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Adding Pagination to React Apps with Fauna

Adding Pagination to React Apps with Fauna

Pagination is one way of handling large datasets in frontend applications. Pagination works even better when the number of datasets is defined or known. With Pagination, you only load pieces of the data based on a user’s interaction with the paginated data, often this process is used to display search results.
In this article, we will be looking at how to add pagination to React applications with Fauna.

Prerequisites

To better understand this post, you’d need the following

  • Node.js installed on your local machine, you can learn how to install Node.js here.
  • create-react-app CLI package, you can also use the npx package to create a new react application.
  • A knowledge of JavaScript and React is necessary too

Getting Started

To get started on this, first we need to create an account with Fauna if you haven’t, you can do that here. Next, create a React app using the create-react-app CLI and give your project a name. Let’s do that below

npx create-react-app fauna-pagination

The above command will create a new React application, navigate into your app and start your development server using the command below

cd fauna-pagination && yarn start

Inside your project src file, create a new file called schema.gql, this file will contain all our schemas for our project to be uploaded to Fauna. Inside the schema.gql file, let’s add the code block below


type Teacher {
name: String
students: [student] @relation
}
type Student {
name: String
tests: [Test] @relation
}
type Test {
name: String
student: Student!
teacher: Teacher!
}
type Query {
teachers: [Teacher]
tests: [Test]
}

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We have added 3 models here, Teacher, Student and Test. Each test is assigned to a student and overseen by a teacher, students take tests that are later linked to them.

Next, go the GraphQL tab on your Fauna dashboard and import the Schema.gql file

When you;re done uploading the schema, we will notice that Fauna adds 3 notable queries for us, findTeachertByID, findStudentByID and findTestByID. Next, navigate to the Security tab of your dashboard and create a key, make sure to save your access keys somewhere safe and install faunadb on your project directory using the command below:

yarn add faunadb

Adding Queries for Pagination

In our application, we have 3 default queries that alllow us to get data from a single document in our Fauna database and two queries to get the Tests.
However, here we will try to get a particular test from a project given to the student, to do this we will need to fetch the particular test or use the test field to get all tests associated with the student.


query TestByStudent {
findTestByID(id:<test_id>) {
student: {
data: {...}
}
}
}

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The code above will fetch all tests associated with a teacher and a student, to complete it we will add a new query with a custom resolver, to do this we will add the next line of code to our schema.gpl file.


type Query {
...
getTestsByStudent(id: ID): [Student] @resolver(name: "tests_by_student", paginated: true)
}

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By using @resolver directive we specify that we want to use our resolver for this query. We pass the name of the Function that will be handling the request. paginated: true flag makes sure our new query behaves the same as the default ones. It paginates the data instead sending it all at once.

After updating the schema, new Function tests_by_student appears in the "Functions" tab. When you try to use the new query right now, you’ll receive an error: “Function X not implemented yet…”. So, let’s do it.

We’ll need to check if we have any Index that can handle such a query. We want to get all Tests matching the given Project ID. If you go to the Indexes tab, you'll see there is an already created Index with the name project_tests_by_student. It does exactly what we need.

Now, we need to add some code to the tests_by_project Function. We would need to do basically two things, look for the Tests with given ProjectID and handle the pagination. Let's start with the first part.


Query(
Lambda(
["projectID"],
Let({ project: Ref(Collection("Project"), Var("projectID")), match: Match(Index("project_tests_by_project"), Var("project")), data: Paginate(Var("match"))},
Map(Var("data"), Lambda("ref", Get(Var("ref")))))))

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First argument the Lambda takes is the ProjectID our query looks for. Next, using Let() function, we define some of the variables that will clarify what the Lambda does step-by-step.
Under projectID we have stored a string representing the ID of the project. To filter by actual document, we’d need a Ref to the document, hence creating one under "student" variable.
What is under match variable looks for all documents satisfying the query and finally the "data" variable stores the documents. We need to use the Paginate function to "extract" the documents from the Set returned by Match(). In the next step, iterate over each document found and get its data.
The pagination. After adding the paginated flag to the resolver Lambda receives 3 additional arguments:

  • size - specifies the number of documents returned in the single query
  • after / before - indicates where the query should start (both are returned with each query, so we can use "after' from last query, to get next set of data).

