hydration via the GraphQL constructor parameter options.cache.

Be sure to globally polyfill fetch.

Parameter Type Description
graphql GraphQL GraphQL instance.
node ReactNode React virtual DOM node.
render Function? = ReactDOMServer.renderToStaticMarkup Synchronous React server side render function, defaulting to ReactDOMServer.renderToStaticMarkup as it is more efficient than ReactDOMServer.renderToString.

Returns: Promise<string> — Promise resolving the rendered HTML string.

See

Examples

SSR function that resolves a HTML string and cache JSON for client hydration.

import { GraphQL, GraphQLProvider } from 'graphql-react'
import { ssr } from 'graphql-react/server'
import ReactDOMServer from 'react-dom/server'
import { App } from './components'

async function render() {
  const graphql = new GraphQL()
  const page = (
    <GraphQLProvider graphql={graphql}>
      <App />
    </GraphQLProvider>
  )
  const html = await ssr(graphql, page, ReactDOMServer.renderToString)
  const cache = JSON.stringify(graphql.cache)
  return { html, cache }
}

SSR function that resolves a HTML string suitable for a static page.

import { GraphQL, GraphQLProvider } from 'graphql-react'
import { ssr } from 'graphql-react/server'
import { App } from './components'

function render() {
  const graphql = new GraphQL()
  const page = (
    <GraphQLProvider graphql={graphql}>
      <App />
    </GraphQLProvider>
  )
  return ssr(graphql, page)
}

function useGraphQL

A React hook to manage a GraphQL operation in a component.

Parameter Type Description
options object Options.
options.fetchOptionsOverride GraphQLFetchOptionsOverride? Overrides default fetch options for the GraphQL operation.
options.loadOnMount boolean? = false Should the operation load when the component mounts.
options.loadOnReload boolean? = false Should the operation load when the GraphQL reload event fires and there is a GraphQL cache value to reload, but only if the operation was not the one that caused the reload.
options.loadOnReset boolean? = false Should the operation load when the GraphQL reset event fires and the GraphQL cache value is deleted, but only if the operation was not the one that caused the reset.
options.reloadOnLoad boolean? = false Should a GraphQL reload happen after the operation loads, excluding the loaded operation cache.
options.resetOnLoad boolean? = false Should a GraphQL reset happen after the operation loads, excluding the loaded operation cache.
options.operation GraphQLOperation GraphQL operation.

Returns: GraphQLOperationStatus — GraphQL operation status.

See

Examples

A component that displays a Pokémon image.

import { useGraphQL } from 'graphql-react'

const PokemonImage = ({ name }) => {
  const { loading, cacheValue = {} } = useGraphQL({
    fetchOptionsOverride(options) {
      options.url = 'https://graphql-pokemon.now.sh'
    },
    operation: {
      query: `{ pokemon(name: "${name}") { image } }`
    },
    loadOnMount: true,
    loadOnReload: true,
    loadOnReset: true
  })

  return cacheValue.data ? (
    <img src={cacheValue.data.pokemon.image} alt={name} />
  ) : loading ? (
    'Loading…'
  ) : (
    'Error!'
  )
}

Options guide for common situations.

Situation loadOnMount loadOnReload loadOnReset reloadOnLoad resetOnLoad
Profile query ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Login mutation ✔️
Logout mutation ✔️
Change password mutation
Change name mutation ✔️
Like a post mutation ✔️

constant GraphQLContext

React context object for a GraphQL instance.

Type: object

Property Type Description
Provider Function React context provider component.
Consumer Function React context consumer component.

See

Examples

A button component that resets the GraphQL cache.

import React from 'react'
import { GraphQLContext } from 'graphql-react'

const ResetCacheButton = () => {
  const graphql = React.useContext(GraphQLContext)
  return <button onClick={graphql.reset}>Reset cache</button>
}

type GraphQLCache

A GraphQL cache map of GraphQL operation results.

Type: object<GraphQLCacheKeyGraphQLCacheValue>

See


type GraphQLCacheKey

A GraphQL cache key, derived from a hash of the fetch options of the GraphQL operation that populated the value.

Type: string


type GraphQLCacheValue

JSON serializable GraphQL operation result that includes errors and data.

Type: object

Property Type Description
fetchError string? fetch error message.
httpError HttpError? fetch response HTTP error.
parseError string? Parse error message.
graphQLErrors Array<object>? GraphQL response errors.
data object? GraphQL response data.

type GraphQLFetchOptions

GraphQL API URL and polyfillable fetch options. The url property gets extracted and the rest are used as fetch options.

Type: object

Property Type Description
url string GraphQL API URL.
body string | FormData HTTP request body.
headers object HTTP request headers.
credentials string? Authentication credentials mode.

See


type GraphQLFetchOptionsOverride

Overrides default GraphQL fetch options. Mutate the provided options object; there is no need to return it.

Type: Function

Parameter Type Description
options GraphQLFetchOptions GraphQL fetch options tailored to the GraphQL operation, e.g. if there are files to upload options.body will be a FormData instance conforming to the GraphQL multipart request spec.

