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Apollo Client: apollo-client element

When building your GraphQL app using Apollo Elements HTML components, use <apollo-client> to set up the client instance. You can mix-and-match, using the same client element with <apollo-query> or mutation elements, or with your own custom query elements.

This page is a HOW-TO guide. For detailed docs on <apollo-client> element's API, see the API docs

The element's main job is to manage it's children's ApolloClient instance. Every Apollo Element that's a child of an <apollo-client> element will share it's client instance, even across deeply nested (open) shadow roots.

<apollo-client id="client-a">
          <apollo-client id="client-b">

In the above example, queries A and B, and mutation A all share a client instance, but query C has its own client instance.


There are two ways to use <apollo-client>, automatic and manual. Automatic mode creates a basic Apollo client instance, while manual mode lets you customize the client with links and other options. If you're not sure which mode to use, start with automatic mode - you can always switch to manual mode later on.

Automatic Mode

When setting the uri attribute on the <apollo-client> element, it creates a basic Apollo client instance directed at the given GraphQL server URI. At that point, any existing Apollo Element children receive the client instance on their client DOM property.

In the following example, an <apollo-query> element queries for user via an Apollo client pointed at a graphql server running at /graphql (i.e. on the same origin as the page). Later, JavaScript imports a custom Apollo query element called <custom-query>, then appends it to the existing Apollo client element. Both query elements have the same client reference, and both will automatically query for data.

<apollo-client uri="/graphql">
    <script type="application/graphql">
      query User($userId: ID!) {
        user(userId: $userId) {
        .loading { opacity: 0; }
      <p class="{{ loading ? 'loading' : '' }}">Hi, {{ data.user.name }}</p>
import '../components/custom-query';

Customizing Automatic Mode Clients

<apollo-client> uses the createApolloClient helper from @apollo-elements/core/lib/create-apollo-client under the hood, and it comes with some options for customizing the automatic-mode client. You can set the validate-variables attribute to try to prevent fetching operations that don't have all their required top-level variables.

validate-variables isn't foolproof. If your operation uses input variables (i.e. objects as variables), the client doesn't introspect the schema to see whether or not the required properties of the required inputs are there.

For example, if an UpdateUser mutation requires an $input variable of type UserInput!, and UserInput has a non-nullable property userId, the client will still attempt to fetch a mutation with variables { input: { name: 'username' } }

You can also set a typePolicies DOM property on <apollo-client> using JavaScript in order to apply some default type policies.

Manual Mode

If you need more control over the client, for example to configure the links, use manual mode leaving out the uri attribute or DOM property on <apollo-client>. Instead, create your own ApolloClient instance, and assign it to the element's client DOM property.

To construct an instance, import from @apollo/client/core (note: @apollo/client exports a bunch of react code, so if you leave off the /core, you might experience TypeScript compilation errors, or larger bundle sizes)

import {
} from '@apollo/client/core';

import { CustomLink } from './my-custom-link';

const cache =
  new InMemoryCache();

// Configure with a URL to your GraphQL endpoint
const link = ApolloLink.from([
  new CustomLink(),
  new HttpLink({ uri: '/graphql' }),

document.querySelector('apollo-client').client =
  new ApolloClient({ cache, link });

Once set, the element will ensure that all it's children, even across open shadow roots, receive the instance on their client property.

Next Steps