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Build a GitHub API client in 20 minutes

This tutorial needs a refresh

This tutorial was written for Kea 2.0. The video version of this tutorial, along with a Kea 3.0 refresh, is coming soon. The content is still 100% valid for Kea 3.0, so feel free to read it.

In this step-by-step tutorial we are going to build a component that asks for a Github username and then fetches all the repositories for that user, using the Github API.

To follow along, you must have a good understanding of React and you should have gone through core concept pages at least once.

The final result will look like this:

Live Demo

Search for a github user

Loading...

1. Creating the React Component​

note

To code along, see the installation instructions

Now that you have seen the end result, let's build it, piece by piece.

The first thing we need is a React component, which has 1) one input field for the username and 2) a place to show the results.

Written with React hooks, it would look something like this:

import React, { useState } from 'react'

function Github() {
const [username, setUsername] = useState('keajs')

return (
<div className="example-github-scene">
<div style={{ marginBottom: 20 }}>
<h1>Search for a github user</h1>
<input value={username} type="text" onChange={(e) => setUsername(e.target.value)} />
</div>
<div>
Repos will come here for user <strong>{username}</strong>
</div>
</div>
)
}
Live Demo

Search for a github user

Repos will come here for user keajs

2. Save the username in Kea​

That's great, but this isn't a tutorial on React hooks. 😊

Let's refer back to this illustration from the What is Kea page:

Redux Devtools with Inline Paths

In Kea, everything starts with an action. Every button press, every change in a textfield, every network request and every response starts with an action.

In this case we need one action called setUsername, which takes one parameter, username.

This is how you would write a logic with such an action:

import { kea, actions } from 'kea'

const logic = kea([
actions({
setUsername: (username) => ({ username }),
}),
])

To store data you use a reducer. Reducers are functions that react to actions and change their state if needed.

We need just one reducer, username, that reacts to the setUsername action and stores its payload. This is how that looks like:

const logic = kea([
actions({
setUsername: (username) => ({ username }),
}),

reducers({
username: [
'keajs',
{
setUsername: (_, { username }) => username,
},
],
}),
])

Finally, we need a way to read the username value and call the setUsername action in our logic.

For this we use the useValues and useActions hooks:

function Github() {
const { username } = useValues(logic)
const { setUsername } = useActions(logic)

return <div />
}

Putting it all together, we end up with a component like this:

import React from 'react'
import { kea, actions, reducers, useActions, useValues } from 'kea'

const logic = kea([
actions({
setUsername: (username) => ({ username }),
}),

reducers({
username: [
'keajs',
{
setUsername: (_, payload) => payload.username,
},
],
}),
])

function Github() {
const { username } = useValues(logic)
const { setUsername } = useActions(logic)

return (
<div className="example-github-scene">
<div style={{ marginBottom: 20 }}>
<h1>Search for a github user</h1>
<input value={username} type="text" onChange={(e) => setUsername(e.target.value)} />
</div>
<div>
Repos will come here for user <strong>{username}</strong>
</div>
</div>
)
}

Live demo:

Live Demo

Search for a github user

Repos will come here for user keajs

Obviously for examples this simple, adding Kea feels like a lot of boilerplate compared to Hooks.

Luckily it won't stay this way for long!

3. Listen for the setUsername action​

The next step is to use a listener to listen for the setUsername action and run some code whenever it has been dispatched.

This is how that's written in Kea:

const logic = kea([
actions({
setUsername: (username) => ({ username }),
}),

reducers({
username: [
'keajs',
{
setUsername: (_, payload) => payload.username,
},
],
}),

listeners({
setUsername: async ({ username }, breakpoint) => {
// Code to run when the `setUsername` action was dispatched
},
}),
])

4. Trigger the actual call​

Next we must make a request to the Github API and ask for data about this user.

