a full stack enthusiast interested in Javascript / Typescript / Kotlin / Python / React / React Native / (Android & iOS) native / Cloud

0%

How to implement Relay node in Graphql

Relay is a great GraphQL client side library made by Facebook. It has a Node query which allows you to have a universal endpoint for querying all your endpoints in your GraphQL. Let’s check how we do that, we will use Nexus, you can use the other GraphQL, but I found Nexus made me really productive.

You can use toGlobalID() and fromGlobalID from graphql-relay package. Then you can stop reading here. But I will use an easier way, which you can adopt for your green field project.

1. Rationale

The benefit of having the node() query on your GraphQL root, is:

  • not only Relay can do the refetch via this node(),
  • but also you can use this node to query any entity that implements this interface.
    • So instead of having separate query for user(), company() and task()
    • you can have this single node() query for getting user, company and task entities, if they all implement the node interfaceType.

2. For the global unique ID

Firstly, you need to adopt a convention for your id, which is:

The id of an entity is combined by entity name and the real id.

For example:

  • If you have a user, the id should be user_cyasjkajkas.
  • If you have a task, the id should be task_asjksakjas-12jh12hj-sakjasjksw.

Not only you can identify the entity of the object, but also you paved the way for the next step, which is easily identity the incoming query in the GraphQL endpoint without any additional saving in your database.

And via doing this, you remove that unnecessary step for wrapping the id.

The ID you have now for each record is already global unique, think about it. :)

3. Define the ID mapper function

This is for checking the pattern of the id.

1
2
3
4
const isId = {
task: (entity: { id: string }) => entity.id.startsWith(IdPrefix.task),
user: (entity: { id: string }) => entity.id.startsWith(IdPrefix.user),
};

4. Define the Node type

We need to return the proper GraphQL type, from the id. So the Task and User that we are returning here, should be already defined in your codebase. Nexus can auto-find them, follow the convention if you use the other framework.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
const Node = schema.interfaceType({
name: "Node",
definition(t) {
t.id("id");
t.resolveType((entity) => {
if (isId.task(entity)) {
return "Task";
} else if (isId.user(entity)) {
return "User";
}

return null;
});
},
});

4. Define the node query for that type

You are doing the same thing, use the id pattern to retrieve the entity. It will then being used as the backing type for the underneath object type, for example, the result of ctx.db.task.findOne({ where: { id } }) is a single task, and it will be used by your GraphQL type Task as the backing type.

And how does the framework now, that we want to resolve Task here, well, you already done that in the previous step.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
schema.extendType({
type: "Query",
definition(t) {
t.field("node", {
type: Node,
args: { id: schema.idArg({ required: true }) },
resolve: (_, args, ctx) => {
if (isId.task(args)) {
return ctx.db.task.findOne({ where: { id } });
} else if (isId.user(args)) {
return ctx.db.user.findOne({ where: { id } });
}

return null;
},
});
},
});

BTW, what is that beautiful ctx.db.task.findOne({ where: { id } })? It’s Prisma, and modern database access for Typescript and Node.js, auto generate all the types and very friendly to use.

5. Now You get the GraphQL schema

1
2
3
type Query {
node(id: ID!): Node
}

6. The end

Hope it helps. Of course, you can argue that the if-else here can be a more functional approach like using cond() from rambda, but I will leave that to you.