What is React Query and why it matters
calendar17 Jan 2024
read4 minute read

What is React Query and why it matters

Ever found yourself tangled in a web of complex data fetching and state management in your React applications? Have you faced challenges with redundant data requests, inconsistent states, or intricate handling of loading and error states? These are common hurdles for developers, especially when dealing with server-state management. React Query emerges as a savior, offering elegant solutions to these problems. This blog post aims to shed light on React Query, making it accessible and understandable for beginner developers through practical examples.

What is React Query and Why is it Essential?

React Query is not just another state management library. It excels in managing server state - a critical aspect often overlooked in traditional state management solutions.

Server-Side vs. Global State Management

In React applications, global state management tools like Redux are fantastic for managing client-side state - the state that is local to your application and doesn’t require server interaction. Think of UI states, user preferences, etc. However, when it comes to server-side state - data that comes from an external server (like user data, posts, etc.) - using Redux alone may lead to complications like over-fetching, data duplication, and intricate caching mechanisms.

React Query fills this gap by providing a robust framework to handle server data efficiently. It offers features like automatic background refetching, data synchronization, and caching, which are not straightforward with traditional global state management tools.

How Does React Query Work?

React Query primarily works by abstracting the complex processes of data fetching, caching, and state synchronization. Here's a brief overview of its mechanism:

  1. Data Fetching: React Query uses hooks (like useQuery and useMutation) to fetch and update data. These hooks manage the requests and responses, handling loading and error states automatically.
  2. Caching and Background Updates: Once data is fetched, it's cached based on a unique key. React Query automatically refreshes this data in the background when needed, ensuring your UI always displays the most up-to-date information.
  3. Data Synchronization: React Query synchronizes your server state with the UI state seamlessly. It ensures that the data shown in the UI is consistent with what's on the server, reducing the chances of discrepancies.
  4. Optimistic Updates: For mutations, React Query can perform optimistic updates, meaning it can update the UI before the server response is received, ensuring a smooth user experience.

React Query in Action: Code Examples

To illustrate the power of React Query, let's dive into two practical examples: a fetch query and a mutation.

Example 1: Fetching Data with a Query

import { useQuery } from "@tanstack/react-query";
import axios from "axios";

const fetchPosts = async () => {
  const { data } = await axios.get(
  return data;

function PostsComponent() {
  const { data, isLoading, error } = useQuery("posts", fetchPosts);

  if (isLoading) return "Loading...";
  if (error) return "An error has occurred: " + error.message;

  return (
      { => (
        <p key={}>{post.title}</p>

In this example, useQuery is used to fetch and display a list of posts. It simplifies handling loading and error states, providing a clean and efficient way to access server data.

Example 2: Updating Data with a Mutation

import { useMutation } from "@tanstack/react-query";
import axios from "axios";

const updatePost = async (postId, newPostData) => {
  const { data } = await axios.put(
  return data;

function UpdatePostComponent({ postId, post }) {
  const mutation = useMutation((post) => updatePost(postId, post), {
    onSuccess: () => {
      // Handle successful update

  const handleSubmit = () => {
    mutation.mutate({ title: "New Title" });

  return <button onClick={handleSubmit}>Update Post</button>;

This example demonstrates a mutation using useMutation to update a post. React Query efficiently manages the mutation lifecycle, including side effects like cache updates after a successful mutation.

For more code examples visit the documentation.

Alternatives to React Query

  • Apollo Client: Best suited for GraphQL APIs. It provides similar caching and data management capabilities but is specifically designed for GraphQL.
  • SWR (Stale While Revalidate): Developed by Vercel, it's another popular choice for data fetching, offering features like caching, revalidation, and automatic refetching.

Remember, the choice depends on your project's specific needs and the nature of your API (RESTful, GraphQL, etc.).


React Query offers a modern, efficient way to handle server state in your React applications. Its simplicity and power lie in abstracting complex data fetching and caching mechanisms. By incorporating React Query, developers can significantly streamline data management processes, allowing them to focus on building dynamic and responsive UIs.

Don't hesitate to experiment with React Query in your projects and explore its full potential.

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