For this we'll make a simple window.fetch call:

const API_URL = 'https://api.github.com'

const logic = kea([
listeners({
setUsername: async ({ username }, breakpoint) => {
const url = `${API_URL}/users/${username}/repos?per_page=250`

const response = await window.fetch(url)
const json = await response.json()

if (response.status === 200) {
// we have the repositories in `json`
// what to do with them?
} else {
// there is an error in `json.message`
// what to do with it?
}
},
}),
])

5. Store the response of the call​

Now that we got the list of repositories, what to do with them?

The answer: we store them in a few new reducers.

We're interested in 3 things:

  1. Whether we're currently fetching any data: isLoading
  2. The repositories that we have fetched: repositories
  3. Any error that might have occurred: error

Because of the way Kea is set up (any reducer can react to any action), we can achieve all of this by just adding two new actions (in addition to setUsername):

  1. One to set the repositories: setRepositories
  2. One to set the error message: setFetchError

Hooking them up gives the following result:

const logic = kea([
actions({
setUsername: (username) => ({ username }),
setRepositories: (repositories) => ({ repositories }),
setFetchError: (error) => ({ error }),
}),

reducers({
username: [
'keajs',
{
setUsername: (_, { username }) => username,
},
],
repositories: [
[],
{
setUsername: () => [],
setRepositories: (_, { repositories }) => repositories,
},
],
isLoading: [
false,
{
setUsername: () => true,
setRepositories: () => false,
setFetchError: () => false,
},
],
error: [
null,
{
setUsername: () => null,
setFetchError: (_, { error }) => error,
},
],
}),

listeners({
// ...
}),
])

Try to follow along and "connect the dots" to see what gets stored in which reducer when each of these three actions is called.

The final step is to add setRepositories and setFetchError into the listener:

const logic = kea([
listeners(({ actions }) => ({
// 👈 added { actions }
setUsername: async ({ username }, breakpoint) => {
const url = `${API_URL}/users/${username}/repos?per_page=250`

const response = await window.fetch(url)
const json = await response.json()

if (response.status === 200) {
actions.setRepositories(json) // 👈
} else {
actions.setFetchError(json.message) // 👈
}
},
})),
])

6. Display the result​

Finally, we also want to display the repositories to the user.

We fetch the new values (isLoading, repositories, error) with the same useValues hook and put them into our JSX accordingly.

Here is one way to do it:

function Github() {
const { username, isLoading, repositories, error } = useValues(logic)
const { setUsername } = useActions(logic)

return (
<div className="example-github-scene">
<div style={{ marginBottom: 20 }}>
<h1>Search for a github user</h1>
<input value={username} type="text" onChange={(e) => setUsername(e.target.value)} />
</div>
{isLoading ? (
<div>Loading...</div>
) : repositories.length > 0 ? (
<div>
Found {repositories.length} repositories for user {username}!
{repositories.map((repo) => (
<div key={repo.id}>
<a href={repo.html_url} target="_blank">
{repo.full_name}
</a>
{' - '}
{repo.stargazers_count} stars, {repo.forks} forks.
</div>
))}
</div>
) : (
<div>{error ? `Error: ${error}` : 'No repositories found'}</div>
)}
</div>
)
}

Giving us the following result:

Live Demo

Search for a github user

No repositories found

It almost works! Almost. Try changing the value in the textfield.

There are two issues we must still fix. One of them is rather obvious, the other one less so.

7. Fetch the repositories on first load​

To load the repositories on page load, we can hook into the afterMount event and run the setUsername action when the logic is mounted.

We pass the current value of username to the action as a bit of a cheat (we're setting the username to what it already is), but it gets the job done:

const logic = kea([
// listeners(...

afterMount(({ actions, values }) => {
actions.setUsername(values.username)
}),
])

This is the result:

Live Demo

This example is halted to show the afterMount effect.



8. Add breakpoints​

There's still the second and less obvious problem to solve.

What if we type "microsoft" to the username field?

