Next js + GraphQL + TypeScript Setup

This article will walk you through a simple GraphQL setup for your Next JS app.

This guide is aimed at people already familiar with GraphQL, if you are not I recommend you to go through some tutorials first and see what this is all about. Spoiler alert, GraphQL is awesome.

App Setup

There are a couple ways to do this in this case we will use the create-next-app command.

On your terminal run the following command.

npx create-next-app next-graphql-app

Move to the app folder

cd next-graphql-app

Adding TypeScript

I am a TypeScript freak, I literally can't write normal Javascript anymore. So please bare with me and add TypeScript to your app. Not but seriously, TypeScript is great you should try it. NextJS makes it pretty easy as well.

First, create a file called tsconfig.json

touch tsconfig.json

Install TypeScript and types

npm install --save-dev typescript @types/react @types/node

Change the file extensions inside the pages folder.

_app.js -> _app.tsx
index.js -> index.tsx
hello.js -> hello.ts

Finally, start app

npm run dev

It's Alive!

Adding Apollo GraphQL

So we already have the NextJS + TypeScript part ready, now onto GraphQL. In this guide we will use a library called Apollo Client to handle the data fetching (urql guide coming soon).

First, let's install Apollo Client and GraphQL

npm install @apollo/client graphql

Before we setup our client, we need an API to connect to. We could make our GraphQL backend, but that would be for another blog. For now we will use an existing countries api, give it a star while you are at it.

With the API url let's create the client we will connect to. Inside pages/_app.tsx add the following code.

import { ApolloClient, InMemoryCache } from '@apollo/client';

const client = new ApolloClient({
  uri: 'https://countries-274616.ew.r.appspot.com',
  cache: new InMemoryCache()
});

Now let's connect the client to our app with ApolloProvider.

Your pages/_app.tsx should look like this.

import type { AppProps } from 'next/app';
import { ApolloClient, InMemoryCache } from '@apollo/client';
import { ApolloProvider } from '@apollo/client';

const client = new ApolloClient({
  uri: 'https://countries-274616.ew.r.appspot.com',
  cache: new InMemoryCache(),
});

import '../styles/globals.css';

function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }: AppProps) {
  return (
    <ApolloProvider client={client}>
      <Component {...pageProps} />
    </ApolloProvider>
  );
}

export default MyApp;

So here, we are basically wrapping our app inside an ApolloProvider component that takes the client as a prop.

Fetching Data

Our app is now connected to the countries API but not much is happening. As you can probably already tell, we need to actually fetch the data. Apollo comes with some hooks that will help us with data fetching, in this tutorial we will only use the useQuery hook but feel free to explore all the other hooks Apollo has to offer.

Let's clean up pages/index.tsx from the default stuff that comes with NextJS.

import Head from 'next/head';
import styles from '../styles/Home.module.css';

export default function Home() {
  return (
    <div className={styles.container}>
      <Head>
        <title>Countries GraphQL</title>
        <link rel='icon' href='/favicon.ico' />
      </Head>
      <h1>Countries</h1>
      <div>
        <h3>Countries go here</h3>
      </div>
    </div>
  );
}

Let's also remove the styles we won't be using from styles/Home.module.css.

/* This is all we need */
.container {
  min-height: 100vh;
  padding: 0 0.5rem;
  display: flex;
  flex-direction: column;
  justify-content: center;
  align-items: center;
}

Much better :)

A GraphQL query, what we will use to fetch data, looks like this.

query {
    Country {
    _id
    name
  }
}

Now, we could write the queries in the same file, but I am a fan of having the queries in a separate file. In order to achieve this we need to make some tweaks to let NextJS know how to read the .graphql files.

Inside the root folder create a file called next.config.js and input the following code.

module.exports = {
  webpack: (config) => {
    config.module.rules.push({
      test: /\.(graphql|gql)$/,
      exclude: /node_modules/,
      loader: 'graphql-tag/loader',
    });
    return config;
  },
  webpackDevMiddleware: (config) => {
    return config;
  },
};

This is telling webpack how to load the .graphql files.

Now we need to tell TypeScript about this .graphql file, if we don't it's gonna complain. Inside the root folder create a folder called @types, inside this folder create a file called graphql.d.ts and add the following code.

declare module '*.graphql' {
  import { DocumentNode } from 'graphql';
  const Schema: DocumentNode;

  export = Schema;
}

Ok, that should be it. Now let's create a .graphql file, where we will have our query.

For simplicity we will locate our query file inside the pages folder, but feel free to follow whatever convention you have. So, like I said before, inside the pages folder create a file called CountriesQuery.graphql with the following code.

query {
  countries: Country {
    _id
    name
  }
}

Now let's call the query inside pages/index.tsx using the useQuery hook.

import Head from 'next/head';
import { useQuery } from '@apollo/client';

import QUERY_COUNTRIES from './queryCountries.graphql';

import styles from '../styles/Home.module.css';

export default function Home() {
  const { data, loading, error } = useQuery(QUERY_COUNTRIES);
  // make sure all data is loaded
  if (loading) {
    return <p>loading...</p>;
  }

  // check for errors
  if (error) {
    return <p>:( an error happened</p>;
  }

  // if all good return data
  return (
    <div className={styles.container}>
      <Head>
        <title>Countries GraphQL</title>
        <link rel='icon' href='/favicon.ico' />
      </Head>
      <h1>Countries</h1>
      <div>
        {data.countries.map((country) => (
          <div key={country._id}>{country.name}</div>
        ))}
      </div>
    </div>
  );
}

You should see something like this:

Not very stylish, but the data is there and we are done with our setup.

You can check the source code here.

Challenge

Now that we have the data, I challenge you to style the app and tweet me the result at @ivanms1. Remember that you can add more fields to the query, for example flag, capital and official languages.

query {
    Country {
    _id
    name
    flag{
      _id
      svgFile
    }
    capital
    officialLanguages {
      _id
      name
    }
  }
}

Check the playground to see all the fields available.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, if you did please like, comment and share so I can keep making more.

Rohil's photo

Congrats on your first post. Ivan. :D 🎉🎉🎉🎉

Sabin Adams's photo

Good stuff, super easy to follow. Thanks 😁