Core

The @urql/core package contains urql's Client, some common utilities, and some default Exchanges. These are the shared, default parts of urql that we will be using no matter which framework we're interacting with.

All framework bindings — meaning urql, @urql/preact, @urql/svelte, and @urql/vue — reexport all exports of our @urql/core core library. This means that if we want to use urql's Client imperatively or with Node.js we'd use @urql/core's utilities or the Client directly.

In other words, if we're using framework bindings then writing import { Client } from "@urql/vue" for instance is the same as import { Client } from "@urql/core". This means that we can use the core utilities and exports that are shared between all bindings directly or install @urql/core separately. We can even use @urql/core directly without any framework bindings.

Installation

As we said above, if we are using bindings then those will already have installed @urql/core as they depend on it. They also all re-export all exports from @urql/core, so we can use those regardless of which bindings we've installed. However, it's also possible to explicitly install @urql/core or use it standalone, e.g. in a Node.js environment.

yarn add @urql/core graphql
# or
npm install --save @urql/core graphql

Since all bindings and all exchanges depend on @urql/core, we may sometimes run into problems where the package manager installs two versions of @urql/core, which is a duplication problem. This can cause type errors in TypeScript or cause some parts of our application to bundle two different versions of the package or use slightly different utilities. We can fix this by deduplicating our dependencies.

npx yarn-deduplicate && yarn
# or
npm dedupe

GraphQL Tags

A notable utility function is the gql tagged template literal function, which is a drop-in replacement for graphql-tag, if you're coming from other GraphQL clients.

Wherever urql accepts a query document, we can either pass a string or a DocumentNode. gql is a utility that allows a DocumentNode to be created directly, and others to be interpolated into it, which is useful for fragments for instance. This function will often also mark GraphQL documents for syntax highlighting in most code editors.

In most examples we may have passed a string to define a query document, like so:

const TodosQuery = `
query {
todos {
id
title
}
}
`;

We may also use the gql tag function to create a DocumentNode directly:

import { gql } from '@urql/core';
const TodosQuery = gql`
query {
todos {
id
title
}
}
`;

Since all framework bindings also re-export @urql/core, we may also import gql from 'urql', '@urql/svelte' and other bindings directly.

We can also start interpolating other documents into the tag function. This is useful to compose fragment documents into a larger query, since it's common to define fragments across components of an app to spread out data dependencies. If we accidentally use a duplicate fragment name in a document, gql will log a warning, since GraphQL APIs won't accept duplicate names.

import { gql } from '@urql/core';
const TodoFragment = gql`
fragment SmallTodo on Todo {
id
title
}
`;
const TodosQuery = gql`
query {
todos {
...TodoFragment
}
}
${TodoFragment}
`;

This usage will look familiar when coming from the graphql-tag package. The gql API is identical, and its output is approximately the same. The two packages are also intercompatible. However, one small change in @urql/core's implementation is that your fragment names don't have to be globally unique, since it's possible to create some one-off fragments occasionally, especially for @urql/exchange-graphcache's configuration. It also pre-generates a "hash key" for the DocumentNode which is what urql does anyway, thus avoiding some extra work compared to when the graphql-tag package is used with urql.

Using the urql Client

The Client is the main "hub" and store for everything that urql does. It is used by all framework bindings and from the other pages in the "Basics" section we can see that creating a Client comes up across all bindings and use-cases for urql.

Read more about the Client and urql's architecture on the "Architecture" page.

Setting up the Client

The @urql/core package exports a function called createClient which we can use to create the GraphQL client. This central Client manages all of our GraphQL requests and results.

import { createClient } from 'urql';
const client = createClient({
url: 'http://localhost:3000/graphql',
});

At the bare minimum we'll need to pass an API's url when we create a Client to get started.

Another common option is fetchOptions. This option allows us to customize the options that will be passed to fetch when a request is sent to the given API url. We may pass in an options object, or a function returning an options object.

In the following example we'll add a token to each fetch request that our Client sends to our GraphQL API.

const client = createClient({
url: 'http://localhost:3000/graphql',
fetchOptions: () => {
const token = getToken();
return {
headers: { authorization: token ? `Bearer ${token}` : '' },
};
},
});

The Clients options

As we've seen above, the most important option for the Client is url, since it won't work without it. However, another important option on the Client is the exchanges option.