See

Examples

Setting GraphQL fetch options for an imaginary API.

options => {
  options.url = 'https://api.example.com/graphql'
  options.credentials = 'include'
}

type GraphQLOperation

A GraphQL operation. Additional properties may be used; all are sent to the GraphQL server.

Type: object

Property Type Description
query string GraphQL queries/mutations.
variables object Variables used in the query.

See


type GraphQLOperationLoading

A loading GraphQL operation.

Type: object

Property Type Description
cacheKey GraphQLCacheKey GraphQL cache key.
cacheValue GraphQLCacheValue? GraphQL cache value from the last identical query.
cacheValuePromise Promise<GraphQLCacheValue> Resolves the loaded GraphQL cache value.

See


type GraphQLOperationStatus

The status of a GraphQL operation.

Type: object

Property Type Description
load Function Loads the GraphQL operation on demand, updating the GraphQL cache.
loading boolean Is the GraphQL operation loading.
cacheKey GraphQLCacheKey GraphQL cache key.
cacheValue GraphQLCacheValue GraphQL cache value.

See


type HttpError

fetch HTTP error.

Type: object

Property Type Description
status number HTTP status code.
statusText string HTTP status text.

type ReactNode

A React virtual DOM node; anything that can be rendered.

Type: undefined | null | boolean | number | string | React.Element | Array<ReactNode>

Apollo comparison

Bundle impact

graphql-react

A < 2.5 KB bundle impact is guaranteed by Size Limit tests. The impact is smaller than the bundle size badge suggests as the internal object-assign dependency is shared with react.

Dependency Install size Bundle size
graphql-react graphql-react install size graphql-react minzipped size

Tree shaking bundlers will eliminate unused exports (perhaps reportCacheErrors).

Apollo

Several dependencies must be installed for a minimal Apollo project.

Dependency Install size Bundle size
apollo-boost apollo-boost install size apollo-boost minzipped size
@apollo/react-hooks @apollo/react-hooks install size @apollo/react-hooks minzipped size
graphql graphql install size graphql minzipped size

Tree shaking bundlers will eliminate unused graphql exports.

In addition, fragment matcher config impacts bundle size relative to the number and complexity of schema unions and interfaces; see Cache strategy.

Native ESM

graphql-react

Supports native ESM via .mjs files for Node.js in --experimental-modules mode and tree shaking bundlers like webpack. For legacy environments CJS is provided via .js files.

Apollo

No support for native ESM, although they do provide faux ESM via package module fields for tree shaking bundlers like webpack.

Writing queries

graphql-react

Uses template strings:

const QUERY = /* GraphQL */ `
  {
    viewer {
      id
    }
  }
`

The optional /* GraphQL */ comment signals the syntax for highlighters and linters.

Apollo

Uses template strings tagged with gql from graphql-tag:

import gql from 'graphql-tag'

const QUERY = gql`
  {
    viewer {
      id
    }
  }
`

Cache strategy

graphql-react

The GraphQL client has no GraphQL API specific config; fetch options are determined on demand at the component level. Multiple GraphQL APIs can be queried!

GraphQL operations are cached under hashes of their fetch options. Multiple operations with the same hash share the same loading status and cache value.

fetch, HTTP, parse and GraphQL errors can be cached, and therefore server side rendered and transported to the client for hydration and initial render.

Apollo

Apollo Client is configured for one GraphQL API per app.

GraphQL operation data is deconstructed based upon id and __typename fields into a “normalized” cache. These fields must be queried even if they aren’t used in components.

Errors aren’t cached, and therefore can’t be server side rendered and transported to the client for hydration and initial render.

Apollo Client must be configured with schema knowledge extracted at build time for a “fragment matcher” to cache fragments on unions and interfaces properly. It’s challenging to reconfigure and redeploy clients whenever the GraphQL schema updates. Also, the config increases the client bundle size; see Bundle impact.

Stale cache

graphql-react

Typically, cache is refreshed for mounting components.

GraphQL operations can optionally refresh all cache except their own fresh cache; handy for mutations.

Apollo

Typically, cache isn’t refreshed for mounting components.

GraphQL mutations only update the cache with the contents of their payload. The prescribed approach is to try to manually update other normalized cache after mutations using complicated and often buggy APIs. Resetting all cache is possible, but it also wipes the result of the last operation.

File uploads

graphql-react

Supports file uploads out of the box, compliant with the GraphQL multipart request spec (authored by @jaydenseric) which is supported by popular GraphQL servers including Apollo Server. File input values can be used as query or mutation arguments.

Apollo

Supports file uploads if you drop apollo-boost and manually setup Apollo Client with apollo-upload-client (also by @jaydenseric).

Subscriptions

graphql-react

Not supported yet.

Apollo

Supported.

TypeScript

graphql-react

Written in ECMAScript; no types are exported.

Apollo

Written in TypeScript; types are exported.

Next.js integration

graphql-react

Has an official example using next-graphql-react, which provides easy to install custom App and config decorators to enable server side rendered GraphQL queries.

Also has more detailed examples, deployed at graphql-react.now.sh.

Apollo

Has an official example, but it consists of over 100 lines of complicated copy-paste boilerplate code across multiple files.

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