rapid prototyping graphql: using memory to quickly test queries and mutations



~2 min read


386 words

Imagine the following GraphQL schema for retrieving data about dogs:

type Dog {
  name: String!
  breed: String

type Mutation {
  createDog(name: String!, breed: String): Dog

type Query {
  dogs: [Dog]!


  1. Dogs have a name (always) and a breed (sometimes).
  2. Querying for dogs, returns an array (always) filled with any dogs that match the criteria
  3. Creating a dog requires a name

But now let’s imagine that we want to test this quickly. So quickly that we can’t be bothered to connect the resolvers to the data layer itself.

How could we do that? We can use the local memory of our server (i.e. our computer if we’re developing locally).

Let’s see how.

First, let’s handle creating a new dog and making sure that it’s available for querying.

const Mutations = {
  createDog: function (parent, args, ctx, info) {
    global.dogs = global.dogs || [] // attaching our dogs array to the global object
    const dog = { name: args.name, breed: args.breed }
    global.dogs.push(dog) // this will later be replaced by our data layer, i.e. the insert function for our database
    return dog
module.exports = Mutations

Instead of saving the new dog that we’re creating to the database, we’ve pushed it into an array of dogs stored on our global object.

Then when we’re fetching the data (with our Query), we look to the global object instead of the database:

const Query = {
  dogs: function (parent, args, ctx, info) {
    return global.dogs || [] // in the future, this will be replaced with interfacing with our data layer
module.exports = Query

At this point, you should have the beginnings of a fully functional GraphQL server - though it’s not connected to a data layer.

Here’s a CodeSandbox demonstrating the point:

Some notes on how to use the CSB:

  1. Open a new Terminal window and run yarn dev
  2. Open a new browser window or navigate to https://xxxx-4000.sse.codesandbox.io)
  3. Once that’s open, you should see the GraphQL Playground, and you can start writing your queries.


And just like that, we’ve stood up a GraphQL server using GraphQL Yoga and are writing queries without a data layer.

Pretty nifty if all you need is some rapid prototyping!

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