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React Data Fetching with Relay

React is ushering a new era in front end. Published by Facebook, it has rapidly become a popular library used in production by many technology companies. In this article, we’re going to discuss a new complementary React framework called Relay.

The Problem With Data Fetching In React

As React has grown in popularity, the scale and complexity of the projects built with React has grown along with it. React is primarily a view layer library. This has caused some teams to hit unknown territory or limitations while building projects that require a different infrastructure. Facebook has been proactive in offering support and guidance during these growing pains.


One of the early growing pains for developers using React was event handling. Facebook responded to this issue by publishing Flux, which is an abstract pattern that encouraged unidirectional data flow for handling events in React.

I’ll assume some familiarity with Flux, so I won’t discuss the details of it in this article. In case you aren’t familiar with this topic, you can give a reading to this article by Sandeep Panda or take a look at this page about Flux.

Flux has taken the React ecosystem to the next level. As developers started to get more familiar with Flux, some issues emerged. Flux has been great for managing data as application state, but populating the initial state into an application has been a source of friction.

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