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Launch Graph Manager

Advanced HTTP Networking

Take full network control with Apollo Link


The Apollo Link library gives you fine-grained control of HTTP requests that are sent by Apollo Client. You can also use it to replace Apollo Client's networking layer with something completely custom, such as a WebSocket transport or mocked server data.

When using Apollo Link, you define network behavior as a collection of link objects that execute in sequence to control the flow of data. By default, Apollo Client uses Apollo Link's HttpLink to send GraphQL queries over HTTP.

Apollo Link includes installable, premade links that support a variety of use cases. You can also create your own custom links.

Customizing request logic

The following example demonstrates adding a custom link to Apollo Client. This link adds an Authorization header to every HTTP request before the HttpLink sends it:

import { ApolloClient, HttpLink, ApolloLink, concat } from '@apollo/client';

const httpLink = new HttpLink({ uri: '/graphql' });

const authMiddleware = new ApolloLink((operation, forward) => {
  // add the authorization to the headers
  operation.setContext({
    headers: {
      authorization: localStorage.getItem('token') || null,
    }
  });

  return forward(operation);
})

const client = new ApolloClient({
  link: concat(authMiddleware, httpLink),
});

This next example demonstrates providing multiple custom links in an array:

import { ApolloClient, HttpLink, ApolloLink, from } from '@apollo/client';

const httpLink = new HttpLink({ uri: '/graphql' });

const authMiddleware = new ApolloLink((operation, forward) => {
  // add the authorization to the headers
  operation.setContext(({ headers = {} }) => ({
    headers: {
      ...headers,
      authorization: localStorage.getItem('token') || null,
    }
  }));

  return forward(operation);
})

const activityMiddleware = new ApolloLink((operation, forward) => {
  // add the recent-activity custom header to the headers
  operation.setContext(({ headers = {} }) => ({
    headers: {
      ...headers,
      'recent-activity': localStorage.getItem('lastOnlineTime') || null,
    }
  }));

  return forward(operation);
})

const client = new ApolloClient({
  link: from([
    authMiddleware,
    activityMiddleware,
    httpLink
  ]),
});

In the example above, the authMiddleware link sets each request's Authorization header, and the acivityMiddleware then sets each request's Recent-Activity header. Finally, the HttpLink sends the modified request.

Customizing response logic

You can also use Apollo Link to customize Apollo Client's behavior whenever it receives a response from a request.

The following example demonstrates using @apollo/link-error to handle network errors that are included in a response:

import { ApolloClient, HttpLink } from '@apollo/client';
import { onError } from '@apollo/link-error';

import { logout } from './logout';

const httpLink = new HttpLink({ uri: '/graphql' });

const logoutLink = onError(({ networkError }) => {
  if (networkError.statusCode === 401) logout();
})

const client = new ApolloClient({
  link: logoutLink.concat(httpLink),
});

In this example, the user is logged out of the application if the server returns a 401 code (unauthorized).

Apollo Client uses HttpLink to send GraphQL operations to a server over HTTP. The link supports both POST and GET requests, and it can modify HTTP options on a per-query basis. This comes in handy when implementing authentication, persisted queries, dynamic URIs, and other granular updates.

If your client doesn't have complex HTTP requirements, you probably don't need to create a custom instance of HttpLink. For details, see Basic HTTP networking.

Usage

import { HttpLink } from "@apollo/client";

const link = new HttpLink({ uri: "/graphql" });

Constructor options

The HttpLink constructor accepts the following options:

OptionsDescription
uriA string endpoint or function that resolves to the GraphQL server you want to execute operations against. (default: /graphql)
includeExtensionsIf true, you can pass an extensions field to your GraphQL server. (default: false)
fetchA fetch-compatible API for making a request. See Providing a fetch replacement for certain environments.
headersAn object containing header names and values to include in each request.
credentialsA string representing the credentials policy to use for the fetch call. (valid values: omit, include, same-origin)
fetchOptionsInclude this to override the values of certain options that are provided to the fetch call.
useGETForQueriesIf true, HttpLink uses GET requests instead of POST requests to execute query operations (but not mutation operations). (default: false)

Providing a fetch replacement for certain environments

HttpLink requires that fetch is present in your runtime environment. This is the case for React Native and most modern browsers. If you're targeting an environment that doesn't include fetch (such as older browsers or the server), you need to pass your own fetch to HttpLink via its constructor options. We recommend using cross-fetch for older browsers and Node.

Overriding options

You can override most HttpLink constructor options on an operation-by-operation basis by modifying the context object for the operation. For example, you can set the headers field on the context to pass custom headers for a particular operation. The context also supports the credentials field for defining credentials policy, uri for changing the endpoint dynamically, and fetchOptions to allow generic fetch overrides (i.e., method: "GET").

Note that if you set fetchOptions.method to GET, HttpLink follows the standard GraphQL HTTP GET encoding. The query, variables, operation name, and extensions are passed as query parameters instead of in the HTTP request body (because there isn't one). If you to continue to send mutations as non-idempotent POST requests, set the top-level useGETForQueries option to true instead of setting fetchOptions.method to GET.

HttpLink also attaches the response from the fetch operation to the context as response, so you can access it in another link.

Context options:

OptionDescription
headersAn object containing header names and values to include in each request.
credentialsA string representing the credentials policy to use for the fetch call. (valid values: omit, include, same-origin)
uriA string endpoint or function that resolves to the GraphQL server you want to execute operations against.
fetchOptionsAny overrides of the fetch options argument to pass to the fetch call.
responseThe raw response from the fetch request after it is made.
httpAn object that lets you control fine-grained aspects of HttpLink itself, such as persisted queries (see below).

The following example shows how to use the context to pass a special header for a single query:

import { ApolloClient } from "@apollo/client";

const client = new ApolloClient({ uri: "/graphql" });

client.query({
  query: MY_QUERY,
  context: {
    // example of setting the headers with context per operation
    headers: {
      special: "Special header value"
    }
  }
});

Custom fetching

HttpLink's fetch option can be used to wire in custom networking. This is useful if you want to modify the request based on calculated headers, or calculate the URI based on an operation. For example:

Custom auth:

const customFetch = (uri, options) => {
  const { header } = Hawk.client.header(
    "http://example.com:8000/resource/1?b=1&a=2",
    "POST",
    { credentials: credentials, ext: "some-app-data" }
  );
  options.headers.Authorization = header;
  return fetch(uri, options);
};

const link = new HttpLink({ fetch: customFetch });

Dynamic URI:

const customFetch = (uri, options) => {
  const { operationName } = JSON.parse(options.body);
  return fetch(`${uri}/graph/graphql?opname=${operationName}`, options);
};

const link = new HttpLink({ fetch: customFetch });

Apollo Link includes many links for specialized use cases, such as the WebSocketLink for communicating over WebSocket and the BatchHttpLink for combining multiple GraphQL operations in a single HTTP request.

To learn more about what's available, see the Apollo Link API documentation.

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