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GraphQL

EdgeDB supports GraphQL queries via the built-in graphql extension. A full CRUD API for all object types, their properties (both material and computed), their links, and all aliases is reflected in the GraphQL schema.

In order to set up GraphQL access to the database add the following to the schema:

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using extension graphql;

Then create a new migration and apply it.

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$ 
edgedb migration create
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$ 
edgedb migrate

Refer to the connection docs for information on how to run these commands against remotely-hosted instances.

Once you’ve activated the extension, your instance will listen for incoming GraphQL queries via HTTP at the following URL.

http://127.0.0.1:<instance-port>/db/<database-name>/graphql

The value of <database-name> is almost certainly edgedb, which is the name of the default database that is created when an instance is first created. (If you’ve manually created additional databases, specify the name of the database you’d like to query.)

To find the port number associated with a local instance, run edgedb instance list.

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$ 
edgedb instance list
┌────────┬──────────────┬──────────┬───────────────┬─────────────┐
│ Kind   │ Name         │ Port     │ Version       │ Status      │
├────────┼──────────────┼──────────┼───────────────┼─────────────┤
│ local  │ inst1        │ 10700    │ 1.x           │ running     │
│ local  │ inst2        │ 10702    │ 1.x           │ running     │
│ local  │ inst3        │ 10703    │ 1.x           │ running     │
└────────┴──────────────┴──────────┴───────────────┴─────────────┘

To execute a GraphQL query against the instance named inst2, we would send an HTTP request to http://localhost:10702/db/edgedb/graphql.

The endpoint also provides a GraphiQL interface to explore the GraphQL schema and write queries. Take the GraphQL query endpoint, append /explore, and visit that URL in the browser. Under the above example, the GraphiQL endpoint is available at http://localhost:10702/db/edgedb/graphql/explore.

But what kind of HTTP request should this be? And what data should it contain?

EdgeDB can recieve GraphQL queries via both GET and POST requests. The request can contain the following fields:

  • query - the GraphQL query string

  • variables - a JSON object containing a set of variables. Optional unless the GraphQL query string contains variables, in which case it is required.

  • operationName - the name of the operation that must be executed. Optional unless the GraphQL query contains several named operations, in which case it is required.

The protocol implementations conform to the official GraphQL HTTP protocol. The protocol supports HTTP Keep-Alive.

POST request (recommended)

The POST request should use application/json content type and submit the following JSON-encoded form with the necessary fields.

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$ 
  
  
  
curl \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -X POST http://localhost:10787/db/edgedb/graphql \
  -d '{ "query": "query getMovie($title: String!) { Movie(filter: {title:{eq: $title}}) { id title }}", "variables": { "title": "The Batman" }}'
{"data": {...}}

When using GET requests, the values for query, variables, etc. should be passed as query paramters in the URL.

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$ 
  
  
  
  
  
curl \
  -H application/x-www-form-urlencoded \
  -X GET http://localhost:10787/db/edgedb/graphql \
  -G \
  --data-urlencode 'query=query getMovie($title: String!) { Movie(filter: {title:{eq: $title}}) { id title }}' \
  --data-urlencode 'variables={ "title": "The Batman" }'
{"data": {...}}

The body of the response is JSON with the following form:

{
  "data": { ... },
  "errors": [
    { "message": "Error message"}, ...
  ]
}

Note that the errors field will only be present if some errors actually occurred.

Caution is advised when reading decimal or bigint values (mapped onto Decimal and Bigint GraphQL custom scalar types) using HTTP protocol because the results are provides in JSON format. The JSON specification does not have a limit on significant digits, so a decimal or a bigint number can be losslessly represented in JSON. However, JSON decoders in many languages will read all such numbers as some kind of of 32- or 64-bit number type, which may result in errors or precision loss. If such loss is unacceptable, then consider creating a computed property which casts the value into str and decoding it on the client side into a more appropriate type.

We provide this GraphQL extension to support users who are accustomed to writing queries in GraphQL. That said, GraphQL is quite limited and verbose relative to EdgeQL.

There are also some additional limitations

  • Variables can only correspond to scalar types; you can’t use GraphQL input types. Under the hood, query varaiables are mapped onto EdgeQL parameters, which only support scalar types.

    As a consequence of this, you must declare top-level variables for each property for a GraphQL insertion mutation, which can make queries more verbose.

  • Due to the differences between EdgeQL and GraphQL syntax enum types which have values that cannot be represented as GraphQL identifiers (e.g. `N/A` or `NOT APPLICABLE`) cannot be properly reflected into GraphQL enums.

  • Inserting or updating tuple properties is not yet supported.

  • Link properties are not reflected, as GraphQL has no such concept.

  • Every non-abstract EdgeDB object type is simultaneously an interface and an object in terms of the GraphQL type system, which means that for every one object type name two names are needed in reflected GraphQL. This potentially results in name clashes if the convention of using camel-case names for user types is not followed in EdgeDB.

At the moment, EdgeDB is not intended for use as a standalone backend. You should not expose your EdgeDB instance directly to your application’s frontend; that’s insecure and will give all users full read/write access to your database.

EdgeDB 2.0 will include support for object-level security (in-database access control) which means you’ll be able to run EdgeDB as a standalone backend, without the need for an API server to do authentication and authorization.

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