We can now pass them to the Paginate() function. The idea is to use each of those argument if it store any value, or skip if it does not:


Query(
      Lambda(
 ["projectID", "size", "after", "before"],
        Let(
          {
            ...
            data: If(
              And(IsNull(Var("after")), IsNull(Var("before"))),
              Paginate(Var("match"), { size: Var("size") }),
              If(
                IsNull(Var("before")),
                Paginate(Var("match"), { after: Var("after"), size: Var("size") }),
                Paginate(Var("match"), { before: Var("before"), size: Var("size") })
              )
            )
          },
          ...
        )
      )
    )

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Chapter 3: Displaying the data

To display the data we'll be using the react-table library. We would like to use the pagination query to get only the number of documents to be displayed on one page. To perform the API calls to fauna graphql endpoint, I'll use a react-query library with graphql-request.
Let's start with the basic configuration of those two and create "All Projects" page.


/ AllProjects.js

    import React, { useContext } from "react";
    import { useQuery } from "react-query";
    import { gql } from "graphql-request";
    import Table from "./Table";
    import { GraphqlClientContext } from "./App";

    export default function AllProjects() {
      const { data, isLoading } = useProjects();

      if (isLoading) {
        return <span>Loading...</span>;
      }

      return <Table columns={columns} data={data} />;
    }

    function useProjects() {
      const graphqlClient = useContext(GraphqlClientContext);
      return useQuery("projects", async () => {
        const {
          projects: { data },
        } = await graphqlClient.request(
          gql`
            query {
              projects {
                data {
                  _id
                  name
                }
              }
            }
          `
        );
        return projects;
      });
    }

    const columns = [
      {
        Header: "ID",
        accessor: "_id",
      },
      {
        Header: "Name",
        accessor: "name",
      },
    ];


    // Table.js

    import { useTable } from "react-table";
    import "./Table.scss";

    export default function Table({ columns, data }) {
      const {
        getTableProps,
        getTableBodyProps,
        headerGroups,
        rows,
        prepareRow,
      } = useTable({
        columns,
        data,
      });
      return (
        <table {...getTableProps()}>
          <thead>
            {headerGroups.map((headerGroup) => (
              <tr {...headerGroup.getHeaderGroupProps()}>
                {headerGroup.headers.map((column) => (
                  <th {...column.getHeaderProps()}>{column.render("Header")}</th>
                ))}
              </tr>
            ))}
          </thead>
          <tbody {...getTableBodyProps()}>
            {rows.map((row, i) => {
              prepareRow(row);
              return (
                <tr {...row.getRowProps()}>
                  {row.cells.map((cell) => {
                    return <td {...cell.getCellProps()}>{cell.render("Cell")}</td>;
                  })}
                </tr>
              );
            })}
          </tbody>
        </table>
      );
    }


    // App.js

    import React from "react";
    import { BrowserRouter as Router, Switch, Route } from "react-router-dom";
    import { QueryClient, QueryClientProvider } from "react-query";
    import { GraphQLClient } from "graphql-request";
    import AllProjects from "./AllProjects";

    const queryClient = new QueryClient();
    const graphQLClient = new GraphQLClient(`https://graphql.fauna.com/graphql`, {
      headers: {
        authorization: "Bearer <fauna_secret>",
      },
    });

    export const GraphqlClientContext = React.createContext();

    function Main() {
      return (
        <Router>
            <Switch>
              <Route path="/projects">
                <AllProjects />
              </Route>
            </Switch>
        </Router>
      );
    }

    function App() {
      return (
        <GraphqlClientContext.Provider value={graphQLClient}>
          <QueryClientProvider client={queryClient}>
            <Main />
          </QueryClientProvider>
        </GraphqlClientContext.Provider>
      );
    }

export default App;

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That’s the basic setup we are going to begin with. You can find full repository here. Current setup doesn't handle pagination at all, it displays only the first page of data. It's ok for some cases. (for example If I'll be sure I'll have only a few Projects available).
But in our case, I'll have a lot of Tests so I'd definitely want to use the benefits of server side pagination.

