Frontend widgets are standalone Vue applications or Vue component trees that can be added on a page to handle a part of the functionality.

Good examples of widgets are sidebar assignees and sidebar confidentiality.

When building a widget, we should follow a few principles described below.

Vue Apollo is required

All widgets should use the same stack (Vue + Apollo Client). To make it happen, we must add Vue Apollo to the application root (if we use a widget as a component) or provide it directly to a widget. For sidebar widgets, use the sidebar Apollo Client and Apollo Provider:

import SidebarConfidentialityWidget from '~/sidebar/components/confidential/sidebar_confidentiality_widget.vue';
import { apolloProvider } from '~/sidebar/graphql';

function mountConfidentialComponent() {
  new Vue({
    components: {
    /* ... */

Required injections

All editable sidebar widgets should use SidebarEditableItem to handle collapsed/expanded state. This component requires the canUpdate property provided in the application root.

No global state mappings

We aim to make widgets as reusable as possible. That’s why we should avoid adding any external state bindings to widgets or to their child components. This includes Vuex mappings and mediator stores.

Widget’s responsibility

A widget is responsible for fetching and updating an entity it’s designed for (assignees, iterations, and so on). This means a widget should always fetch data (if it’s not in Apollo cache already). Even if we provide an initial value to the widget, it should perform a GraphQL query in the background to be stored in Apollo cache.

Eventually, when we have an Apollo Client cache as a global application state, we won’t need to pass initial data to the sidebar widget. Then it will be capable of retrieving the data from the cache.

Using GraphQL queries and mutations

We need widgets to be flexible to work with different entities (epics, issues, merge requests, and so on). Because we need different GraphQL queries and mutations for different sidebars, we create mappings:

export const assigneesQueries = {
  [IssuableType.Issue]: {
    query: getIssueParticipants,
    mutation: updateAssigneesMutation,
  [IssuableType.MergeRequest]: {
    query: getMergeRequestParticipants,
    mutation: updateMergeRequestParticipantsMutation,

To handle the same logic for query updates, we alias query fields. For example:

  • group or project become workspace
  • issue, epic, or mergeRequest become issuable

Unfortunately, Apollo assigns aliased fields a typename of undefined, so we need to fetch __typename explicitly:

query issueConfidential($fullPath: ID!, $iid: String) {
  workspace: project(fullPath: $fullPath) {
    issuable: issue(iid: $iid) {

Communication with other Vue applications

If we need to communicate the changes of the widget state (for example, after successful mutation) to the parent application, we should emit an event:

updateAssignees(assigneeUsernames) {
  return this.$apollo
      mutation: this.$options.assigneesQueries[this.issuableType].mutation,
      variables: {...},
    .then(({ data }) => {
      const assignees = data.issueSetAssignees?.issue?.assignees?.nodes || [];
      this.$emit('assignees-updated', assignees);

Sometimes, we want to listen to the changes on the different Vue application like NotesApp. In this case, we can use a renderless component that imports a client and listens to a certain query:

import { fetchPolicies } from '~/lib/graphql';
import { confidentialityQueries } from '~/sidebar/constants';
import { defaultClient as gqlClient } from '~/sidebar/graphql';

created() {
  if (this.issuableType !== IssuableType.Issue) {

      query: confidentialityQueries[this.issuableType].query,
      variables: {...},
      fetchPolicy: fetchPolicies.CACHE_ONLY,
    .subscribe((res) => {
methods: {

View an example of such a component.