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how to query the rick and morty graphQL API

Introduction

I've been going deep into GraphQL ever since I first started learning Redwood, and it's been an interesting experiment because I started with a fully complete GraphQL project with a server and client included and integrated.

As I've gotten deeper into GraphQL I've realized this is an incredible exception to the rule, the norm is everyone creating their own bespoke combination of clients and/or servers to fit their own purposes.

Outline

Query with GraphiQL

If we wanted to take it to the total basics, you'd want to start with actually making a GraphQL query. For example, if you were to go to the following link you'll see this:

01-rick-and-morty-graphiql

We want to make a query, so we'll enter the following query for characters, specifically their name (the results array is a quirk of this specific GraphQL schema).

{
  characters {
    results {
      name
    }
  }
}
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This returns an array of names.

02-character-names

Watch out for Abradolf Lincler, he's a bad dude.

03-abradolf-lincler

Query with CURL

If you want to run this same query on the command line, you can use curl. Include the GraphQL endpoint, a header specifying that the Content-Type is application/json, and a data-binary option with the query.

curl 'https://rickandmortyapi.com/graphql' \
  -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
  -d '{"query":"{ characters { results { name } } }"}'
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Query with the Fetch API

The next layer would be making a fetch request.

Create Project

Create a new blank directory with public and src directories containing an index.html and index.js file respectively.

mkdir rick-and-morty-graphql
cd rick-and-morty-graphql
mkdir public src
touch public/index.html src/index.js
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HTML Entrypoint

Enter the following html boilerplate with a script tag for index.js.

<!-- public/index.html -->

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
    <title>How to Query the Rick and Morty GraphQL API</title>
    <script src="../src/index.js" defer></script>
  </head>

  <body>
    <noscript>
      You need to enable JavaScript to run this app.
    </noscript>
    <h1>Fetch API</h1>
    <div id="root"></div>
  </body>
</html>
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Fetch Request

Make a fetch request to https://rickandmortyapi.com/graphql including:

  • A POST request with Content-Type of application/json
  • The characters query we wrote above asking for their name included in the body and stringified
  • The results displayed with console.log()
// src/index.js

fetch('https://rickandmortyapi.com/graphql', {
  method: 'POST',

  headers: {
    "Content-Type": "application/json"
  },

  body: JSON.stringify({
    query: `
      query getCharacters {
        characters {
          results {
            name
          }
        }
      }
    `
  })
})
.then(res => res.json())
.then(data => console.log(data.data))
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Open index.html with a tool like Live Server.

04-data-from-rick-and-morty-api

To actually display the results of the query on the page, change the final .then function to the following:

// src/index.js

.then(data => {
  document.querySelector('#root').innerHTML = `
    <p>${JSON.stringify(data.data.characters.results)}</p>
  `
})
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This doesn't require installing dependencies, or even creating a package.json file. However, there are many GraphQL client libraries which explore a wide range of trade offs. Use cases may include providing concise abstractions for common GraphQL functionality or adding additional features such as caching.

Query with GraphQL Request

graphql-request is a minimal GraphQL client that supports Node and browsers.

Install Dependencies

yarn init -y
yarn add graphql graphql-request react react-dom react-scripts
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Add Scripts and Browsers List

{
  "scripts": {
    "start": "react-scripts start",
    "build": "react-scripts build",
    "test": "react-scripts test",
    "eject": "react-scripts eject"
  },
  "browserslist": {
    "production": [
      ">0.2%",
      "not dead",
      "not op_mini all"
    ],
    "development": [
      "last 1 chrome version",
      "last 1 firefox version",
      "last 1 safari version"
    ]
  }
}
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Initialize GraphQL Request Client

// src/index.js

import React from "react"
import { render } from "react-dom"
import { GraphQLClient, gql } from 'graphql-request'

async function main() {
  const endpoint = 'https://rickandmortyapi.com/graphql'
  const graphQLClient = new GraphQLClient(endpoint)

  const GET_CHARACTERS_QUERY = gql`
    query getCharacters {
      characters {
        results {
          name
        }
      }
    }
  `

  const data = await graphQLClient.request(GET_CHARACTERS_QUERY)
  console.log(JSON.stringify(data, undefined, 2))
}

main()

render(
  <React.StrictMode>
    <h1>graphql-request</h1>
  </React.StrictMode>,
  document.getElementById("root")
)
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Query with Apollo Client

Apollo Client is a caching GraphQL client with integrations for React and other popular frontend libraries/frameworks.

Install Apollo Dependencies

yarn add @apollo/react-hooks apollo-boost
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Initialize Apollo Client

// src/index.js

import React from "react"
import { render } from "react-dom"
import { ApolloProvider } from "@apollo/react-hooks"
import ApolloClient from "apollo-boost"
import gql from "graphql-tag"
import { useQuery } from "@apollo/react-hooks"

export const client = new ApolloClient({
  uri: 'https://rickandmortyapi.com/graphql'
})

export const GET_CHARACTERS_QUERY = gql`
  query getCharacters {
    characters {
      results {
        name
      }
    }
  }
`

function Characters() {
  const { data, loading, error } = useQuery(GET_CHARACTERS_QUERY)

  const characters = data?.characters

  if (loading) return <p>Almost there...</p>
  if (error) return <p>{error.message}</p>

  return (
    <>
      <pre>
        {JSON.stringify(characters, null, "  ")}
      </pre>
    </>
  )
}

render(
  <React.StrictMode>
    <ApolloProvider client={client}>
      <h1>Apollo Client</h1>
      <Characters />
    </ApolloProvider>
  </React.StrictMode>,
  document.getElementById("root")
)
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