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Learn how to quickly set up Apollo Client in your React app

The simplest way to get started with Apollo Client is by using Apollo Boost, our starter kit that configures your client for you with our recommended settings. Apollo Boost includes packages that we think are essential for building an Apollo app, like our in memory cache, local state management, and error handling. It’s also flexible enough to handle features like authentication.

If you’re an advanced user who would like to configure Apollo Client from scratch, head on over to our Apollo Boost migration guide. For the majority of users, Apollo Boost should meet your needs, so we don’t recommend switching unless you absolutely need more customization.

Installation

First, let’s install some packages!

npm install apollo-boost react-apollo graphql --save
  • apollo-boost: Package containing everything you need to set up Apollo Client
  • react-apollo: View layer integration for React
  • graphql: Also parses your GraphQL queries

If you’d like to walk through this tutorial yourself, we recommend either running a new React project locally with create-react-app or creating a new React sandbox on CodeSandbox. For reference, we will be using this Launchpad as our GraphQL server for our sample app, which pulls exchange rate data from the Coinbase API. If you’d like to skip ahead and see the app we’re about to build, you can view it on CodeSandbox.

Create a client

Great, now that you have all the dependencies you need, let’s create your Apollo Client. The only thing you need to get started is the endpoint for your GraphQL server. If you don’t pass in uri directly, it defaults to the /graphql endpoint on the same host your app is served from.

In our index.js file, let’s import ApolloClient from apollo-boost and add the endpoint for our GraphQL server to the uri property of the client config object.

import ApolloClient from "apollo-boost";

const client = new ApolloClient({
  uri: "https://w5xlvm3vzz.lp.gql.zone/graphql"
});

That’s it! Now your client is ready to start fetching data. Before we hook up Apollo Client to React, let’s try sending a query with plain JavaScript first. In the same index.js file, try calling client.query(). Remember to first import the gql function for parsing your query string into a query document.

import gql from "graphql-tag";

...

client
  .query({
    query: gql`
      {
        rates(currency: "USD") {
          currency
        }
      }
    `
  })
  .then(result => console.log(result));

Open up your console and inspect the result object. You should see a data property with rates attached, along with some other properties like loading and networkStatus. While you don’t need React or another front-end framework just to fetch data with Apollo Client, our view layer integrations make it easier to bind your queries to your UI and reactively update your components with data. Let’s learn how to connect Apollo Client to React so we can start building query components with react-apollo.

Connect your client to React

To connect Apollo Client to React, you will need to use the ApolloProvider component exported from react-apollo. The ApolloProvider is similar to React’s context provider. It wraps your React app and places the client on the context, which allows you to access it from anywhere in your component tree.

In index.js, let’s wrap our React app with an ApolloProvider. We suggest putting the ApolloProvider somewhere high in your app, above any places where you need to access GraphQL data. For example, it could be outside of your root route component if you’re using React Router.

import React from "react";
import { render } from "react-dom";

import { ApolloProvider } from "react-apollo";

const App = () => (
  <ApolloProvider client={client}>
    <div>
      <h2>My first Apollo app 🚀</h2>
    </div>
  </ApolloProvider>
);

render(<App />, document.getElementById("root"));

Request data

Once your ApolloProvider is hooked up, you’re ready to start requesting data with Query components! Query is a React component exported from react-apollo that uses the render prop pattern to share GraphQL data with your UI.

First, pass your GraphQL query wrapped in the gql function to the query prop on the Query component. Then, you’ll provide a function to the Query component’s children prop to determine what to render, which Query will call with an object containing loading, error, and data properties. Apollo Client tracks error and loading state for you, which will be reflected in the loading and error properties. Once the result of your query comes back, it will be attached to the data property.

