How to Fetch Dribbble Shots Using React Hooks



When I was designing my portfolio site, I wanted to import all the work I had published on Dribbble, so that I could have everything in one place.

I could have manually added the designs on the website, but I wanted to have an automated solution.

So that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this article.

How I used the Dribbble V2 API, Axios and React Hooks to import all my work from Dribbble into my portfolio static site made with Gatsby.js.

Registering a New Dribbble App

Before you can start making requests from the Dribbble V2 API, you need to register your app.

For that, you will need to follow these steps —I’m assuming you already have a Dribbble account.

  1. Open up your Dribbble account settings page
  2. Click on Applications
  3. Under Developers, click on Register a new application

Now you should be able to add your own information, similar to how I did it in this example:

Dribbble screen in which you can register your new app.

The most important parts here are:

  • The Callback URL. Is your sites’ URL which you should type including the https:// part, otherwise you’ll get an error.
  • The Client ID and Client Secret. You’ll need them to be able to make a POST request, in order to get an access token.

Getting a Dribbble Access Code

The next thing you’ll need is a CLIENT_ID. To get yours, open a new tab in your browser and enter the following URL:

https://dribbble.com/oauth/authorize?client_id=CLIENT_ID
  • CLIENT_ID is the id from the previous step.

For the app I’m using in this tutorial it’s:

https://dribbble.com/oauth/authorize?client_id=e9e05f3...

Click on Authorize to authorize your new app.

Dribbble screen in which you can authorize your app.

Once you’ve authorized it, you will be redirected to a page with an URL similar to this one:

http://callback_url?code=5asdas892aas8dh8as9d9ashd

The callback_url is the URL you’ve entered in your Dribbble admin panel. The important part here is to copy the long code 5asdas892aas8dh8as9d9ashd, which you’ll need for the next step.

In order to get the access token, I used Postman —if you need to install it you can follow this link— so that I can make a POST request to the following Dribbble URL:

https://dribbble.com/oauth/token?client_id=CLIENT_ID&client_secret=CLIENT_SECRET&code=URL_CODE

This will give you the access token you need to be able to make requests to Dribbbles’s V2 API.

The most important parts here are:

  • CLIENT_ID: is the client id from the Dribbble account page (look at the first screenshot in this tutorial).
  • CLIENT_SECRET: is the client secret from the Dribbble account page (look at the first screenshot).
  • URL_CODE: is the code you get after you visit the URL with the callback_url of your site.

Making a POST Request With Postman

In order to be able to make a POST request with Postman, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Open up Postman
  2. Make a new POST Request
  3. Use the URL from the previous step with your CLIENT_ID, CLIENT_SECRET and URL_CODE

Now you should receive a JSON response similar to this one:

{
  "access_token": "d8ashd98ashd9a8hsd9ah98dsadsh98ahsd9a8sda",
  "token_type": "bearer",
  "scope": "public",
  "created_at": 1231233453
}

If it doesn’t work, and instead you receive this response —or any response containing an error:

{
  "error": "invalid_grant",
  "error_description": "The provided authorization grant is invalid, expired, revoked, does not match the redirection URI used in the authorization request, or was issued to another client."
}

You should start over and get a new code.

When I was trying to register mine, I wasn’t able to get the access token and I kept getting this error. After searching for a solution, I found this help page from the Dribbble API docs in which they explain what you can do in case you get an error response from the API.

If everything went fine, you should now have your access token which you can use to send requests to Dribbble’s V2 API 🎉.

Making Async Requests With React Hooks

In order to be able to send requests to the API, I decided to use React Hooks. If you don’t want to use hooks, you can read this article in which you can learn how to send requests to Dribbble’s API using ajax.

Using React Hooks to fetch data from an API is pretty easy. But you should learn how they work first.

It’s really easy to enter an infinite loop of data fetching that will reach the API’s limit in a second.

You should be particularly careful if your API is a paid service like Firebase or AWS.

But don’t worry, I’ll explain how you can avoid running into that later on.

In order to get started you will need the following:

  • React v16.8 or newer installed (so that you can use hooks).
  • Axios for making requests to Dribbble’s V2 API.
  • The Dribbble access token you got from the the previous steps in this tutorial.

