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Khushal Bhardwaj
Khushal Bhardwaj

Posted on • Originally published at celeroncoder.github.io

The type-safe guide to tRPC

This isn't the best guide to use tRPC, probably there are better ways to do this, like create-t3-app, the best I could find.

Most of what is here is from the tRPC's documentation, you can refer them, super helpful and easy to read.

What is tRPC?
tRPC is a typescript library, so to say, that makes it easy to create type-safe APIs without schema or any sort of code generation.

Where to use?
Create the typed server and then import its type and use it with an adaptor in the client side.

How does it implement type-safety?
tRPC encourages using the zod, a library for type validation of input and output arguments.

Is tRPC only limited to React?
tRPC's core API is built to work with any client, but right now it supports React and can be used with React Meta Frameworks like NextJS or SolidJS, since it uses React Query under the hood to talk to the server and maintaining type-safety across the data-pipeline or data-flow.

For now, it has first-party adaptors for React, NextJS, Express, Fastify, SolidJS, and some community packages like for tRPC for SveleteKit

What are its features?

  • Lightweight, a tiny bundle size for such a powerful library.
  • Type-safe to the max!
  • Support subscriptions with websockets library.
  • Request batching
    • Request can be made simultaneously and then are batched into one.
  • Strong User base and helpful Community

tRPC x NextJS

Recommended file structure:

.
├── prisma # <-- if prisma is added
│   └── [..]
├── src
│   ├── pages
│   │   ├── _app.tsx # <-- add `withTRPC()`-HOC here
│   │   ├── api
│   │   │   └── trpc
│   │   │       └── [trpc].ts # <-- tRPC HTTP handler
│   │   └── [..]
│   ├── server # <-- can be named backend or anything else
│   │   ├── routers
│   │   │   ├── app.ts   # <-- main app router
│   │   │   ├── post.ts  # <-- sub routers
│   │   │   └── [..]
│   │   ├── context.ts      # <-- create app context
│   │   └── createRouter.ts # <-- router helper
│   └── utils
│       └── trpc.ts  # <-- your typesafe tRPC hooks
└── [..]
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Components

Router

This is the router where the actual business logic will reside, create a backend folder inside the src directory and put all this stuff there.

If using prisma otherwise this is optional,
src/server/utils/prisma.ts

import { PrismaClient } from "@prisma/client";

declare global {
    var prisma: PrismaClient | undefined;
};

export const prisma = global.prisma || new PrismaClient({
    log: ["query"]
});

if (process.env.NODE_ENV != 'production') global.prisma = prisma;
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src/server/router/context.ts

import * as trpc from "@trpc/server";
import * as trpcNext from "@trpc/server/adapters/next";
import { prisma } from "@/server/utils/prisma"; // this is optional

export const createContext = async (
    options?: trpcNext.CreateNextContextOptions
) => {
    const req = options?.req;
    const res = options?.res;

    return {
        req,
        res,
        prisma, // this is optional
    };
};

type Context = trpc.inferAsyncReturnType<typeof createContext>;

export const createRouter = () => trpc.router<Context>();
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Using Contexts

We can create router without using the above context by just using trpc.router() that will work just fine. But if you are using some external API like in the above case we are using prisma, it's better to use pass in repeatedly used instances to context to avoid having multiple ones for every query we use that in, that may affect our performance and can also be vulnerable.

src/server/router/index.ts

import {createRouter} from "./contex";
import {exampleRouter} from "./example.router";

export const appRouter = createRouter()
    .merge("example.", exampleRouter)
    .query("posts.count", {
        async resolve({ctx}) {
            return await ctx.prisma.patient.count();
        }
    });

export type AppRouter = typeof appRouter;
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API handler aka NextJS adaptor:

The exact filename is necessary to make this work!

src/pages/api/trpc/[trpc].ts

import * as trpcNext from "@trpc/server/adapters/next";
import { appRouter, AppRouter } from "@/backend/router";
import { inferProcedureOutput } from "@trpc/server";
import { createContext } from "@/backend/router/context";

// export API handler
export default trpcNext.createNextApiHandler({
  router: appRouter,
  createContext: createContext,
});
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Hooks
These are the React hooks necessary to maintain the type-safety, this will give you React Query like hooks to fetch the API.

src/utils/trpc.ts

import { createReactQueryHooks } from "@trpc/react";
import type { AppRouter } from "@/backend/router";
import { inferProcedureOutput } from "@trpc/server";

export const trpc = createReactQueryHooks<AppRouter>();

export type TQuery = keyof AppRouter["_def"]["queries"];

// helper type to infer query output
export type InferQueryOutput<TRouteKey extends TQuery> = inferProcedureOutput<
  AppRouter["_def"]["queries"][TRouteKey]
>;
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Example query in React Component
Now that tRPC is set up, this is how we use it inside react components.

src/pages/index.tsx

// we use the instance we created that has our router type definitions
import { trpc } from "@/utils/trpc";

export default SomePage() {
    const { isLoading, data:postsCount } = trpc.useQuery(["posts.count"]);
    return <div>...</div>
}
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SSG Helpers

SSG Helpers are helper functions that can be used to pre-fetch queries on the server upon request to reduce loading time.

They are to be used when working with SSR and SSG or ISR.

How to use it with getServideSideProps function of NextJS pages.

// /pages/posts/[id].tsx
export function getServerSideProps(
    context: GetServerSidePropsContext<{id: string}>
) {
    const { id } = context.params;

    const ssg = createSSGHelpers({
        router: appRouter,
        ctx: await createContext(), // { } if no context in your router
        transformer: superjson
    });

    ssg.fetchQuery("posts.get", {id});

    return {
        props: {
            trpcState: ssg.dehydrate(),
            id
        }
    }
}

export default function PostPage(props: InferGetServerSidePropsType<typeof getServerSideProps>) {
    const {id} = props;

    // this query will be fetched instantly because of the cached
    // response of the query we fetching on server
    const {isLoading, data} = trpc.useQuery(["posts.get"], {id})

    return ...
}
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References

  • Check out this amazing talk by Theo on tRPC vs GraphQL and their risks.
  • Check out Theo on YouTube or any other social media platform, he has a lot of content about tRPC
  • Follow Alex aka Katt, the creator of tRPC.

Top comments (4)

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brense profile image
Rense Bakker

Nice article! I must say I'm firmly on the GraphQL train, but it will be interesting to see where tRPC goes from here. I reckon there may be room for both... Any (easy to use) solution that offers typesafety for communication with the backend makes me very happy.

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natescode profile image
Nathan Hedglin

tRPC and GraphQL are opposite. RPC is remote procedure call. You're calling functions directly on the backend. tRPC brings your frontend and backend closer, which has benefits.

GraphQL is ideal if you want 100% agnostic clients that know nothing about the backend.

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celeron profile image
Khushal Bhardwaj Author

You should definitely check out the talk mentioned in the references, Theo talks about things like what are the ramp-up and ramp-off cost of selecting either tRPC or GraphQL. It'll give you a new perspective about both the technologies, and make it easier the next time you decide on what to use!

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brense profile image
Rense Bakker

Nice, yea I'm planning to giving tRPC a try as well, just to keep up to date. I'll definitely check out the talk.

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