  • I'd like to be able to go back and forth with the data
  • I'd like to be able to change number of documents displayed per page

Let's start with extending the Table component with pagination controls. We would be handling pagination by sending paginated request, hence we use useTable with the manualPagination option.


 // Table.js

    import React from "react";
    import { useTable, usePagination } from "react-table";
    import "./Table.scss";

    const pageSizeVariants = [50, 75, 100];

    export default function Table({
      columns,
      data,
      fetchData,
      loading,
      initialPageSize,
      pageCount: controlledPageCount,
    }) {
      const {
        getTableProps,
        getTableBodyProps,
        headerGroups,
        prepareRow,
        page,
        canPreviousPage,
        canNextPage,
        nextPage,
        previousPage,
        setPageSize,
        // Get the state from the instance
        state: { pageIndex, pageSize },
      } = useTable(
        {
          columns,
          data,
          initialState: { pageIndex: 0, pageSize: initialPageSize },
          // We will be handling pagination by sending paginated request, 
          // not default client side, hence the manualPagination option
          manualPagination: true,
          pageCount: controlledPageCount,
        },
        usePagination
      );

      function changeSize(e) {
        setPageSize(Number(e.target.value));
      }

      React.useEffect(() => {
        fetchData({ pageIndex, pageSize });
      }, [fetchData, pageIndex, pageSize]);

      return (
        <>
          <table {...getTableProps()}>
            <thead>{headerGroups.map(renderHeaderGroup)}</thead>
            <tbody {...getTableBodyProps()}>
              {page.map(renderPage(prepareRow))}
            </tbody>
          </table>
          <div>
            <button onClick={previousPage} disabled={!canPreviousPage}>
              {"<"}
            </button>{" "}
            <button onClick={nextPage} disabled={!canNextPage}>
              {">"}
            </button>{" "}
            <select value={pageSize} onChange={changeSize}>
              {pageSizeVariants.map(renderOption)}
            </select>
          </div>
        </>
      );
    }

    function renderHeaderGroup(headerGroup) {
      return (
        <tr {...headerGroup.getHeaderGroupProps()}>
          {headerGroup.headers.map((column) => (
            <th {...column.getHeaderProps()}>{column.render("Header")}</th>
          ))}
        </tr>
      );
    }

    function renderPage(prepareRow) {
      return function (row, i) {
        prepareRow(row);
        return (
          <tr {...row.getRowProps()}>
            {row.cells.map((cell) => {
              return <td {...cell.getCellProps()}>{cell.render("Cell")}</td>;
            })}
          </tr>
        );
      };
    }

    function renderOption(val) {
      return (
        <option key={val} value={val}>
          Show {val}
        </option>
      );
    }

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We will require few additional props to pass to Table component:

  • fetchData - function that calls API to get data on every page/size change
  • initialPageSize - sets number of documents to display on first render
  • pageCount - initially, it indicates how many pages of data are available, we will not be able to get that information but we have to use it to control whether there is more data to display or not. react-table blocks pagination if current number of pages are the same as the pages count. We will increase the pageCount by one if there is more data, or keep the same if not.

