GraphQL. State management

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In this talk, I will cover why your switch to GQL and Apollo Client 3 should make you walk away from Redux. I will also talk about my journey from Redux -> Apollo Client and use a few project examples for why it makes sense holistically and the challenges I experienced during that transition. Toward the end of this talk, you will be confident about the pros and cons of each approach.

Ankita Kulkarni
Ankita Kulkarni
22 min
08 Dec, 2022

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Video Summary and Transcription

Today's talk is about GraphQL State Management and the benefits it offers. Redux and Apollo GraphQL are compared for their state management capabilities, with Apollo Client 3 highlighted as a powerful tool that simplifies front-end development. Data transformations and manipulation in Apollo Client, including type policies and reactive variables, are discussed as key features. The talk concludes by emphasizing the advantages of using Apollo Client for state management and providing access to the presentation materials and newsletter for further updates.

Available in Español

1. Introduction to GraphQL State Management

Short description:

Today's talk is about GraphQL State Management. A State Manager is a way to manage application state. It allows us to update and access state easily. A good State Manager normalizes data, transforms it consistently, and allows visualization of global state for easier debugging.

Hello, I'm Ankita Kulkarni and today's talk is about GraphQL State Management. I hope everyone's doing OK and hope everyone's having a lovely day or night, wherever you are.

So, yeah, let's get started. So as I said, I'm Ankita. I've been working in the tech industry for over 10 years now. I am currently working as an educator and creating digital products online, such as ebook and courses and whatnot. I have a Next.js course and an ebook if you want to check that out. And I also just create stuff to help you grow as a developer.

So one quick note, all snippets and slides that I use in this specific presentation are available at this link and here is a barcode for you as well, which is pretty handy.

So let's get started and talk about GraphQL State Management. So first let's take a step back and really understand what standards are we living up to, right? Like what is a State Manager? A State Manager is essentially a way that we can manage our overall application state. So whenever we are making a request to the server, the server is giving us back data and that data may or may not come in the right form as we like and this is why it's important that we use a State Manager to transform that data and access that data the way we like. So we can dispatch specific actions and then the state can change overall, right? And that's what we will take a look at now that we understand a little bit more about State Manager.

So what is a good State Manager? A good State Manager allows us to update the state easily. We can access state easily, right? And there are a bunch of different characteristics of a good State Manager that we can take a look at now. For example, your data is normalized. And what I mean by that is whenever you update data, whenever you try to update one thing, it's only going to update that one thing. Your data is not duplicated everywhere, so you are not going to have a bunch of different card queries, for example, or card data or product data or whatever data that you are using in multiple different places. You only have that one state piece of information and a good State Manager really allows you to do that. Now data transforms easily. So whenever, as I said, if whatever data you're getting back from the server, if we are able to transform that data consistently, then, for example, if you want to show a user's name, right? As simple as that, a full name, we can display that on the homepage, on the login page, and wherever else we want, but we are able to transform it to however we like, right? So we also want our data to transform consistently. You can visualize your global state. So as we all know, debugging is extremely important. So in order to help with debugging, we also need to be able to visualize global state. If we don't have tools to do that, then we won't be able to visualize it. We won't know how our data looks like. So we are kind of shooting in the dark, which is not what we want. And as I mentioned, debugging is a lot easier. So you can debug your applications very easily by adding any sort of console logs or trying to see what is the before and after state. If something were to go wrong, you know exactly what to do and what specific code probably caused it.

2. Introduction to Redux State Management

Short description:

Redux fixed majority of our problems by making state management and debugging easier. It made front-end development easier and data manipulation more straightforward. Although Redux may have a learning curve, it allows for efficient data transformation and manipulation.

So you know the flow of data really well. And as we all know, Redux, which is a very popular state management library, really fixed majority of our problems, right. The Redux came along wherein we were able to manage state debug easily with Redux dev tools really helped us along the way with the specific problem that we were having on the front end. In fact, I would also say that Redux made front-end development a lot easier because suddenly data manipulation was so much easier and straightforward. I would caveat that Redux might not be, if we want to get started with Redux, it's not as easy as we would think, but once you do get the hang of it, you would be able to transform data and basically manipulate your data in general, right, properly.

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