Well, if you open up your network inspector panel in Chrome's devtools (or Firefox... or Edge... or Safari... or Lynx?) you would see 9 different requests being made:

  1. "m"
  2. "mi"
  3. "mic"
  4. "micr"
  5. "micro"
  6. "micros"
  7. "microso"
  8. "microsof"
  9. "microsoft"

What a waste. We only need the last one!

What's more, Github's API has a rate limit. If we do this long enough, we'll just get banned.

Luckily listeners come with one very cool feature: breakpoints.

You might have noticed the second argument in the listener function is called breakpoint:

const logic = kea([
// ...

listeners(({ actions }) => ({
setUsername: async ({ username }, /* 👉 */ breakpoint /* 👈 */) => {
//
},
})),
])

The breakpoint function takes one argument: a number of milliseconds to wait.

But what is that exactly?

In essence, a breakpoint inside the setUsername listener tells your browser the following: "in case another setUsername listener was started while I was waiting, stop now".

In practical terms, you can use it to debounce calls.

Calling await breakpoint(300) as the first thing in the setUsername listener pauses the request to Github by 300 milliseconds. If another setUsername call was made in that time, the first one terminates and only the second one starts, waiting another 300ms in case it too would be terminated:

const API_URL = 'https://api.github.com'

const logic = kea([
// ...

listeners(({ actions }) => ({
setUsername: async ({ username }, breakpoint) => {
await breakpoint(300) // 👈 debounce for 300ms

const url = `${API_URL}/users/${username}/repos?per_page=250`
const response = await window.fetch(url)

const json = await response.json()

if (response.status === 200) {
actions.setRepositories(json)
} else {
actions.setFetchError(json.message)
}
},
})),
])

That is so simple and so effective. With this code, when you type microsoft and you're fast enough, only the last t will trigger the API call.

There is, however, one more and slightly subtler issue still in the code.

Suppose you type micro, pause for a second and then follow it up with soft.

We will make two API calls. One for micro and one for microsoft. In an ideal world with unlimited fiber optic connections, both calls will complete in 11ms and feel instantaneous.

What if, however, on your spotty 3G the call for micro takes three seconds to complete, but the call to microsoft comes back immediately.

Remember, we paused for just a second.

Well, in this case the username textfield will show microsoft, but the list of repositories will show the ones for the user micro.

How do we prevent this from happening?

With another breakpoint of course! This time we don't need an async in front of it:

const API_URL = 'https://api.github.com'

const logic = kea([
// ...

listeners(({ actions }) => ({
setUsername: async ({ username }, breakpoint) => {
await breakpoint(300)

const url = `${API_URL}/users/${username}/repos?per_page=250`
const response = await window.fetch(url)

// break if action was dispatched again while we were fetching
breakpoint() // 👈

const json = await response.json()

if (response.status === 200) {
actions.setRepositories(json)
} else {
actions.setFetchError(json.message)
}
},
})),
])

This will make the app much nicer to use:

Live Demo

Search for a github user

Loading...

9. Finishing touches​

There are two final things to make this example complete.

First, it would be nice to sort the list of repositories by the number of stars.

For this we can either 1) sort the list in the React component before rendering, 2) sort the list in the listener before handing it over to setRepositories... or 3) use a selector to sort it dynamically and automatically.

Obviously we'll do the latter. ðŸĪŠ

Selectors take any number of reducers and other selectors as input and return a combined or modified output.

The cool thing about selectors is that they are only recalculated when their input changes. This way every new list of repositories is sorted only once.

Here's how you would create a selector sortedRepositories that takes repositories as an input and returns a sorted array:

const logic = kea([
// ...
selectors({
sortedRepositories: [
(selectors) => [selectors.repositories],
(repositories) => {
return [...repositories].sort((a, b) => b.stargazers_count - a.stargazers_count)
},
],
}),
])

Please note that the Array.sort function mutates the array it sorts. Since we should never modify the input in a selector, we use [...repositories] to create a copy of the array before sorting it.

Now it's just a matter of replacing repositories in the component with sortedRepositories.

The second thing that would make this example complete has to do with network errors.

Basically, what if the following code:

const response = await window.fetch(url)

... throws an Error?

