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Helpers for using graphql with Relay.


gem "graphql-relay"
bundle install


graphql-relay provides several helpers for making a Relay-compliant GraphQL endpoint in Ruby:

Global Ids

Global ids (or UUIDs) provide refetching & global identification for Relay.

UUID Lookup

Use GraphQL::Relay::GlobalNodeIdentification helper by defining object_from_id(global_id, ctx) & type_from_object(object). The resulting NodeIdentification object is in your schema and internally by GraphQL::Relay.

NodeIdentification = GraphQL::Relay::GlobalNodeIdentification.define do
  # Given a UUID & the query context,
  # return the corresponding application object
  object_from_id -> (id, ctx) do
    type_name, id = NodeIdentification.from_global_id(id)
    # "Post" -> Post.find(id)

  # Given an application object,
  # return a GraphQL ObjectType to expose that object
  type_from_object -> (object) do
    if object.is_a?(Post)

UUID fields

ObjectTypes in your schema should implement NodeIdentification.interface with the global_id_field helper, for example:

PostType = GraphQL::ObjectType.define do
  name "Post"
  interfaces [NodeIdentification.interface]
  # `id` exposes the UUID
  global_id_field :id

  # ...

node field (find-by-UUID)

You should also add a field to your root query type for Relay to re-fetch objects:

QueryType = GraphQL::ObjectType.define do
  name "Query"
  # Used by Relay to lookup objects by UUID:
  field :node, field: NodeIdentification.field

  # ...


Connections provide pagination and pageInfo for Arrays or ActiveRecord::Relations.

Connection fields

To define a connection field, use the connection helper. For a return type, get a type's .connection_type. For example:

PostType = GraphQL::ObjectType.define do
  # `comments` field returns a CommentsConnection:
  connection :comments, CommentType.connection_type
  # To avoid circular dependencies, wrap the return type in a proc:
  connection :similarPosts, -> { PostType.connection_type }

  # ...

You can also define custom arguments and a custom resolve function for connections, just like other fields:

connection :featured_comments, CommentType.connection_type do
  # Add an argument:
  argument :since, types.String

  # Return an Array or ActiveRecord::Relation
  resolve -> (post, args, ctx) {
    comments = post.comments.featured

    if args[:since]
      comments = comments.where("created_at >= ", since)


Connection types

You can customize a connection type with .define_connection:

PostType.define_connection do
  field :totalCount do
    type types.Int
    # `obj` is the Connection, `obj.object` is the collection of Posts
    resolve -> (obj, args, ctx) { obj.object.count }

Now, PostType.connection_type will include a totalCount field.

Connection objects

Maybe you need to make a connection object yourself (for example, to return a connection type from a mutation). You can create a connection object like this:

items = ...   # your collection objects
args = {}     # stub out arguments for this connection object
connection_class = GraphQL::Relay::BaseConnection.connection_for_items(items), args)

.connection_for_items will return RelationConnection or ArrayConnection depending on items, then you can make a new connection

Custom connections

You can define a custom connection class and add it to GraphQL::Relay.

First, define the custom connection:

class SetConnection < BaseConnection
  # derive a cursor from `item`
  # (it is used to find next & previous nodes,
  # so it should include `order`)
  def cursor_from_node(item)
    # ...

  # apply `#first` & `#last` to limit results
  def paged_nodes
    # ...

  # apply cursor, order, filters, etc
  # to get a subset of matching objects
  def sliced_nodes
    # ...

Then, register the new connection with GraphQL::Relay::BaseConnection:

# When exposing a `Set`, use `SetConnection`:
GraphQL::Relay::BaseConnection.register_connection_implementation(Set, SetConnection)

At runtime, GraphQL::Relay will use SetConnection to expose Sets.

Creating connection fields by hand

If you need lower-level access to Connection fields, you can create them programmatically. Given a GraphQL::Field which returns a collection of items, you can turn it into a connection field with ConnectionField.create.

For example, to wrap a field with a connection field:

field =
# ... define the field
connection_field = GraphQL::Relay::ConnectionField.create(field)


Mutations allow Relay to mutate your system. They conform to a strict API which makes them predictable to the client.

Mutation root

To add mutations to your GraphQL schema, define a mutation type and pass it to your schema:

# Define the mutation type
MutationType = GraphQL::ObjectType.define do
  name "Mutation"
  # ...

# and pass it to the schema
MySchema =
  query: QueryType,
  mutation: MutationType

Like QueryType, MutationType is a root of the schema.

Mutation fields

Members of MutationType are mutation fields. For GraphQL in general, mutation fields are identical to query fields except that they have side-effects (which mutate application state, eg, update the database).

For Relay-compliant GraphQL, a mutation field must comply to a strict API. GraphQL::Relay includes a mutation definition helper (see below) to make it simple.

After defining a mutation (see below), add it to your mutation type:

MutationType = GraphQL::ObjectType.define do
  name "Mutation"
  # Add the mutation's derived field to the mutation type
  field :addComment, field: AddCommentMutation.field
  # ...

Relay mutations

To define a mutation, use GraphQL::Relay::Mutation.define. Inside the block, you should configure:

  • name, which will name the mutation field & derived types
  • input_fields, which will be applied to the derived InputObjectType
  • return_fields, which will be applied to the derived ObjectType
  • resolve(-> (inputs, ctx) { ... }), the mutation which will actually happen

For example:

AddCommentMutation = GraphQL::Relay::Mutation.define do
  # Used to name derived types:
  name "AddComment"

  # Accessible from `input` in the resolve function:
  input_field :postId, !types.ID
  input_field :authorId, !types.ID
  input_field :content, !types.String

  # The result has access to these fields,
  # resolve must return a hash with these keys
  return_field :post, PostType
  return_field :comment, CommentType

  # The resolve proc is where you alter the system state.
  resolve -> (inputs, ctx) {
    post = Post.find(inputs[:postId])
    comment = post.comments.create!(author_id: inputs[:authorId], content: inputs[:content])

    {comment: comment, post: post}

Under the hood, GraphQL creates:

  • A field for your schema's mutation root
  • A derived InputObjectType for input values
  • A derived ObjectType for return values

The resolve proc:

  • Takes inputs, which is a hash whose keys are the ones defined by input_field
  • Takes ctx, which is the query context you passed with the context: keyword
  • Must return a hash with keys matching your defined return_fields


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