This option passes a list of exchanges to the Client, which tell it how to execute our requests and how to cache data in a certain order. By default, this will be populated with the list of defaultExchanges.

import { createClient, defaultExchanges } from 'urql';
const client = createClient({
url: 'http://localhost:3000/graphql',
// the default:
exchanges: defaultExchanges,
// the same as:
exchanges: [dedupExchange, cacheExchange, fetchExchange]
});

Later, in the "Advanced" section we'll see many more features that urql supports by adding new exchanges to this list. On the "Architecture" page we'll also learn more about what exchanges are and why they exist.

For now, it's enough for us to know that our requests are executed using the logic in the exchanges in order. First, the dedupExchange deduplicates requests if we send the same queries twice, the cacheExchange implements the default "document caching" behaviour (as we'll learn about on the "Document Caching" page), and lastly the fetchExchange is responsible for sending our requests to our GraphQL API.

One-off Queries and Mutations

When you're using urql to send one-off queries or mutations — rather than in full framework code, where updates are important — it's common to convert the streams that we get to promises. The client.query and client.mutation methods have a shortcut to do just that.

const QUERY = `
query Test($id: ID!) {
getUser(id: $id) {
id
name
}
}
`;
client
.query(QUERY, { id: 'test' })
.toPromise()
.then(result => {
console.log(result); // { data: ... }
});

In the above example we're executing a query on the client, are passing some variables and are calling the toPromise() method on the return value to execute the request immediately and get the result as a promise. This may be useful when we don't plan on cancelling queries, or we don't care about future updates to this data and are just looking to query a result once.

The same can be done for mutations by calling the client.mutation method instead of the client.query method.

Similarly there's a way to read data from the cache synchronously, provided that the cache has received a result for a given query before. The Client has a readQuery method, which is a shortcut for just that.

const QUERY = `
query Test($id: ID!) {
getUser(id: $id) {
id
name
}
}
`;
const result = client.readQuery(QUERY, { id: 'test' });
result; // null or { data: ... }

In the above example we call readQuery and receive a result immediately. This result will be null if the cacheExchange doesn't have any results cached for the given query.

Subscribing to Results

GraphQL Clients are by their nature "reactive", meaning that when we execute a query, we expect to get future results for this query. On the "Document Caching" page we'll learn how mutations can invalidate results in the cache. This process (and others just like it) can cause our query to be refetched.

In essence, if we're subscribing to results rather than using a promise, like we've seen above, then we're able to see future changes for our query's results. If a mutation causes a query to be refetched from our API in the background then we'll see a new result. If we execute a query somewhere else then we'll get notified of the new API result as well, as long as we're subscribed.

import { pipe, subscribe } from 'wonka';
const QUERY = `
query Test($id: ID!) {
getUser(id: $id) {
id
name
}
}
`;
const { unsubscribe } = pipe(
client.query(QUERY, { id: 'test' }),
subscribe(result => {
console.log(result); // { data: ... }
})
);

This code example is similar to the one before. However, instead of sending a one-off query, we're subscribing to the query. Internally, this causes the Client to do the same, but the subscription means that our callback may be called repeatedly. We may get future results as well as the first one.

This also works synchronously. As we've seen before client.readQuery can give us a result immediately if our cache already has a result for the given query. The same principle applies here! Our callback will be called synchronously if the cache already has a result.

Once we're not interested in any results anymore, we need to clean up after ourselves by calling unsubscribe. This stops the subscription and makes sure that the Client doesn't actively update the query anymore or refetches it. We can think of this pattern as being very similar to events or event hubs.

We're using the Wonka library for our streams, which we'll learn more about on the "Architecture" page. But we can think of this as React's effects being called over time, or as window.addEventListener.

Common Utilities in Core

The @urql/core package contains other utilities that are shared between multiple addon packages. This is a short but non-exhaustive list. It contains,

  • CombinedError - our abstraction to combine one or more GraphQLError(s) and a NetworkError
  • makeResult and makeErrorResult - utilities to create Operation Results
  • createRequest - a utility function to create a request from a query, and some variables (which generate a stable Operation Key)

There are other utilities not mentioned here. Read more about the @urql/core API in the API docs.

Reading on

This concludes the introduction for using @urql/core without any framework bindings. This showed just a couple of ways to use gql or the Client, however you may also want to learn more about how to use urql's streams. Furthermore, apart from the framework binding introductions, there are some other pages that provide more information on how to get fully set up with urql: