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Queries

Fetch data with the useQuery hook


This article shows how to fetch GraphQL data in React with the useQuery hook and attach the result to your UI. You'll also learn how Apollo Client simplifies data management code by tracking error and loading states for you.

Prerequisites

This article assumes you're familiar with building basic GraphQL queries. If you need a refresher, we recommend this guide. You can also build example queries against Apollo's full-stack tutorial server.

This article also assumes that you've already set up Apollo Client and have wrapped your React app in an ApolloProvider component. For more information, see the getting started guide.

To follow along with the examples below, open up our starter project and sample GraphQL server on CodeSandbox. You can view the completed version of the app here.

Executing a query

The useQuery React hook is the primary API for executing queries in an Apollo application. To run a query within a React component, call useQuery and pass it a GraphQL query string. When your component renders, useQuery returns an object from Apollo Client that contains loading, error, and data properties you can use to render your UI.

Let's look at an example. First, we'll create a GraphQL query named GET_DOGS. Remember to wrap query strings in the gql function to parse them into query documents:

index.js
import { gql, useQuery } from '@apollo/client';

const GET_DOGS = gql`
  query GetDogs {
    dogs {
      id
      breed
    }
  }
`;

Next, we'll create a component named Dogs. Inside it, we'll pass our GET_DOGS query to the useQuery hook:

index.js
function Dogs({ onDogSelected }) {
  const { loading, error, data } = useQuery(GET_DOGS);

  if (loading) return 'Loading...';
  if (error) return `Error! ${error.message}`;

  return (
    <select name="dog" onChange={onDogSelected}>
      {data.dogs.map(dog => (
        <option key={dog.id} value={dog.breed}>
          {dog.breed}
        </option>
      ))}
    </select>
  );
}

As our query executes and the values of loading, error, and data change, the Dogs component can intelligently render different UI elements according to the query's state:

  • As long as loading is true (indicating the query is still in flight), the component presents a Loading... notice.
  • When loading is false and there is no error, the query has completed. The component renders a dropdown menu that's populated with the list of dog breeds returned by the server.

When the user selects a dog breed from the populated dropdown, the selection is sent to the parent component via the provided onDogSelected function.

In the next step, we'll associate the dropdown with a more sophisticated query that uses GraphQL variables.

Caching query results

Whenever Apollo Client fetches query results from your server, it automatically caches those results locally. This makes subsequent executions of the same query extremely fast.

To see this caching in action, let's build a new component called DogPhoto. DogPhoto accepts a prop called breed that reflects the current value of the dropdown menu in our Dogs component:

index.js
const GET_DOG_PHOTO = gql`
  query Dog($breed: String!) {
    dog(breed: $breed) {
      id
      displayImage
    }
  }
`;

function DogPhoto({ breed }) {
  const { loading, error, data } = useQuery(GET_DOG_PHOTO, {
    variables: { breed },
  });

  if (loading) return null;
  if (error) return `Error! ${error}`;

  return (
    <img src={data.dog.displayImage} style={{ height: 100, width: 100 }} />
  );
}

Notice that we're providing a configuration option (variables) to the useQuery hook this time. The variables option is an object that contains all of the variables we want to pass to our GraphQL query. In this case, we want to pass the currently selected breed from the dropdown.

Select bulldog from the dropdown to see its photo appear. Then switch to another breed, and then switch back to bulldog. You'll notice that the bulldog photo loads instantly the second time around. This is the Apollo cache at work!

Next, let's learn some techniques for ensuring that our cached data is fresh.

Updating cached query results

Caching query results is handy and easy to do, but sometimes you want to make sure that cached data is up to date with your server. Apollo Client supports two strategies for this: polling and refetching.

Polling

Polling provides near-real-time synchronization with your server by causing a query to execute periodically at a specified interval. To enable polling for a query, pass a pollInterval configuration option to the useQuery hook with an interval in milliseconds:

index.js
function DogPhoto({ breed }) {
  const { loading, error, data } = useQuery(GET_DOG_PHOTO, {
    variables: { breed },
    pollInterval: 500,
  });

  if (loading) return null;
  if (error) return `Error! ${error}`;

  return (
    <img src={data.dog.displayImage} style={{ height: 100, width: 100 }} />
  );
}

By setting the pollInterval to 500, you'll fetch the current breed's image from the server every 0.5 seconds. Note that if you set pollInterval to 0, the query will not poll.

You can also start and stop polling dynamically with the startPolling and stopPolling functions that are returned by the useQuery hook.

Refetching

Refetching enables you to refresh query results in response to a particular user action, as opposed to using a fixed interval.

Let's add a button to our DogPhoto component that calls our query's refetch function whenever it's clicked.

You can optionally provide a new variables object to the refetch function. If you don't (as is the case in the following example), the query uses the same variables that it used in its previous execution.

index.js
function DogPhoto({ breed }) {
  const { loading, error, data, refetch } = useQuery(GET_DOG_PHOTO, {
    variables: { breed }
  });

  if (loading) return null;
  if (error) return `Error! ${error}`;

  return (
    <div>
      <img src={data.dog.displayImage} style={{ height: 100, width: 100 }} />
      <button onClick={() => refetch()}>Refetch!</button>
    </div>
  );
}

Click the button and notice that the UI updates with a new dog photo. Refetching is an excellent way to guarantee fresh data, but it introduces some complexity with loading state. In the next section, we'll cover strategies for handling complex loading and error state.

