GraphQL Clients

In this section, we will look at how specialized GraphQL clients can help with better querying, caching, and building reusable modules.

A GraphQL request can be made using native JavaScript Fetch API. For example, to fetch a list of authors, we can make the query using the following code:

const limit = 5;
const query = `query author($limit: Int!) {
author(limit: $limit) {
fetch('/graphql', {
method: 'POST',
headers: {
'Content-Type': 'application/json',
'Accept': 'application/json',
body: JSON.stringify({
variables: { limit },
.then(r => r.json())
.then(data => console.log('data returned:', data));

This, of course, assumes that your server accepts GraphQL requests over HTTP. (Remember GraphQL is protocol agnostic?).

Why do I need a GraphQL Client?

Now that you have learned that requests can be made using the old fetch API method, what is the point of a GraphQL client?

Constructing query, processing response

A GraphQL client can help construct the entire query with just the GraphQL document as input and add the relevant headers and context information. So instead of you writing the fetch API call every time, the client will handle it for you giving the response data and error after parsing.

Managing UI State

A GraphQL client is also helpful in managing the UI state and syncing data across multiple UI components.

Updating cache

A GraphQL client can also manage cached entries of data fetched from queries or mutations. Reactive updates to UI, as mentioned above, are achieved using a cache.

Popular GraphQL Clients in the community are Apollo Client and Relay.

Fluent GraphQL Clients

When you are writing GraphQL queries or mutations using a client, you will notice that it is just a raw string with its own syntax. This string is usually parsed into a valid GraphQL query using external libraries.

With fluent GraphQL clients, you can write these queries as objects. Fluent APIs aim to make code more readable via method chaining by returning this or self from each method. Fluent GraphQL clients allow you to write your query as an object, which they then convert to a string query behind the scenes.

In addition to freeing you from strings, they offer

  • Strong typing
  • Single source of truth for type definitions
  • Autocompletion of queries

Here is a list of Fluent GraphQL Clients that you can try out.

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