Our component should properly react to the page and size change, and make a new request if any of those changed.
Let’s start with the query. We will be using the getTestsByProject. We need to define some query variables.


query($id: ID, $size: Int, $cursor: String) {
        getTestsByProject(id: $id, _size: $size, _cursor: $cursor) {
          data {
            id: _id
            name
            student {
              id: _id
            }
          }
          after
          before
        }
      }
    }

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  • size param to set number of documents to return in one query;
  • cursor param to indicate whether we want next set of data or previous one
  • after and before we will be passing one of them as a cursor param, to get next (after) or previous (before) documents.

As you can see there is no page param, so we cannot "tell" - give me documents from page 3. We can only operate in next/before manner. It adds additional complexity to our fetch*() method, but we’ll handle that..
That's the theory, let's write some code.
First I'll create a new hook - useTests()


 // useTests

    function useTests(projectID) {
        // react-table will send us the page index if user go back or next
      const [page, setPage] = React.useState({ index: 0, cursor: null, size: 25 });

      // we'll be using the GraphlClient to send requests
      const graphqlClient = useContext(GraphqlClientContext);
      const query = useQuery(
        [key, page.size, page.cursor, projectID],
        fetchProjects(graphqlClient)({ size: page.size, cursor: page.cursor, id: projectID })
      );

      return query
    }

    const fetchProjects = (client) => (variables) => async () => {
      const { tests } = await client.request(
        gql`
          query($id: ID, $size: Int, $cursor: String) {
            tests: getTestsByProject(id: $id, _size: $size, _cursor: $cursor) {
              data {
                id: _id
                name
                student {
                  name
                }
              }
              after
              before
            }
          }
        `,
        variables
      );
      return tests;
    };

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useQuery hook will fire each time the page state changes.
And after adding some of the methods that will be used handle the pagination:


 // useTests.js

    // useTests.js
    function useTests(projectID) {
      ...

      // under query.data we have all the results from `tests` query
      // query.data -> { data, after, before }
        const tests = query.data?.data || [];
      const nextPageCursor = query.data?.after;
      const prevPageCursor = query.data?.before;
      const canNextPage = !!nextPageCursor;

      function nextPage() {
        if (!nextPageCursor) return;
        setPage((page) => ({
          ...page,
          index: page.index + 1,
          cursor: nextPageCursor,
        }));
      }

      const prevPageCursor = data?.before;
      function prevPage() {
        if (!prevPageCursor) return;
        setPage((page) => ({
          ...page,
          index: page.index - 1,
          cursor: prevPageCursor,
        }));
      }

      function changeSize(size) {
        if (size === page.size) return;
        setPage((page) => ({ index: page.index, cursor: null, size }));
      }

      function updateData({ pageIndex, pageSize }) {
        if (pageSize !== page.size) changeSize(pageSize);
        else if (pageIndex === page.index) return;
        else if (pageIndex > page.index) nextPage();
        else prevPage();
      }

      const canNextPage = !!nextPageCursor;

      return {
        ...query,
        data: tests,
        size: page.size,
        updateData,

        // page + 1 gives actual number of pages (page is an index started from 0)
        // Number(canNextPage) increase the pageCount by 1 if canNextPage == true
        pageCount: page.index + 1 + Number(canNextPage),
      };
    }

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If the user decides to go next - we want to fire the nextPage() method, if back prevPage() if only change size then changeSize() method. This logic lives inside the updateData() which will be fired after any page/size change.
Use new methods in Project component:


// Project.js

    ...
    import { useParams } from "react-router-dom";

    export default function Project() {
      const { id } = useParams();
      const { data, isLoading, pageCount, size, updateData } = useTests(id);

      if (isLoading) {
        return <span>Loading...</span>;
      }

      return (
        <Table
          columns={columns}
          data={data}
          fetchData={updateData}
          pageCount={pageCount}
          initialPageSize={size}
        />
      );
    }

    const columns = [
      {
        Header: "ID",
        accessor: "_id",
      },
      {
        Header: "Name",
        accessor: "name",
      },
      {
        Header: "Student",
        accessor: "student.name",
      },
    ];
    // App.js
    ...
    <Router>
      <Switch>
        <Route path="/projects/:id">
          <Project />
        </Route>
        <Route path="/projects">
          <AllProjects />
        </Route>
      </Switch>
    </Router>

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That allows the user to enter a page for each project. When a browser hits /project/ page Project component will be able to get the id from URL, using the useParams() hook.
Last change is to change the ID column on AllProjects table to render a link to a specific project page.