Inspecting loading states

We've already seen that the useQuery hook exposes our query's current loading state. This is helpful when a query first loads, but what happens to our loading state when we're refetching or polling?

Let's return to our refetching example from the previous section. If you click the refetch button, you'll see that the component doesn't re-render until the new data arrives. What if we want to indicate to the user that we're refetching the photo?

The useQuery hook's result object provides fine-grained information about the status of the query via the networkStatus property. To take advantage of this information, we set the notifyOnNetworkStatusChange option to true so our query component re-renders while a refetch is in flight:

index.js
import { NetworkStatus } from '@apollo/client';

function DogPhoto({ breed }) {
  const { loading, error, data, refetch, networkStatus } = useQuery(
    GET_DOG_PHOTO,
    {
      variables: { breed },
      notifyOnNetworkStatusChange: true,
    },
  );

  if (networkStatus === NetworkStatus.refetch) return 'Refetching!';
  if (loading) return null;
  if (error) return `Error! ${error}`;

  return (
    <div>
      <img src={data.dog.displayImage} style={{ height: 100, width: 100 }} />
      <button onClick={() => refetch()}>Refetch!</button>
    </div>
  );
}

Enabling this option will also ensure that the value of loading updates accordingly, even if you don't want to leverage the more fine-grained information provided by the networkStatus property.

The networkStatus property is a NetworkStatus enum that represents different loading states. Refetch is represented by NetworkStatus.refetch, and there are also values for polling and pagination. For a full list of all the possible loading states, check out the source.

To view a complete version of the app we just built, check out the CodeSandbox here.

Inspecting error states

You can customize your query error handling by providing the errorPolicy configuration option to the useQuery hook. The default value is none, which tells Apollo Client to treat all GraphQL errors as runtime errors. In this case, Apollo Client discards any query response data returned by the server and sets the error property in the useQuery result object to true.

If you set errorPolicy to all, useQuery does not discard query response data, allowing you to render partial results.

Executing queries manually

When React mounts and renders a component that calls the useQuery hook, Apollo Client automatically executes the specified query. But what if you want to execute a query in response to a different event, such as a user clicking a button?

The useLazyQuery hook is perfect for executing queries in response to events other than component rendering. This hook acts just like useQuery, with one key exception: when useLazyQuery is called, it does not immediately execute its associated query. Instead, it returns a function in its result tuple that you can call whenever you're ready to execute the query:

index.js
import React from 'react';
import { useLazyQuery } from '@apollo/client';

function DelayedQuery() {
  const [getDog, { loading, data }] = useLazyQuery(GET_DOG_PHOTO);

  if (loading) return <p>Loading ...</p>;

  return (
    <div>
      {data && data.dog && <img src={data.dog.displayImage} />}
      <button onClick={() => getDog({ variables: { breed: 'bulldog' } })}>
        Click me!
      </button>
    </div>
  );
}

Setting a fetch policy

By default, the useQuery hook checks the Apollo Client cache to see if all the data you requested is already available locally. If all data is available locally, useQuery returns that data and doesn't query your GraphQL server. This cache-first policy is Apollo Client's default fetch policy.

You can optionally specify a different fetch policy for a given query. To do so, include the fetchPolicy option in your call to useQuery:

const { loading, error, data } = useQuery(GET_DOGS, {
  fetchPolicy: "network-only"
});

Supported fetch policies

NameDescription
cache-first

Apollo Client first executes the query against the cache. If all requested data is present in the cache, that data is returned. Otherwise, Apollo Client executes the query against your GraphQL server and returns that data after caching it.

Prioritizes minimizing the number of network requests sent by your application.

This is the default fetch policy.

cache-only

Apollo Client executes the query only against the cache. It never queries your server in this case.

A cache-only query throws an error if the cache does not contain data for all requested fields.

cache-and-network

Apollo Client executes the full query against both the cache and your GraphQL server. The query automatically updates if the result of the server-side query modifies cached fields.

Provides a fast response while also helping to keep cached data consistent with server data.

network-only

Apollo Client executes the full query against your GraphQL server, without first checking the cache. The query's result is stored in the cache.

Prioritizes consistency with server data, but can't provide a near-instantaneous response when cached data is available.

no-cache

Similar to network-only, except the query's result is not stored in the cache.

standby

Uses the same logic as cache-first, except this query does not automatically update when underlying field values change. You can still manually update this query with refetch and updateQueries.

useQuery API

Supported options and result fields for the useQuery hook are listed below.

Most calls to useQuery can omit the majority of these options, but it's useful to know they exist. To learn about the useQuery hook API in more detail with usage examples, see the API reference.

Options

The useQuery hook accepts the following options:

Name /
Type
Description

Operation options

query

DocumentNode

A GraphQL query string parsed into an AST with the gql template literal.