Before you continue, I recommend you to read the guide on how to use hooks from Dan Abramov, and this article from Robin Wieruch in which he explains some of the techniques I used in this tutorial, among others.

Although mine is based on Robin’s article, I did change it quite a bit, so that I can render placeholder elements, besides spinners as loading indicators, while the data is being fetched.

But first, let’s start with fetching the shots from Dribbble.

The Dribbble V2 API Endpoint

In order to fetch your own shots from Dribbble, you will need to access the following endpoint:

https://api.dribbble.com/v2/user/shots?access_token=ACCESS_TOKEN&page=1&per_page=4

Where:

  • ACCESS_TOKEN: is the token you got after following the first steps in this article.
  • &page=1: this part isn’t really necessary, I’m using for pagination, more on that later.
  • &per_page=4: same thing, not necessary, I’m only using it for pagination, keep reading or skip it if you don’t need it.

Fetching Data With Axios

For this tutorial I used axios, which you can install with npm install axios.

const [isLoading, setIsLoading] = React.useState(true);
const [isError, setIsError] = React.useState(false);
const [dribbblePage, setDribbblePage] = React.useState(1);
const [dribbblePosts, setDribbblePosts] = React.useState([]);

React.useEffect(() => {
  async function getDribbblePosts() {
    try {
      const dribbbleRes = await axios.get(        `https://api.dribbble.com/v2/user/shots?access_token=${GATSBY_DRIBBBLE_TOKEN}&page=${dribbblePage}&per_page=${SHOTS_PER_PAGE}`      );

      setDribbblePosts([...dribbblePosts, ...dribbbleRes.data]);
      if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);
    } catch (error) {
      console.warn(error);
      if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);
      setIsError(true);
    }
  }

  getDribbblePosts();
}, [dribbblePosts, dribbblePage, isLoading, isError]);

So let’s see what this gets us so far:

  • First, I use async await to fetch the data, which is stored using the setState hook in the dribbblePosts array.
  • The isLoading state variable is used to render a loading indicator, spinner in most cases, while the data is being fetched. It’s initially set to true, and then set to false once we get a response from await.
  • The entire request is wrapped inside a Try...Catch block to handle any errors that might be returned.

You can see I’m also destructuring the previous state in the dribbblePosts array, because setState() doesn’t merge the previous state values as it happens when using classes.

I’m destructuring the previous values plus the new ones so that I can merge the posts from the previous requests with the new data from the incoming requests.

When a user clicks on the Load More button to fetch more posts, a new network request is made, which will fetch more shots.

So far, so good.

But if you try to run the code it will enter an infinite loop and the Dribbble API will give you a 429 Too Many Requests error.

You’ll also get a memory leak if you navigate to another page from where the component is rendered before the state is set.

Since the data is being fetched asynchronously using async await if you navigate to a different page before it resolves, React will try to save the data in a state variable of a component that has been unmounted and it will throw this error:

index.js:2177 Warning: Can’t perform a React state update on an unmounted component.
This is a no-op, but it indicates a memory leak in your application.
To fix, cancel all subscriptions and asynchronous tasks in a useEffect cleanup function.

So let’s see how to fix these issues.

Avoid Making Requests on Each Render

Basically, the loop happens because each time state is changed in React, it triggers a new render. Then on each render, a new request will be made, which changes state again, which causes a new render, and so on...

One solution would be to simply add an empty array as a dependency of the useEffect() hook, so that it only runs on the first render. However, in my case it wouldn’t work, because I’m changing the state again with:

if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);
const [isLoading, setIsLoading] = React.useState(true);
const [isError, setIsError] = React.useState(false);
const [dribbblePage, setDribbblePage] = React.useState(1);
const [dribbblePosts, setDribbblePosts] = React.useState([]);

React.useEffect(() => {
  async function getDribbblePosts() {
    try {
      const dribbbleRes = await axios.get(        `https://api.dribbble.com/v2/user/shots?access_token=${GATSBY_DRIBBBLE_TOKEN}&page=${dribbblePage}&per_page=${SHOTS_PER_PAGE}`
      );

      setDribbblePosts([...dribbblePosts, ...dribbbleRes.data]);
      if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);    } catch (error) {
      console.warn(error);
      if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);      setIsError(true);
    }
  }

  getDribbblePosts();
}, []);

This happens because the first time the component renders, the request will be made and the response from the API will be stored in the dribbblePosts array, which will trigger a render when state is changed.

