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Tutorial 03 - Advanced Queries

This is the third exercise in the React Track of this Apollo Client Tutorial!


In this exercise we will have a look at advanced query features with the goal of showing a list of pokemon that our trainer owns:

Upon clicking on a pokemon in this list, we will see a detailed view of that pokemon and can navigate back to the complete pokedex:


Move to the third exercise, install the dependencies and start the pokedex React app from your console

cd pokedex-react/exercise-03
yarn install # or npm install
yarn start # or npm start

Display a list of pokemons with advanced queries

Before we start working directly on our goal to show the pokemons a trainer owns, let's take some time to get more familiar with some of the available options when using queries.

Static Query Variables

One of the available query options are variables. A common use case for query variables is when a query argument depends on some external factor, like a route parameter. Apollo takes care of escaping special characters (for example in JSON values or strings) and leverages the GraphQL type system when specifying variables.

For now we are introducing a static query variable to the TrainerQuery. This is how the query looked like at the end of the last exercise:

const TrainerQuery = gql`
  query TrainerQuery {
    Trainer(name: "__NAME__") {

To introduce a variable for the trainer name, we use the GraphQL notation for query variables. We have to add the $name argument to the query parameters and assign it to the name argument of Trainer:


copy to src/component/Pokedex.js

const TrainerQuery = gql` query TrainerQuery($name: String!) { Trainer(name: $name) { name } } ` Page 1

Note that we have to denote the variable type as well, String! signifying a required String in this case. Of course, now we also have to supply a value for that variable when we use it to wrap the Pokedex component:


copy to src/component/Pokedex.js

const PokedexWithData = graphql(TrainerQuery, { options: { variables: { name: "__NAME__" } } })(Pokedex) Page 1

Nested Queries

Now that we saw query variables in action we can focus on displaying the pokemons of a given trainer. We will use the PokemonPreview component that you can find in src/components/PokemonPreview.js to display the individual pokemons:

import React from 'react'

export default class PokemonPreview extends React.Component {

  static propTypes = {
    pokemon: React.PropTypes.object,

  render () {
    return (
      <div className='dib mw4 tc black link dim ml1 mr1 mb2 bg-white pa2'>
        <div className='db'>
          <img src={this.props.pokemon.url} alt={} />
        <span className='gray'>{}</span>

All it depends on is the pokemon prop, that we have to inject in the Pokedex component. Remember the structure of the Trainer and the Pokemon types:

type Trainer {
  id: String!
  name: String!
  ownedPokemons: [Pokemon]

type Pokemon {
  id: String!
  url: String!
  name: String!
  trainer: Trainer

As we can see, the server stores the owned pokemons of each trainer, exactly the information that we need! We can now add the ownedPokemons field to our TrainerQuery in the Pokedex component. Let's include the id, url and name in the nested selection:


copy to src/component/Pokedex.js

const TrainerQuery = gql` query TrainerQuery($name: String!) { Trainer(name: $name) { id name ownedPokemons { id name url } } } ` Page 1

Once the query has finished, in the Pokedex component contains the ownedPokemons object that gives access to the information we selected. We can now map over the pokemons in ownedPokemons to display them using PokemonPreview components in the render method of Pokedex:


copy to src/component/Pokedex.js

render () { if ( { return (<div>Loading</div>) } if ( { console.log( return (<div>An unexpected error occurred</div>) } return ( <div className='w-100 bg-light-gray min-vh-100'> <Title className='tc pa5'> Hey {}, there are {} Pokemons in your pokedex </Title> <div className='flex flex-wrap justify-center center w-75'> { => <PokemonPreview key={} pokemon={pokemon} /> )} </div> </div> ) } Page 1

Note the use of that displays the correct amount of pokemons.

Dynamic Query Variables

Cool, so now we can see all the pokemons we own in our pokedex. Verify that in your browser by visiting http://localhost:3000. If everything is working, we can now continue to implement a detailed view of a single pokemon when we click on a PokemonPreview component. Have a look at the PokemonCard component in src/components/PokemonCard.js that we prepared for you. It renders a pokemon passed in as a prop from its parent, the PokemonPage component in src/components/PokemonPage.js.

We already created a new route in src/index.js that assigns the PokemonPage to the path view/:pokemonId so we can use the path parameter pokemonId to query a pokemon. You now have to change the render method of PokemonPreview so that it includes the Link component from react-router that redirects to the view/:pokemonId path:


copy to src/component/PokemonPreview.js

render () { return ( <Link to={`/view/${}`} style={{ minWidth: 200 }} className='link dim grow mw4 bg-white ma2 pa3 shadow-1' > <img src={this.props.pokemon.url} alt={} /> <div className='gray tc'>{}</div> </Link> ) } Page 1

The PokemonPage component is responsible to pass down a pokemon to the PokemonCard component. Let's add a PokemonQuery to PokemonPage that is fetching the required pokemon object:


copy to src/component/PokemonPage.js

const PokemonQuery = gql` query PokemonQuery($id: ID!) { Pokemon(id: $id) { id url name } } ` Page 1

As you can see, the query requires a query variable id of type ID that we have to supply using the query option variables as before. However, other than with the trainer name variable, we cannot just use a cannot value as the id in our case. For that reason, we have the possibility to access the props when creating the variables object. So, we can replace:

export default withRouter(PokemonPage)



copy to src/component/PokemonPage.js

const PokemonPageWithQuery = graphql(PokemonQuery, { options: (ownProps) => ({ variables: { id: ownProps.params.pokemonId } }) })(withRouter(PokemonPage)) export default PokemonPageWithQuery Page 1

Now we can replace the placeholder content of the render method in PokemonPage with the PokemonCard component:


copy to src/component/PokemonPage.js

class PokemonPage extends React.Component { static propTypes = { data: React.PropTypes.shape({ loading: React.PropTypes.bool, error: React.PropTypes.object, Pokemon: React.PropTypes.object, }).isRequired, router: React.PropTypes.object.isRequired, params: React.PropTypes.object.isRequired, } render () { if ( { return (<div>Loading</div>) } if ( { console.log( return (<div>An unexpected error occurred</div>) } return ( <div> <PokemonCard pokemon={} handleCancel={this.goBack}/> </div> ) } goBack = () => { this.props.router.replace('/') } } Page 1

Note that we introduced the new required data prop and guarded its usage again with data.loading. If an error occurs, we notify the user.

Open http://localhost:3000 in your browser and you should see a list of pokemons. Click on a pokemon preview to see its detailed view. Click the cancel button to return back to your pokedex.


Nice, our pokedex starts to get some shape! We added both an overview of all our pokemons as well as a detailed view of a single pokemon. Let's go through what we saw in this exercise again:

  • Constants as query variables helped us getting started with advanced query features
  • Using GraphQL, we can easily create nested queries
  • Combining router parameters and dynamic query variables, we were able to supply different data to the same component to quickly control what concent we want to render.
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