babangsund

RELAY ENVIRONMENT METHODS, PART 2

August 25, 20196 minute read

In my previous post, I revealed a set of Relay Environment methods.

In this post, I will explain how to use some of them in tandem, by walking through an example.
We will re-create the useLocalQuery hook from the react-relay-local-query repository.

If you're unfamiliar with useLocalQuery, it's essentially a small hook that utilizes internal Relay methods to implement local queries, meaning GraphQL requests through Relay without sending a request to the server.


Let's start by defining the function, and its received parameters.

function useLocalQuery({environment, query, variables}) {
  // ...
}

Next up, we'll go ahead and implement useDeepCompare. It implements the functionality of isEqual from lodash or underscore, to check if two values are equal based on the value, and not necessarily the reference.

import areEqual from 'fbjs/lib/areEqual';

function useDeepCompare(value) {
  const latestValue = useRef(value);
  if (!areEqual(latestValue.current, value)) {
    latestValue.current = value;
  }
  return latestValue.current;
}

And then use it to define latestVariables.

Since we're using useDeepCompare, we can be sure the value reference only changes if there's an actual change to the variables, preventing unnecessary updates.

import useDeepCompare from './useDeepCompare';
function useLocalQuery({environment, query, variables}) {
  const latestVariables = useDeepCompare(variables);}

Then, we use the provided query and latestVariables to create an operation. An operation describes a selector, or the "shape" of a given combination of GraphQL operation(think query, mutation) and variables.

import useDeepCompare from './useDeepCompare';
import {getRequest, createOperationDescriptor} from 'relay-runtime';
function useLocalQuery({environment, query, variables}) {
  const latestVariables = useDeepCompare(variables);
  const operation = useMemo(() => {    const request = getRequest(query);    return createOperationDescriptor(request, latestVariables);  }, [query, latestVariables]);}

Next, we define two refs dataRef and cleanupFnRef, along with a stateful hook to force a re-render - call it forceUpdate, although the name is arbitrary.

  • dataRef is meant to hold the latest relay data snapshot, and is stored in a ref in order to prevent rendering twice when data changes because of props. (eg. props change -> update, then data change -> update).
  • cleanupFnRef as the name implies, holds the latest disposer reference.
  • forceUpdate will allow us to trigger a re-render when the Relay subscription returns a new snapsnot.
import useDeepCompare from './useDeepCompare';
import {getRequest, createOperationDescriptor} from 'relay-runtime';

function useLocalQuery({environment, query, variables}) {
  const latestVariables = useDeepCompare(variables);
  const operation = useMemo(() => {
    const request = getRequest(query);
    return createOperationDescriptor(request, latestVariables);
  }, [query, latestVariables]);

  const dataRef = useRef(null);  const [, forceUpdate] = useState(null);  const cleanupFnRef = useRef(null);
  return dataRef.current;}

We use useLayoutEffect in order to call the cleanupFnRef, when the useLocalQuery hook is eventually unmounted from the DOM.

import useDeepCompare from './useDeepCompare';
import {getRequest, createOperationDescriptor} from 'relay-runtime';

function useLocalQuery({environment, query, variables}) {
  const latestVariables = useDeepCompare(variables);
  const operation = useMemo(() => {
    const request = getRequest(query);
    return createOperationDescriptor(request, latestVariables);
  }, [query, latestVariables]);

  const dataRef = useRef(null);
  const [, forceUpdate] = useState(null);
  const cleanupFnRef = useRef(null);

  useLayoutEffect(() => {    const cleanupFn = cleanupFnRef.current;    return () => {      cleanupFn && cleanupFn();    };  }, [snapshot]);
  return dataRef.current;
}

The snapshot is responsible for the majority of the hooks functionality.
It:

  • Acquires data from the store, and assigns it to dataRef.
  • Retains said data in garbage collection.
  • Subscribes to the snapshot, and reacts to updates.
  • Maintains the cleanupFnRef, by disposing and re-assigning on updates.

First up, we declare the snapshot variable. Since we've already covered the cleanupFnRef, let's assign it a cleanup function nextCleanupFn, and make sure to dispose the current one, should it exist.

import useDeepCompare from './useDeepCompare';
import {getRequest, createOperationDescriptor} from 'relay-runtime';

function useLocalQuery({environment, query, variables}) {
  const latestVariables = useDeepCompare(variables);
  const operation = useMemo(() => {
    const request = getRequest(query);
    return createOperationDescriptor(request, latestVariables);
  }, [query, latestVariables]);

  const dataRef = useRef(null);
  const [, forceUpdate] = useState(null);
  const cleanupFnRef = useRef(null);

  const snapshot = useMemo(() => {    let disposed = false;    function nextCleanupFn() {      if (!disposed) {        disposed = true;        cleanupFnRef.current = null;      }    }    if (cleanupFnRef.current) {      cleanupFnRef.current();    }    cleanupFnRef.current = nextCleanupFn;  }, []);
  useLayoutEffect(() => {
    const cleanupFn = cleanupFnRef.current;
    return () => {
      cleanupFn && cleanupFn();
    };
  }, [snapshot]);

  return dataRef.current;
}

Inside snapshot, we use environment.lookup to extract the response object from the Relay store, which contains the data we want to return.