Then on the second render, the dribbblePosts will have the data stored inside, but the API call will run again since there’s nothing preventing it from executing.

Then the response is stored again in state, which triggers a new render.

The same thing will happen once setIsLoading(false) is executed. State will change again, a new render will be triggered, and a new API call will be made.

And you’ve probably noticed that this is the perfect recipe for an infinite loop, which will give you a 429 Too Many Calls error.

In my case the solution was pretty simple, I just wrapped axios.get() with an if statement.

const [isLoading, setIsLoading] = React.useState(true);
const [isError, setIsError] = React.useState(false);
const [postsFetched, setPostsFetched] = React.useState(false);const [dribbblePage, setDribbblePage] = React.useState(1);
const [dribbblePosts, setDribbblePosts] = React.useState([]);

React.useEffect(() => {
  async function getDribbblePosts() {
    try {
      if (!postsFetched) {        const dribbbleRes = await axios.get(
          `https://api.dribbble.com/v2/user/shots?access_token=${GATSBY_DRIBBBLE_TOKEN}&page=${dribbblePage}&per_page=${SHOTS_PER_PAGE}`
        );

        setPostsFetched(true);      }

      setDribbblePosts([...dribbblePosts, ...dribbbleRes.data]);
      if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);
    } catch (error) {
      console.warn(error);
      setPostsFetched(true);      if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);
      setIsError(true);
    }
  }

  if (!postsFetched) {
    getDribbblePosts();  }
}, [dribbblePosts, dribbblePage, postsFetched, isLoading, isError]);

By using the boolean postsFetched, I can limit the number of network requests made on each render. The first time the component renders, the network request will be made, then, since I’m changing state, a new render will be triggered by React.

However, this time around the network request won’t be made since postsFetched is true, and it won’t reach the if statement.

When you are making network requests using useEffect() hooks, each time the state is changed, React will render the component. If you don’t check if you already made a request or if the data is already fetched, it can lead to an infinite loop of renders and network requests.

Avoiding Memory Leaks

In order to fix this issue, I used the cleanup function that the React hooks provide, which is executed when the component is unmounted.

const [isLoading, setIsLoading] = React.useState(true);
const [isError, setIsError] = React.useState(false);
const [postsFetched, setPostsFetched] = React.useState(false);
const [dribbblePage, setDribbblePage] = React.useState(1);
const [dribbblePosts, setDribbblePosts] = React.useState([]);

React.useEffect(() => {
  let didCancel = false;  let dribbbleRes = {};

  async function getDribbblePosts() {
    try {
      if (!postsFetched) {
        dribbbleRes = await axios.get(
          `https://api.dribbble.com/v2/user/shots?access_token=${GATSBY_DRIBBBLE_TOKEN}&page=${dribbblePage}&per_page=${SHOTS_PER_PAGE}`
        );
        setPostsFetched(true);
      }
      if (!didCancel) {
        setDribbblePosts([...dribbblePosts, ...dribbbleRes.data]);

        if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);
      }
    } catch (error) {
      console.warn(error);
      if (!didCancel) {        if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);
        setPostsFetched(true);
        setIsError(true);
      }
    }
  }

  if (!postsFetched && !didCancel) {    getDribbblePosts();
  }

  return () => {
    didCancel = true;  };
}, [dribbblePosts, postsFetched, dribbblePage, isLoading, isError]);

By using a boolean didCancel I can avoid saving data in state if the component is unmounted. The cleanup function can be used to toggle the boolean from false to true. Then the next time it’s executed, it won’t save anything in state. This way React won’t try to save data in the state of a component that has been unmounted.

Great, so far we have a useEffect() hook that:

  • Only fetches data from the Dribbble API once
  • Stores the data only while the component is still mounted

With just these optimizations you could already call it a day.

But I wanted to display placeholder elements while the data is being fetched, to avoid large layout shifts when the posts are rendered on the screen.