In this case the listener will be abruptly terminated, setRepositories and setFetchError will never be called and the page will be isLoading forever.

To prevent this, we must wrap our fetch call in a try / catch block:

const API_URL = 'https://api.github.com'

const logic = kea([
// ...

listeners(({ actions }) => ({
setUsername: async ({ username }, breakpoint) => {
await breakpoint(300)

const url = `${API_URL}/users/${username}/repos?per_page=250`

// 👈 handle network errors
let response
try {
response = await window.fetch(url)
} catch (error) {
actions.setFetchError(error.message)
return // 👈 nothing to do after, so return
}

// break if action was dispatched again while we were fetching
breakpoint()

const json = await response.json()

if (response.status === 200) {
actions.setRepositories(json)
} else {
actions.setFetchError(json.message)
}
},
})),
])
note

We could have wrapped the entire listener in a try / catch block, but that would have added an extra complication: under the hood breakpoints also just throw an error and we should then use the isBreakpoint function to figure out wha type of error was just caught. I opted to avoid it in the example above. See the listeners docs for more details.

10. Final result​

Adding the finishing touches gives us this final masterpiece:

Live Demo

Search for a github user

Loading...

With this code:

import React from 'react'
import { kea, useActions, useValues } from 'kea'

const API_URL = 'https://api.github.com'

const logic = kea([
actions({
setUsername: (username) => ({ username }),
setRepositories: (repositories) => ({ repositories }),
setFetchError: (error) => ({ error }),
}),

reducers({
username: [
'keajs',
{
setUsername: (_, { username }) => username,
},
],
repositories: [
[],
{
setUsername: () => [],
setRepositories: (_, { repositories }) => repositories,
},
],
isLoading: [
false,
{
setUsername: () => true,
setRepositories: () => false,
setFetchError: () => false,
},
],
error: [
null,
{
setUsername: () => null,
setFetchError: (_, { error }) => error,
},
],
}),

selectors({
sortedRepositories: [
(selectors) => [selectors.repositories],
(repositories) => {
return [...repositories].sort((a, b) => b.stargazers_count - a.stargazers_count)
},
],
}),

listeners(({ actions }) => ({
setUsername: async ({ username }, breakpoint) => {
await breakpoint(300)

const url = `${API_URL}/users/${username}/repos?per_page=250`

// 👈 handle network errors
let response
try {
response = await window.fetch(url)
} catch (error) {
actions.setFetchError(error.message)
return // 👈 nothing to do after, so return
}

// break if action was dispatched again while we were fetching
breakpoint()

const json = await response.json()

if (response.status === 200) {
actions.setRepositories(json)
} else {
actions.setFetchError(json.message)
}
},
})),

afterMount(({ actions, values }) => {
actions.setUsername(values.username)
}),
])

function Github() {
const { username, isLoading, sortedRepositories, error } = useValues(logic)
const { setUsername } = useActions(logic)

return (
<div className="example-github-scene">
<div style={{ marginBottom: 20 }}>
<h1>Search for a github user</h1>
<input value={username} type="text" onChange={(e) => setUsername(e.target.value)} />
</div>
{isLoading ? (
<div>Loading...</div>
) : sortedRepositories.length > 0 ? (
<div>
Found {sortedRepositories.length} repositories for user {username}!
{sortedRepositories.map((repo) => (
<div key={repo.id}>
<a href={repo.html_url} target="_blank">
{repo.full_name}
</a>
{' - '}
{repo.stargazers_count} stars, {repo.forks} forks.
</div>
))}
</div>
) : (
<div>{error ? `Error: ${error}` : 'No repositories found'}</div>
)}
</div>
)
}

There's still one thing that's broken:

If a github user or organisation has more than 100 repositories, only the first 100 results will be returned. Github's API provides a way to ask for the next 100 results (the Link headers, but resolving this is outside the scope of this guide.

This will be the left as an exercise for the ambitious reader. That's you, right? 😉

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