Getting Started With React Native and Relay

In this article, I show you how to implement Relay with a React Native app. If you have not already, follow the tutorial on implementing GraphQL with Rails so that you have a working GraphQL implementation (required for Relay).

Install react-native and initialize a new project. [1]

npm install -g react-native-cli
react-native init RelayApp --verbose

Go grab a coffee. It will take a while.

Next, let's configure Babel Relay.

Configure Babel Relay Plugin

cd RelayApp
npm install babel-core --save-dev
npm install babel-preset-react-native --save-dev
npm install babel-relay-plugin --save-dev
npm install react-relay --save

Good. Setup .babelrc next.

touch .babelrc

Paste in the following:

  "passPerPreset": true,
  "presets": [

Setup babelRelayPlugin.js.

mkdir scripts
touch scripts/babelRelayPlugin.js

Paste the following:

'use strict'

const getBabelRelayPlugin = require('babel-relay-plugin')
const introspectionQuery = require('graphql/utilities').introspectionQuery
const request = require('sync-request')

const url = 'http://localhost:3000/graphql'

const response = request('POST', url, {
  json: {
    query: introspectionQuery

const schema = JSON.parse(response.body.toString('utf-8'))

module.exports = { plugins: [getBabelRelayPlugin(, { abortOnError: true })] }

Install the associated dependencies.

npm install graphql --save-dev
npm install sync-request --save-dev

Check Everything is Ok

Build and run the iOS application.

react-native run-ios

The app should load up just fine. Nice work so far!

If instead you receive an error like SyntaxError: Unexpected end of input, go back to the article on creating a Rails GraphQL server. [2]

Setup Relay Fragment

We're finally ready to create our first Relay Fragment. It will very simply pull in the first user's email address.

At the top of index.ios.js add the following:

import Relay, { 
} from 'react-relay'

Relay.injectNetworkLayer(new DefaultNetworkLayer('http://localhost:3000/graphql'))

Setup the UserRoute class just above the last line of index.ios.js.


class UserRoute extends Route {
  static paramDefinitions = {
    userID: { required: true }
  static queries = {
    user: () => Relay.QL`
      query { 
        user(id: $userID)
  static routeName = 'UserRoute'


AppRegistry.registerComponent('RelayApp', () => RelayApp)

Just below the UserRoute class setup the UserInfo component.


class UserInfo extends Component {
  render () {
    const user = this.props.user
    return (
      <Text>email: {}</Text>

UserInfo = Relay.createContainer(UserInfo, {
  fragments: {
    user: () => Relay.QL`
      fragment on User {


Finally, create a RootContainer and place it somewhere inside the render() method of the RelayApp component.


class RelayApp extends Component {
  render () {
    return (
      <View style={styles.container}>
        <Text style={styles.welcome}>
          Welcome to React Native!
        <Text style={styles.instructions}>
          To get started, edit index.ios.js
        <Text style={styles.instructions}>
          Press Cmd+R to reload,{'\n'}
          Cmd+D or shake for dev menu
          route={new UserRoute({userID: '1'})}
          renderFetched={(data) => <UserInfo {...this.props} {} />}


Save those changes and refresh the iOS simulator (Cmd + R). You should see the first user's email address.

If instead you receive an error or do not see an email address go back to the article on creating a Rails GraphQL server. [2]

That's it! You just used Relay coupled with a Rails GraphQL Server to fetch data into a React Native application.