  • operation.fragment is passed as the first argument, which is the selector used by Relay to read and subscribe to the result of a given operation.
  • operation is passed a second argument, as the "owner" of the fragment.

The data is assigned to dataRef.

const snapshot = useMemo(() => {
  const response = environment.lookup(operation.fragment, operation);  dataRef.current = response.data;
  let disposed = false;
  function nextCleanupFn() {
    if (!disposed) {
      disposed = true;
      cleanupFnRef.current = null;
    }
  }
  if (cleanupFnRef.current) {
    cleanupFnRef.current();
  }
  cleanupFnRef.current = nextCleanupFn;

  return response;}, [environment, operation]);

environment.retain if you recall, is used to retain some data during garbage collection. This part is critical, since we do not want data to suddenly go missing while we're using it.

  • operation.root is passed as an argument, which is the selector that points to the data from the response.

The disposable returned by environment.retain is added to the cleanupFn, to make sure data doesn't linger in the store when we're no longer using it.

const snapshot = useMemo(() => {
  const response = environment.lookup(operation.fragment, operation);
  dataRef.current = response.data;

  const retainDisposable = environment.retain(operation.root);
  let disposed = false;
  function nextCleanupFn() {
    if (!disposed) {
      disposed = true;
      cleanupFnRef.current = null;
      retainDisposable.dispose();    }
  }
  if (cleanupFnRef.current) {
    cleanupFnRef.current();
  }
  cleanupFnRef.current = nextCleanupFn;

  return response;
}, [environment, operation]);

We use environment.subscribe to subscribe to the snapshot returned by environment.lookup from earlier. The second parameter is the callback, which is called with a new snapshot when the selector from the previous snapshot receives an update. forceUpdate is then called, in order to re-render the component.

Once again, we're adding the returned disposer function to the cleanup function.

const snapshot = useMemo(() => {
  const response = environment.lookup(operation.fragment, operation);
  dataRef.current = response.data;

  const retainDisposable = environment.retain(operation.root);
  const subscribeDisposable = environment.subscribe(response, newSnapshot => {    dataRef.current = newSnapshot.data;    forceUpdate(dataRef.current);  });
  let disposed = false;
  function nextCleanupFn() {
    if (!disposed) {
      disposed = true;
      cleanupFnRef.current = null;
      retainDisposable.dispose();
      subscribeDisposable.dispose();    }
  }
  if (cleanupFnRef.current) {
    cleanupFnRef.current();
  }
  cleanupFnRef.current = nextCleanupFn;

  return response;
}, [environment, operation]);

And that's all there is to it! Here is what it looks like, once we staple it all back together:

import useDeepCompare from './useDeepCompare';
import {getRequest, createOperationDescriptor} from 'relay-runtime';

function useLocalQuery({environment, query, variables}) {
  const latestVariables = useDeepCompare(variables);
  const operation = useMemo(() => {
    const request = getRequest(query);
    return createOperationDescriptor(request, latestVariables);
  }, [query, latestVariables]);

  const dataRef = useRef(null);
  const [, forceUpdate] = useState(null);
  const cleanupFnRef = useRef(null);

  const snapshot = useMemo(() => {
    const response = environment.lookup(operation.fragment, operation);
    dataRef.current = response.data;

    const retainDisposable = environment.retain(operation.root);
    const subscribeDisposable = environment.subscribe(response, newSnapshot => {
      dataRef.current = newSnapshot.data;
      forceUpdate(dataRef.current);
    });

    let disposed = false;
    function nextCleanupFn() {
      if (!disposed) {
        disposed = true;
        cleanupFnRef.current = null;
        retainDisposable.dispose();
        subscribeDisposable.dispose();
      }
    }
    if (cleanupFnRef.current) {
      cleanupFnRef.current();
    }
    cleanupFnRef.current = nextCleanupFn;

    return response;
  }, [environment, operation]);

  useLayoutEffect(() => {
    const cleanupFn = cleanupFnRef.current;
    return () => {
      cleanupFn && cleanupFn();
    };
  }, [snapshot]);

  return dataRef.current;
}

Next up, go use it to send some local queries!

Keep in mind, that the Relay compiler still requires you to include a server schema field in the query, even though no request is made to the server. Ideally, you would use a schema agnostic field, like an introspection field.