Rendering Placeholder Elements

In order to render the placeholder, besides the loading indicator, I used the Dribbble API’s pagination features with a certain amount of shots per request.

You probably have seen I was using template literal strings to create the URL:

await axios.get(
  `https://api.dribbble.com/v2/user/shots?access_token=${GATSBY_DRIBBBLE_TOKEN}&page=${dribbblePage}&per_page=${SHOTS_PER_PAGE}`
);

The Dribbble V2 API gives you the ability to use pagination with the &page=X and &per_page=X query parameters.

Creating the Placeholder Elements

On the initial load, I wanted to render only 4 or 6 shots. To do that, I’m using a constant that stores the amount of shots I want to fetch.

const SHOTS_PER_PAGE = 4;

This was then used in the axios.get() URL to fetch 4 shots on each paginated page and to create the placeholder elements. The placeholders are made by creating an array that had as many values inside, as the length of the SHOTS_PER_PAGE const.

const placeholderArr = Array.from({ length: SHOTS_PER_PAGE }, (v, i) => i);

When using Array.from() you can specify a second argument which is a map() function, that will run on each of the elements in the array. This way I can create a pre-filled array which I can use to map over while isLoading=true, and render placeholder elements.

{
  isLoading && placeholderArr.map((i) => <DribbblePostPlaceholder key={i} />);
}

To create these elements you can use the following code. It’s just a wrapper div with position: relative; and a child element with a padding-bottom: 75%;. The padding-bottom of 75% is used to have the same aspect ratio as the images fetched from Dribbble.

I’m also using a background-position animation to animate the background from a light gray to a darker one, to simulate a loading indicator.

Note that I’m using Styled Components in this tutorial.

const StyledPlaceholder = styled.div`
  position: relative;
  overflow: hidden;
  height: 100%;
  width: 100%;
`;

const placeholderAnimation = keyframes`
0% {
  background-position: 0% 50%;
 }
 50% {
  background-position: 100% 50%;
 }
 100% {
  background-position: 0% 50%;
 }
 `;

const StyledPlaceholderInner = styled.span`
  display: block;
  width: 100%;
  padding-bottom: 75%;
  background: linear-gradient(
    90deg,
    ${theme.colors.gray100},
    ${theme.colors.gray400},
    ${theme.colors.gray100}
  );
  background-size: 200% 200%;
  animation: ${placeholderAnimation} 3s ease infinite;
`;

function DribbblePostPlaceholder() {
  return (
    <StyledPlaceholder>
      <StyledPlaceholderInner />
    </StyledPlaceholder>
  );
}

Once isLoading is changed to false, the placeholder elements are replaced with the shots from Dribbble.

{
  !isLoading &&
    dribbblePosts.map((post) => <DribbblePost key={post.id} post={post} />);
}

Loading More Shots

When I was designing the page where the component is mounted, I only wanted to show 4 or 6 shots at most.

But I also wanted to have an option to load more shots if any user wanted to see more of them, without having to redirect them to the Dribbble homepage.

Initially, I thought of fetching several posts, 20 or so, and slicing the array into 4 to 6 long chunks so that I only rendered a couple of shots at a time. But I soon realized that it wasn’t a really good idea to download that many images. This was especially important for the users that are visiting my site on a mobile connection with limited bandwidth.

So I decided to only load 4 shots initially, and if any user wanted to see more, they could use the Load More button which would fetch 4 shots more.

Since the Dribbble API has built-in pagination which lets me load a certain amount of shots per page, it was the perfect solution to my problem.

In order to load more shots, I added a button that, when clicked, would trigger the loadMorePosts() function.

<LoadMore onClick={loadMorePosts}>
  {!isLoadingMore && <LoadMoreLabel>Load More...</LoadMoreLabel>}
  {isLoadingMore && <Spinner />}
</LoadMore>

Once the button is pressed, the function will add 1 to the dribbblePage state variable and set the postsFetched boolean used to control whether the axios.get() method is executed.

function loadMorePosts() {
  setDribbblePage(dribbblePage + 1);
  setPostsFetched(false);
  setIsLoadingMore(true);
}

In addition, the isLoadingMore variable lets me render more placeholder elements, while the new shots are fetched from the Dribbble API.

