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Konrad Lisiczyński
Konrad Lisiczyński

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Taming network with redux-requests, part 10 - Server side rendering and the future

In the previous part of this series we discussed using redux-requests with external libraries and promises.

In this part we will cover how redux-requests can help you to achieve truly universal code for server side rendering.

What is server side rendering?

Like its name suggests, it is just a way to render you app on the server side. Why would you do that for single page application? There are many reasons, like SEO, improving performance in some cases, static rendering like in Gatsby and probably many others.

Anyway server side rendering is a very complex topic and there are many ways how to go about it. Many people use the strategy around React components, for instance they attach static methods to components which make requests and return promises with responses, then they wrap them in Promise.all. I don't recommend this strategy when using Redux, because this requires additional code and potentially double rendering on server, but if you really want to do it, it is possible as dispatched request actions return promise resolved with response.

However, this guide won't be for introducing server side rendering, it will show alternative strategies for SSR with the help of this library. You don't need to use any of them, but you might want to check them out as they could potentially simplify your SSR apps.


Before we begin, be advised that this strategy requires to dispatch request actions on Redux level, at least those which have to be fired on application load. So for instance you cannot dispatch them inside React componentDidMount or in useEffect. The obvious place to dispatch them is in the place you create store, like store.dispatch(fetchBooks()). However, what if your app has multiple routes, and each route has to send different requests? Well, you need to make Redux aware of current route. I recommend to use a router with first class support for Redux, namely redux-first-router. If you use react-router though, it is fine too, you just need to integrate it with Redux with connected-react-router or
redux-first-history. Then you could listen to route change actions and dispatch proper request actions, for example from middleware, sagas, just whatever you use.

Basic setup

On the server you need to pass ssr: 'server' to handleRequests when running on the server (to resolve/reject requestsPromise in the right time) and ssr: 'client' on the client (not to repeat requests again on the client which we run on the server) option to handleRequests. Here you can see a possible implementation:

import { createStore, applyMiddleware, combineReducers } from 'redux';
import axios from 'axios';
import { handleRequests } from '@redux-requests/core';
import { createDriver } from '@redux-requests/axios';

import { fetchBooks } from './actions';

export const configureStore = (initialState = undefined) => {
  const ssr = !initialState; // if initialState is not passed, it means we run it on server

  const {
  } = handleRequests({
    driver: createDriver(
        baseURL: 'http://localhost:3000',
    ssr: ssr ? 'server' : 'client',

  const reducers = combineReducers({
    requests: requestsReducer,

  const store = createStore(

  return { store, requestsPromise };

// on the server
import React from 'react';
import { renderToString } from 'react-dom/server';
import { Provider } from 'react-redux';

// in an express/another server handler
const { store, requestsPromise } = configureStore();

  .then(() => {
    const html = renderToString(
      <Provider store={store}>
        <App />

    res.render('index', {
      initialState: JSON.stringify(store.getState()),
  .catch(e => {
    console.log('error', e);
    res.status(400).send('something went wrong');
    // you can also render React too, like for 404 error

As you can see, compared to what you would normally do in SSR for redux app, you only need to pass the extra ssr option to handleRequests and wait for requestsPromise to be resolved.

How does it work?

But how does it work? The logic is based on an internal counter. Initially it is set to 0 and is increased by 1 after each request is initialized. Then, after each response it is decreased by 1. So, initially after a first request it gets positive and after all requests are finished, its value is again set back to 0. And this is the moment which means that all requests are finished and requestsPromise is resolved (with all success actions).

In case of any request error, requestsPromise will be rejected with object { errorActions: [], successActions: [] }.

There is also more complex case. Imagine you have a request x, after which you would like to dispatch another y. You cannot do it immediately because y requires some information from x response. Above algorythm would not wait for y to be finished, because on x response counter would be already reset to 0. There are two action.meta attributes to help here:

  • dependentRequestsNumber - a positive integer, a number of requests which will be fired after this one, in above example we would put dependentRequestsNumber: 1 to x action, because only y depends on x
  • isDependentRequest - mark a request as isDependentRequest: true when it depends on another request, in our example we would put isDependentRequest: true to y, because it depends on x

You could even have a more complicated situation, in which you would need to dispatch z after y. Then you would also add dependentRequestsNumber: 1 to y and isDependentRequest: true to z. Yes, a request can have both of those attibutes at the same time! Anyway, how does it work? Easy, just a request with dependentRequestsNumber: 2 would increase counter by 3 on request and decrease by 1 on response, while an action with isDependentRequest: true would increase counter on request by 1 as usual but decrease it on response by 2. So, the counter will be reset to 0 after all requests are finished, also dependent ones.

What's next?

Actually this is the last part of this series, at least for now. If you would like to learn more, I recommend to try redux-requests in real apps, read the official docs, see the official examples.

Anyway, what about the future? Actually having all requests standardized by one convention opens many new ideas to extend this library even more! Some of the ideas I have:

  • more drivers, maybe local driver which could allow using this library for local state too?
  • more effects, like takeLeading
  • declarative persistent cache
  • offline mutations leading to true offline apps
  • subscriptions
  • graphql driver addons, like subscriptions, client directives and generally keeping on par with apollo server features
  • selectors creators like mapQuery, mergeQueries
  • React suspense integration
  • debounce/throthling
  • pooling
  • automatic normalisation garbage collection based on reference
  • getNodeById selectors when using normalisation which would work similarly to graphql fragments

However, this requires a huge amount of work and because I am doing this library in my free-time, I will be grateful for any help!

So, if you like this library and you would like to help, you could:

  • star the repo
  • contribute to the library
  • like this post series, tweet it and so on
  • financially contribute on open collective

For now thanks for keeping up with this series! If you have any questions, go ahead and write some comments, I will happily answer! In the meantime, stay tuned!

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