A lighter alternative to Redux: React Query

Exploring React Query’s power to replace boilerplate with only a handful of code when handling async actions

https://react-query.tanstack.com/

What is React Query

Often referred to as React’s missing data-fetching library, React Query handles fetching, caching, synchronizing and updating server state in a relatively simple manner with just a few lines of code.

Developers can handle managing state in a variety of ways, including the use of React hooks like useState or useEffect, or employing state management libraries like Redux, the popular client state library, to store and provide asynchronous data throughout an application.

State management libraries work well with client state, however they lack efficiency and expose problems when dealing with async / server state. React Query’s docs explore the quality and characteristics of server state:

Is persisted remotely in a location you do not control or own

Requires asynchronous APIs for fetching and updating

Implies shared ownership and can be changed by other people without your knowledge

Can potentially become “out of date” in your applications if you’re not careful

TL;DR: Server state deals with any fetching or modifying data in the database, while client state does not.

How can it replace Redux?

Instead of using Redux to store data you get and modify from the server (i.e. fetch requests), React Query replaces the boilerplate code with just a few lines of React Query logic.

a query is a declarative dependency on an asynchronous source of data that is tied to a unique key.

  • used forGET and POST methods, to retrieve data
  • React Query provides the useQuery hook that takes a unique key and a function that returns a promise
  • after storing data in cache with useQuery, you can access that data at any point with useQuery, which takes the unique key as an argument: const data = useQuery(‘unique key’)

mutations are typically used to create/update/delete data or perform server side-effects

  • used for PATCH/PUT and DELETE methods, to modify data
  • React Query provides the useMutation hook

Often with Redux, we are fetching data from the server, and then updating our application state. React Query allows us to skip the step of updating state through it provided hooks, so we can re-fetch data easily.

With React Query, we can remove Action Creators, Middlewares, Reducers, and Loading/Error/Result states, using only a few lines of React Query logic, ultimately making an application more maintainable and easier to build new features.

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