// AllProjects.js

    import { Link } from "react-router-dom";
    ...

    const columns = [
      {
        Header: "ID",
        accessor: ({ _id }) => <Link to={`/projects/${_id}`}>{_id}</Link>,
      },
      {
        Header: "Name",
        accessor: "name",
      },
    ];

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And now looks like that's all - we have fully functioning paginated Table using paginated query

rocket

If you want to check the final solution, here is a link to the repository


but...
If you would like to take it a step further, instead of writing separate queries for each filter_by you want to use, there is a way to accept multiple filters in one query.
There is a high chance you would like to use filters in your query instead of multiple one-purpose queries, for example:


  query {
        tests(filter: { 
        student: ["286712490662822407", "286712490702668289"], 
        project: ["286712490727835143"] }) {
          data {
            id: _id
            name
            student {
              id: _id
            }
          }
          after
          before
        }
      }
    }

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For that you will need to create (if not already exist) Indexes for each filter (tests by student and tests by project) and use them both when Paginate() the data. Example resolver with schema:
schema.graphql.


 # schema.graphql
    #...
    input TestFilters {
      project: [ID]
      student: [ID]
    }

    type Query {
      # ...
      tests(filter: TestFilters): [Test] @resolver(name: "get_tests", paginated: true)
      #...
    }
    // get_tests.fql
    Query(
      Lambda(
        ["filters", "size", "after", "before"],
        Let(
          {
            baseMatch: Match(Index("tests")),
            // creates match for every id in in filter.project array
            matchByProjects: Map(
              Select("project", Var("filters"), []),
              Lambda(
                "id",
                Match(
                  Index("project_tests_by_project"),
                  Ref(Collection("Project"), Var("id"))
                )
              )
            ),
            // creates match for every id in in filter.student array
            matchByStudents: Map(
              Select("student", Var("filters"), []),
              Lambda(
                "id",
                Match(
                  Index("student_tests_by_student"),
                  Ref(Collection("Student"), Var("id"))
                )
              )
            ),
            // combines all matches into one array
            // end up with [baseMatch, Union([projects]), Union([students])]
          match: Reduce(
              Lambda(
                ["acc", "curr"],
                If(
                  IsArray(Var("curr")),
                  If(
                    // skips if empty
                    IsEmpty(Var("curr")),
                    Var("acc"),
                    Append(Union(Var("curr")), Var("acc"))
                  ),
                  If(
                    IsNull(Var("curr")),
                    Var("acc"),
                    Append([Var("curr")], Var("acc")),
                  )
                )
              ),
              [],
              [
                Var("baseMatch"),
                Var("matchByProjects"), 
                Var("matchByStudents")
              ]
            ),
            intersectionMatch: Intersection(Var("match")),
            item: If(
              Equals(Var("before"), null),
              If(
                Equals(Var("after"), null),
                Paginate(Var("intersectionMatch"), { size: Var("size") }),
                Paginate(Var("intersectionMatch"), {
                  after: Var("after"),
                  size: Var("size")
                })
              ),
              Paginate(Var("intersectionMatch"), {
                before: Var("before"),
                size: Var("size")
              })
            )
          },
          Map(Var("item"), Lambda("ref", Get(Var("ref"))))
        )
      )
    )

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With that you are able to cover many requests with the same query and you have less functions to maintain. I personally start with single-purpose resolver and switch to the multi-filter resolver when have many filter resolvers for the same Collection.

Conclusion

In this article, we learnt how to add pagination to React applications using Fauna.

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