By using a different variable and not the original isLoading one, I could avoid changing the shots I already had and rendered, thus adding new placeholders and shots below the ones I already had.

In order to make this all work, I also needed to merge the previous state with the new state, since useState() overrides all existing values in the state.

{
  isLoadingMore &&
    placeholderArr.map((i) => <DribbblePostPlaceholder key={i} />);
}

The Final Version of the Dribbble Posts Component

function DribbblePosts() {
  const SHOTS_PER_PAGE = 4;

  const [isLoading, setIsLoading] = React.useState(true);
  const [isLoadingMore, setIsLoadingMore] = React.useState(false);
  const [isError, setIsError] = React.useState(false);
  const [postsFetched, setPostsFetched] = React.useState(false);
  const [dribbblePage, setDribbblePage] = React.useState(1);
  const [dribbblePosts, setDribbblePosts] = React.useState([]);

  const placeholderArr = Array.from({ length: SHOTS_PER_PAGE }, (v, i) => i);

  React.useEffect(() => {
    let didCancel = false;
    let dribbbleRes = {};

    async function getDribbblePosts() {
      try {
        if (!postsFetched) {
          dribbbleRes = await axios.get(
            `https://api.dribbble.com/v2/user/shots?access_token=${GATSBY_DRIBBBLE_TOKEN}&page=${dribbblePage}&per_page=${SHOTS_PER_PAGE}`
          );
          setPostsFetched(true);
        }

        if (!didCancel) {
          setDribbblePosts([...dribbblePosts, ...dribbbleRes.data]);

          if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);
          if (isLoadingMore) setIsLoadingMore(false);
        }
      } catch (error) {
        console.warn(error);
        if (!didCancel) {
          if (isLoading) setIsLoading(false);
          if (isLoadingMore) setIsLoadingMore(false);
          setPostsFetched(true);
          setIsError(true);
        }
      }
    }

    if (!postsFetched && !didCancel) {
      getDribbblePosts();
    }

    return () => {
      didCancel = true;
    };
  }, [
    dribbblePosts,
    postsFetched,
    dribbblePage,
    isLoading,
    isError,
    isLoadingMore,
  ]);

  function loadMorePosts() {
    setDribbblePage(dribbblePage + 1);
    setPostsFetched(false);
    setIsLoadingMore(true);
  }

  return (
    <DribbblePostsWrapper>
      {isError && <ErrorMessage>Sorry, something went wrong...</ErrorMessage>}

      {isLoading &&
        placeholderArr.map((i) => <DribbblePostPlaceholder key={i} />)}
      {!isLoading &&
        dribbblePosts.map((post) => <DribbblePost key={post.id} post={post} />)}

      {isLoadingMore &&
        placeholderArr.map((i) => <DribbblePostPlaceholder key={i} />)}
      <LoadMore onClick={loadMorePosts}>
        {!isLoadingMore && <LoadMoreLabel>Load More...</LoadMoreLabel>}
        {isLoadingMore && <Spinner />}
      </LoadMore>
    </DribbblePostsWrapper>
  );
}

(Update) Refactoring to useReducer

So far, the component is working great.

But it could be better.

The main issue I have with it so far, is that I need to use a lot of if statements that stop rendering when the state changes. Currently, I have more than 4 different state changes inside the useEffect hook.

Also, the hooks’ dependency list is getting pretty long:

React.useEffect(() => {
  ...
}, [dribbblePosts, postsFetched, dribbblePage, isLoading, isError, isLoadingMore]);

A great solution to this is to use the reducer hook, which lets me combine several state changes in a single call.

Actually not much code needs to change.

The components render function is practically the same.

I only need to extract the data fetching logic in a separate file —so that I can have cleaner code.

