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Tutorial 04 - Fragments

Welcome to the 4th exercise in the React Track of this Apollo Client Tutorial!


The goal of this exercise is to add some information to the pokemon detail view about the pokemon's trainer:

We will use fragments and learn how they can be used to define data requirements that are co-located with the component requiring that data.


Change to the 4th exercise, install the dependencies and run the pokedex React app from your console

cd pokedex-react/exercise-04
yarn install # or npm install
yarn start # or npm start

Adding information to the pokemon page

Before we add additional content to our components, let's take a step back. Right now, PokemonPage defines a PokemonQuery that fetches the pokemon needed to render the PokemonCard component. This results in a few disadvantages when we want to make changes later:

  • if the data requirements of the PokemonCard component change, we have to go back to the PokemonPage and add additional fields to the PokemonQuery
  • if we want to include PokemonCard in a another component, we will have to duplicate the PokemonQuery, resulting in possible errors when we have to change the query later and forget to update all places it's defined

Therefore it would be great to let the PokemonCard component handle the declaration of its own data requirements. Then we could refer to this in the PokemonPage component to make sure that we included all required data in the PokemonQuery. This is exactly the way fragments work.

Defining a pokemon fragment in PokemonCard

To help you get started using fragments, we implemented them already in PokemonCard. There, we make use of the package graphql-anywhere to define the PokemonCardPokemon fragment in src/components/PokemonCard.js just before defining the propTypes:

export default class PokemonCard extends React.Component {

  static fragments = {
    pokemon: gql`
      fragment PokemonCardPokemon on Pokemon {
  // ...

The fragment is called PokemonCardPokemon, because it is defined on the PokemonCard component and is a fragment for a Pokemon. Using this naming convention consistently can be helpful when using the fragment elsewhere.

We also replaced the pokemon prop declaration in the propTypes object by using the new fragment and the propType function from graphql-anywhere:

static propTypes = {
  pokemon: propType(PokemonCard.fragments.pokemon).isRequired,
  handleCancel: React.PropTypes.func.isRequired,

If the incoming pokemon prop is missing or doesn't have a field that is included in the fragment, we will see a warning when using the component.

Using the PokemonCardPokemon fragment in PokemonPage

We updated our PokemonQuery with the new PokemonCardPokemon fragment:

const PokemonQuery = gql`
  query PokemonQuery($id: ID!) {
    Pokemon(id: $id) {
      ... PokemonCardPokemon

Note that we select the fragment in the query using the ... syntax, and that we additionally include the fragment after the query with ${PokemonCard.fragments.pokemon}.

We can see that the PokemonPage component doesn't need to know anything about the PokemonCardPokemon fragment, other than the fact that it is a fragment on the Pokemon type.

Defining a pokemon fragment in PokemonCardHeader

Now it's your turn to use fragments! You should follow the same steps to define a PokemonCardHeaderPokemon fragment in the PokemonCardHeader component that you can find in src/components/PokemonCardHeader.js. First, you have to import propType from graphql-anywhere


copy to src/component/PokemonCardHeader.js

import { propType } from 'graphql-anywhere' Page 1

and define the new fragment just before propTypes are defined:


copy to src/component/PokemonCardHeader.js

export default class PokemonCardHeader extends React.Component { static fragments = { pokemon: gql` fragment PokemonCardHeaderPokemon on Pokemon { name trainer { name } } ` } // ... } Page 1

Note that this fragment includes different fields than the other fragment we saw before. That's because the PokemonCardHeader component needs different information of the pokemon object than the PokemonCard component. As we did before, use the fragment now to define the pokemon propType:


copy to src/component/PokemonCardHeader.js

static propTypes = { pokemon: propType(PokemonCardHeader.fragments.pokemon).isRequired, } Page 1

Combining multiple fragments in PokemonPage

Now we can include the PokemonCardHeader component just above the PokemonCard component in the render method of the PokemonPage component:


copy to src/component/PokemonPage.js

render () { if ( { return (<div>Loading</div>) } if ( { console.log( return (<div>An unexpected error occurred</div>) } const pokemon = return ( <div> <PokemonCardHeader pokemon={pokemon} /> <PokemonCard pokemon={pokemon} handleCancel={this.goBack}/> </div> ) } Page 1

Again, we have to also use the PokemonCardHeaderPokemon fragment in the PokemonQuery:


copy to src/component/PokemonPage.js

const PokemonQuery = gql` query PokemonQuery($id: ID!) { Pokemon(id: $id) { ... PokemonCardPokemon ... PokemonCardHeaderPokemon } } ${PokemonCardHeader.fragments.pokemon} ${PokemonCard.fragments.pokemon} ` Page 1

Note that there are fields that are included either in both fragments (like name) or only in one of them (like url or trainer). Combining fragments like this merges the fields, so name will be included only once in the query, for example.

Filtering objects with fragments

As stated above, both introduced fragments include fields that the other one doesn't include. Right now we are passing the same pokemon object to both PokemonCard and PokemonCardHeader.

A nice thing we can add is the filtering of the pokemon object when passing it as a prop by using the filter method of the fragments. First, we need to include the filter method from graphql-anywhere in src/components/PokemonPage.js:


copy to src/component/PokemonPage.js

import { filter } from 'graphql-anywhere' Page 1

Then we can use it when passing the pokemon as a prop:


copy to src/component/PokemonPage.js

const pokemon = return ( <div> <PokemonCardHeader pokemon={filter(PokemonCardHeader.fragments.pokemon, pokemon)} /> <PokemonCard pokemon={filter(PokemonCard.fragments.pokemon, pokemon)} handleCancel={this.goBack}/> </div> ) Page 1

This will make sure that only the required fields of the pokemon object get passed to PokemonCard and PokemonCardHeader, respectively. If we need additional fields later, for example in PokemonCard, we just have to add them in the fragment defined in PokemonCard.

Check if you got everthing right by opening http://localhost:3000 in your browser and going to the detailed view of a pokemon. It should have a new message about the pokemon and its trainer at the top of the page.


Congratulations, you increased the modularity of your components by introducing fragments. We learned a lot about fragments in GraphQL, let's do a quick recap:

  • Co-located fragments help to decouple the declaration of data requirements
  • Using multiple fragments in a parent component is easy and merges the selected fields of the different child components
  • The fragments of the child components can be used to filter passed props to only include the required fields of the respective child component
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