Let’s create an ExchangeRates component in index.js to see the Query component in action!

import { Query } from "react-apollo";
import gql from "graphql-tag";

const ExchangeRates = () => (
  <Query
    query={gql`
      {
        rates(currency: "USD") {
          currency
          rate
        }
      }
    `}
  >
    {({ loading, error, data }) => {
      if (loading) return <p>Loading...</p>;
      if (error) return <p>Error :(</p>;

      return data.rates.map(({ currency, rate }) => (
        <div key={currency}>
          <p>{`${currency}: ${rate}`}</p>
        </div>
      ));
    }}
  </Query>
);

Congrats, you just made your first Query component! 🎉 If you render your ExchangeRates component within your App component from the previous example, you’ll first see a loading indicator and then data on the page once it’s ready. Apollo Client automatically caches this data when it comes back from the server, so you won’t see a loading indicator if you run the same query twice.

If you’d like to play around with the app we just built, you can view it on CodeSandbox. Don’t stop there! Try building more Query components and experimenting with the concepts you just learned.

If you’d like to explore further, here are more versions of the example app featuring different front-end libraries:

Apollo Boost

In our example app, we used Apollo Boost in order to quickly set up Apollo Client. While your GraphQL server endpoint is the only configuration option you need to get started, there are some other options we’ve included so you can quickly implement features like local state management, authentication, and error handling.

What’s included

Apollo Boost includes some packages that we think are essential to developing with Apollo Client. Here’s what’s included:

  • apollo-client: Where all the magic happens
  • apollo-cache-inmemory: Our recommended cache
  • apollo-link-http: An Apollo Link for remote data fetching
  • apollo-link-error: An Apollo Link for error handling
  • apollo-link-state: An Apollo Link for local state management

The awesome thing about Apollo Boost is that you don’t have to set any of this up yourself! Just specify a few options if you’d like to use these features and we’ll take care of the rest.

Configuration options

Here are the options you can pass to the ApolloClient exported from apollo-boost. All of them are optional.

uri: string
A string representing your GraphQL server endpoint. Defaults to /graphql
fetchOptions: Object
Any options you would like to pass to fetch (credentials, headers, etc). These options are static, so they don’t change on each request.
request: (operation: Operation) => Promise
This function is called on each request. It takes a GraphQL operation and can return a promise. To dynamically set fetchOptions, you can add them to the context of the operation with operation.setContext({ headers }). Any options set here will take precedence over fetchOptions. Useful for authentication.
onError: (errorObj: { graphQLErrors: GraphQLError[], networkError: Error, response?: ExecutionResult, operation: Operation }) => void
We include a default error handler to log out your errors to the console. If you would like to handle your errors differently, specify this function.
clientState: { resolvers?: Object, defaults?: Object, typeDefs?: string | Array }
An object representing your configuration for apollo-link-state. This is useful if you would like to use the Apollo cache for local state management. Learn more in our quick start.
cacheRedirects: Object
A map of functions to redirect a query to another entry in the cache before a request takes place. This is useful if you have a list of items and want to use the data from the list query on a detail page where you’re querying an individual item. More on that here.
credentials: string
Is set to same-origin by default. This option can be used to indicate whether the user agent should send cookies with requests. See Request.credentials for more details.
headers: Object
Header key/value pairs to pass along with the request.
fetch: GlobalFetch[‘fetch’]
A fetch compatible API for making a request.

cache: ApolloCache
A custom instance of ApolloCache to be used. The default value is InMemoryCache from apollo-cache-inmemory. This option is quite useful for using a custom cache with apollo-cache-persist.

Next steps

Now that you’ve learned how to fetch data with Apollo Client, you’re ready to dive deeper into creating more complex queries and mutations. After this section, we recommend moving onto:

  • Queries: Learn how to fetch queries with arguments and dive deeper into configuration options. For a full list of options, check out the API reference for Query.
  • Mutations: Learn how to update data with mutations and when you’ll need to update the Apollo cache. For a full list of options, check out the API reference for Mutation components.
  • Apollo Client API: Sometimes, you’ll need to access the client directly like we did in our plain JavaScript example above. Visit the API reference for a full list of options.
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