And I also need to destructure the variables used in the render function from the custom hook useDribbbleReducer().

function DribbblePosts({ locale }) {
  const {
    dribbblePosts,
    shotsPerPage,
    isLoading,
    isLoadingMore,
    isError,
    loadMorePosts,
  } = useDribbbleReducer();

  const placeholderArr = Array.from({ length: shotsPerPage }, (v, i) => i);

  return (
    <DribbblePostsWrapper>
      <DribbblePostH1>Latest Designs</DribbblePostH1>
      <DribbbleSubhead>
        Some of the latest projects I shared on Dribbble.
      </DribbbleSubhead>
      {isError && <ErrorMessage>{DRIBBBLE_STATUS[locale].error}</ErrorMessage>}

      {isLoading &&
        placeholderArr.map((i) => <DribbblePostPlaceholder key={i} />)}
      {!isLoading &&
        dribbblePosts.map((post) => <DribbblePost key={post.id} post={post} />)}

      {isLoadingMore &&
        placeholderArr.map((i) => <DribbblePostPlaceholder key={i} />)}

      <StyledLoadMore onClick={loadMorePosts}>
        {!isLoading && !isLoadingMore && (
          <LoadMoreLabel>Load More...</LoadMoreLabel>
        )}
        {(isLoading || isLoadingMore) && <Spinner />}
      </StyledLoadMore>
    </DribbblePostsWrapper>
  );
}

Creating the Reducer

const reducer = (state, action) => {
  switch (action.type) {
    case "FETCH_INIT": {
      return {
        ...state,
      };
    }
    case "FETCH_SUCCESS": {
      return {
        ...state,
        isLoading: false,
        isLoadingMore: false,
        dribbblePosts: [...state.dribbblePosts, ...action.payload],      };
    }
    case "FETCH_MORE": {
      return {
        ...state,
        isLoadingMore: true,
        dribbblePage: state.dribbblePage + 1,
      };
    }
    case "FETCH_ERROR": {
      return {
        ...state,
        isLoading: false,
        isLoadingMore: false,
        isError: true,
      };
    }
    default:
      return state;
  }
};

The reducer is pretty simple. I can have an initial state with isLoading, dribbblePosts, ..., in a single object that is updated when the reducer dispaches the actions.

In order to still be able to add new shots to the existing ones, I needed to merge the previous state with the new fetched shots.

Besides that, I also used the axios cancel token (instead of the didCancel variable) so that I can cancel the network request if the component is unmounted before the async function resolves.

export default function useDribbbleReducer() {
  const initialState = {
    dribbblePage: 1,
    shotsPerPage: 4,
    dribbblePosts: [],
    isLoading: true,
    isLoadingMore: false,
    isError: false,
  };

  const [state, dispatch] = React.useReducer(reducer, initialState);

  React.useEffect(() => {
    let dribbbleRes = {};
    let source = axios.CancelToken.source();
    dispatch({ type: "FETCH_INIT" });

    const fetchData = async () => {
      try {
        dribbbleRes = await axios.get(
          `https://api.dribbble.com/v2/user/shots?access_token=${GATSBY_DRIBBBLE_TOKEN}&page=${state.dribbblePage}&per_page=${state.shotsPerPage}`,
          {
            cancelToken: source.token,          }
        );

        dispatch({ type: "FETCH_SUCCESS", payload: dribbbleRes.data });
      } catch (error) {
        if (axios.isCancel(error)) {          console.warn("Cancelled axios request");
        } else {
          console.warn(error);
          dispatch({ type: "FETCH_ERROR" });
        }
      }
    };

    fetchData();

    return () => {
      // Prevent memory leak when moving to another page and cancel axios request
      source.cancel();    };
  }, [state.dribbblePage, state.shotsPerPage]);

  function loadMorePosts() {
    // Load posts with pagination, shotsPerPage on each page
    dispatch({ type: "FETCH_MORE" });
  }

  return { ...state, loadMorePosts };
}

As you can see, the dependency list of the useEffect hook is now much cleaner. It only needs to be aware of the changes made to the dribbblePage variable which is updated when I want to load more shots from the API, using pagination.

The only check I need to keep doing is the didCancel one, which is used to prevent saving data into state if the component unmonunts before the async function resolves.

Final Thoughts

So far I’m quite happy with the results. I got all the features I needed by combining React Hooks with the the pagination feature of Dribbble’s V2 API.

As an improvement, I’m looking into how I can cache the results.

Currently, each time the component mounts, the shots are fetched from Dribbble. Therefore, each time a user loads the page that has the component, a network request is made.

By caching the shots fetched from Dribbble, I can avoid making a network request each time the component is rendered. This way I can help the visitors of my site to save some of their mobile bandwidth.