A Lightweight Way to Read GraphQL Data

If you are just wanting to get data from a GraphQL endpoint, and not mutate data or anything like that, you may not need a GraphQL library like @apollo/client.

It seems that when you are learning GraphQL, one of the first things that you're advised to do is to install something like @apollo/client. But that comes with a cost - as of this writing, @apollo/client when gzipped is 43kb!!!

You can write a simple fetch function that you can write that will run your query and return the data:

const fetchGraphQL = async (query, variables) => {
  const headers = {
    "Content-Type": "application/json",
    // any other headers required by your api

  // the actual api endpoint
  const apiUrl = `http://some.api/graphql`

  try {
    const response = await fetch(apiUrl, {
      // yeah, we need POST here since what we're
      // doing is POSTing a query and getting
      // data as a response.
      method: "POST",
      body: JSON.stringify({
        query: query,

    if (!response.ok) {
      throw 'There was an issue getting data';

    // Return the response as JSON
    return await response.json();
  } catch (error) {
    // add any additional error handling here

Usage is pretty easy:

// whatever you want your query to be
const QUERY = `
query Query {
  fieldOne {

  .then ((data) => {
    // or do whatever you want with the data

You can see this working for real on this Codepen where I'm pinging the Star Wars API.

@apollo/client will handle a bunch of things for you - like caching - but if your needs are simple, then this lightweight approach may be all that you need. We use it for some user-facing features at work, and it's fantastic.