resolving graphql queries against a data layer



~4 min read


621 words

Recently, I wrote about prototyping graphql queries without connecting to a data layer.

At some point, however, the goal is to actually be able to resolve requests to read, write, update, and delete data from our data layer and possibly dispatch actions based on those requests.

Let’s look at what’s involved:

  1. GraphQL Schema - this is where you define the mutations and queries available to the client
  2. The API for the datalayer - in my case, I’m using Prisma, which generates a full CRUD API
  3. Access to the data layer API within our resolvers - there are various strategies here: they can be imported directly or attached to the context

Step 1: Defining our client facing API.

# import * from './generated/prisma.graphql'

This document houses client-facing types, queries, and mutations

type Mutation {
  createItem(title: String, description: String, price: Int,
  image: String, largeImage: String): Item!

type Query {
  items: [Item]!

graphql-import is a dependency of graphql-binding, itself a dependency of prisma-binding which enables imports in a graphql file with the # import syntax. This eliminates a need for defining types that will be used throughout our code in multiple places (e.g., Item).

Step 2: Generating The API For The Data Layer

One of the major advantages of using a library like Prisma is that when you deploy your datamodel, it will generate a full API for you automatically. This can be saved automatically using a post-deploy hook (which I wrote about previously).

Step 3: Making The Data Layer API Accessible

As I noted above, there are different ways to do this, but I’ll demonstrate making the database’s API accessible within a request’s context.

First, I’ll need to establish a connection to the database:

const { Prisma } = require('prisma-binding')

const db = new Prisma({
    typeDefs: 'src/generated/prisma.graphql',
    endpoint: process.env.PRISMA_ENDPOINT,
    secret: process.env.PRISMA_SECRET,
    debug: false,

module.exports = db

Using prisma-binding, I’m generating a new connection to my Prisma database and then exporting that connection.

Next, when I start my GraphQL Yoga server, I’ll pass along the database:

const { GraphQLServer } = require('graphql-yoga')
const Mutation = require('./resolvers/Mutation')
const Query = require('./resolvers/Query')
const db = require('./db')

// Create the GraphQL Yoga Server

function createServer() {
    return new GraphQLServer({
        typeDefs: 'src/schema.graphql',
        resolvers: { Mutation, Query },
        resolverValidationOptions: {
            requireResolversForResolveType: false,
        context: (req) => ({ ...req, db }),    })

module.exports = createServer

Now, when our server’s running, every time we get a request, we’ll attach the database to the context.

Putting This To Use

Now that we have all of our set up out of the way, we’re able to actually use the database API within our resolvers to get (in a Query) and post (in a Mutation) directly to our database.

const Mutations = {
  createItem(parent, args, ctx, info){
    // TODO: Auth check
    resolve ctx.db.mutation.createItem({
      data: {...args}
    }, info)

module.exports = Mutations;

I know this is what our data layer’s expecting by looking at prisma.graphql - the CRUD API Prisma generated based on my data model:

type ItemSubscriptionPayload {
  mutation: MutationType!
  node: Item
  updatedFields: [String!]
  previousValues: ItemPreviousValues

type Mutation {
  createItem(data: ItemCreateInput!): Item!

input ItemCreateInput {
  id: ID
  title: String!
  description: String!
  image: String
  largeImage: String
  price: Int!
  createAt: DateTime

The spread args in our resolver (defined earlier in the schema.graphql) match what our data layer’s expecting in the ItemCreateInput type.

If all goes well, mutations are now available in the playground. Running them I see a new item is created:

successfully creating an item
successfully creating an item

Further verifying that this actually reached our data layer, I can check my database directly:

record is present on db
record is present on db

Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!