Optional for the useQuery hook, because the query can be provided as the first parameter to the hook. Required for the Query component.

variables

{ [key: string]: any }

An object containing all of the GraphQL variables your query requires to execute.

Each key in the object corresponds to a variable name, and that key's value corresponds to the variable value.

errorPolicy

ErrorPolicy

Specifies how the query handles a response that returns both GraphQL errors and partial results.

For details, see GraphQL error policies.

The default value is none, meaning that the query result includes error details but not partial results.

onCompleted

(data: TData | {}) => void

A callback function that's called when your query successfully completes with zero errors (or if errorPolicy is ignore and partial data is returned).

This function is passed the query's result data.

onError

(error: ApolloError) => void

A callback function that's called when the query encounters one or more errors (unless errorPolicy is ignore).

This function is passed an ApolloError object that contains either a networkError object or a graphQLErrors array, depending on the error(s) that occurred.

skip

boolean

If true, the query is not executed. Not available with useLazyQuery.

This property is part of Apollo Client's React integration, and it is not available in the core ApolloClient API.

The default value is false.

displayName

string

The name of your component to be displayed in the React Developer Tools.

The default value is Query.

Networking options

pollInterval

number

Specifies the interval (in milliseconds) at which the query polls for updated results.

The default value is 0 (no polling).

notifyOnNetworkStatusChange

boolean

If true, the in-progress query's associated component re-renders whenever the network status changes or a network error occurs.

The default value is false.

context

Record<string, any>

If you're using Apollo Link, this object is the initial value of the context object that's passed along your link chain.

ssr

boolean

Pass false to skip executing the query during server-side rendering.

client

ApolloClient

The instance of ApolloClient to use to execute the query.

By default, the instance that's passed down via context is used, but you can provide a different instance here.

Caching options

fetchPolicy

FetchPolicy

Specifies how the query interacts with the Apollo Client cache during execution (for example, whether it checks the cache for results before sending a request to the server).

For details, see Setting a fetch policy.

The default value is cache-first.

nextFetchPolicy

FetchPolicy

Specifies the fetchPolicy to use for all executions of this query after this execution.

For example, you can use this to switch back to a cache-first fetch policy after using cache-and-network or network-only for a single execution.

returnPartialData

boolean

If true, the query can return partial results from the cache if the cache doesn't contain results for all queried fields.

The default value is false.

Deprecated options

partialRefetch

boolean

Deprecated. If true, causes a query refetch if the query result is detected as partial. Setting this option is unnecessary in Apollo Client 3, thanks to a more consistent application of fetch policies. It might be removed in a future release.

The default value is false.

Result

After being called, the useQuery hook returns a result object with the following properties. This object contains your query result, plus some helpful functions for refetching, dynamic polling, and pagination.

Name /
Type
Description

Operation data

data

TData

An object containing the result of your GraphQL query after it completes.

This value might be undefined if a query results in one or more errors (depending on the query's errorPolicy).

previousData

TData

An object containing the result from the most recent previous execution of this query.

This value is undefined if this is the query's first execution.

error

ApolloError

If the query produces one or more errors, this object contains either an array of graphQLErrors or a single networkError. Otherwise, this value is undefined.

For more information, see Handling operation errors.

variables

{ [key: string]: any }

An object containing the variables that were provided for the query.

Network info

loading

boolean

If true, the query is still in flight and results have not yet been returned.

networkStatus

NetworkStatus

A number indicating the current network state of the query's associated request. See possible values.

Used in conjunction with the notifyOnNetworkStatusChange option.

client

ApolloClient

The instance of Apollo Client that executed the query.

Can be useful for manually executing followup queries or writing data to the cache.

called

boolean

If true, the associated lazy query has been executed.

This field is only present on the result object returned by useLazyQuery.

Helper functions

refetch

(variables?: Partial<TVariables>) => Promise<ApolloQueryResult>

A function that enables you to re-execute the query, optionally passing in new variables.

The followup execution's fetchPolicy is set to network-only if the original query's fetchPolicy isn't guaranteed to send a network request (such as with cache-first).

See also Refetching.

fetchMore

({ query?: DocumentNode, variables?: TVariables, updateQuery: Function}) => Promise<ApolloQueryResult>

A function that helps you fetch the next set of results for a paginated list field.

startPolling

(interval: number) => void

A function that instructs the query to begin re-executing at a specified interval (in milliseconds).

stopPolling

() => void

A function that instructs the query to stop polling after a previous call to startPolling.

subscribeToMore

(options: { document: DocumentNode, variables?: TVariables, updateQuery?: Function, onError?: Function}) => () => void

A function that enables you to execute a subscription, usually to subscribe to specific fields that were included in the query.

This function returns another function that you can call to terminate the subscription.

updateQuery

(previousResult: TData, options: { variables: TVariables }) => TData

A function that enables you to update the query's cached result without executing a followup GraphQL operation.

Next steps

Now that you understand how to fetch data with the useQuery hook, learn how to update your data with the useMutation hook!

After that, learn about some other handy Apollo Client features:

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