0.1.13 • Public • Published

Amplify GraphQL Seed plugin - BETA RELEASE

npm version

🚨 Due to a change in the latest Amplify version (8.0.0) you can't install this package directly via NPM anymore. See this bug report for more information and the workarounds (i.e. downgrading Amplify or downloading the package to your project from GitHub)

This is an Amplify Plugin which helps your to seed the databases of your Amplify projects with data using an AppSync GraphQL API. It can be used to seed local mock databases, as well as remote databases, e.g. for testing purposes. This plugin allows you to customize and auto-generate mock data, including data with relationships between models, beyond the capabilities of the 'Auto-generate data' functionality in Amplify Studio.

With this plugin, you can improve testing of your code 💯, reduce time by creating test data through automation ⏱️, and unify mock-data across your project by codifying it in your Version Control System 🚀.

Update - 25th of April 2022: You can now try out our Plugin in our newly released Automate GraphQL seeding for your Amplify apps workshop

Disclaimer: this is a beta-release of the Amplify GraphQL Seed Plugin and may contain unforeseen bugs. This is a 3rd-party plugin and is not associated with the official Amplify project. Use this plugin at your own discretion. Please let us know if you encounter any bugs, or have feedback / suggestions.



Installation 🛠️


To use this plugin with your Amplify CLI, you must have the following prerequisites setup:

Once you have installed the above packages, you can install the GraphQL Seed plugin using the following commands:

npm install -g amplify-graphql-seed-plugin
amplify plugin add amplify-graphql-seed-plugin

Note: If you get an unexpected error here, check out the message at the top of the README as it might be due to your Amplify CLI version

You can validate the installation by running: amplify graphql-seed version

The plugin will be available to use with your amplify-cli across all your projects.

Getting started 🔥🔥🔥

We assume that by this stage you already have a GraphQL API configured in your project. If you don't, you can create one by running amplify add api and follow the prompts.

Step 1. Run the init command from the root of your Amplify project:

amplify graphql-seed init

Step 2. Adjust the generated seed-data.js file to your needs

The init file has created the graphql-seed/seed-data.js file. Adjust mutations and data to run your custom seeding. See this section of the readme for more details.

Step 3. Run the plugin to seed your database

Option 1: Start your mock database, and seed it:

amplify mock --seed

Option 2: Seed your database remotely after pushing

You can seed your database by running the command below in your terminal.

amplify push --seed

Option 3: Run the plugin directly

You can seed your database by running the command below in your terminal.

amplify graphql-seed run

or for remote databases in the AWS Cloud:

amplify graphql-seed run --remote

Available commands 🤖

Below, you can find the available commands to interact with our plugin:

Command                                                                         Flags                         Description
amplify graphql-seed init --remote
creates the files which you can customize to use our plugin
amplify mock --seed Seeds the database after starting the mock database locally.
amplify mock --refresh Deletes the local mock database, starts a new database, and subsequently seeds it.
amplify mock --delete Deletes the local mock database, and starts a clean database locally.
amplify graphql-seed run --remote
Runs the plugin to seed your database using GraphQL (either locally or remotely)
amplify graphql-seed help Shows you information on how to use the plugin, including arguments
amplify graphql-seed version Shows the current version of the plugin.
amplify graphql-seed remove Allows you to remove the files created by this plugin.

How does it work? 🤔

Using the init command, the plugin will create a set of files for you which it uses for seeding your database which you can customize. In particular, it creates two new directories called graphql-seed/ and amplify/hooks with the following files:

├── ...
├── amplify
│   ├── backend
│   │   ├── integration
│   │   ├── api
│   │   ├── auth
│   │   ├── ...
│   │
│   ├── hooks
│       ├── # new
│       ├── # new
│       ├──  # new
├── graphql-seed
│   ├── configurations.json # new
│   ├── credentials.json    # new
│   ├── customMutations.js  # new
│   ├── seed-data.js        # new
│   ├── .gitignore          # new
│   ├──           # new
├── src
    ├── ...

The files have the following contents:

  • configurations.json - holds the configuration of the plugin based on information the plugin found. You can override any values in this file.
  • seed-data.js is the file which holds the actual seed data that will be added through GraphQL
  • [Optional] credentials.json - stores the credentials you can use to authenticate against your Cognito User Pool. It is important to only use this in your test environment, we don't recommend this for Production environments or security sensitive credentials.
  • [Optional] customMutations.js - in this file, you can specify additional custom mutations to use in your seed-data script.

The hooks files are used to run custom code before or after an Amplify command is run. Learn more about Command Hooks here. Using the hooks files, you can automatically use our plugin when running amplify mock and amplify push with our custom --seed argument.

  • - custom code to run before running amplify mock, in this case, it will delete the local database if you instruct it to.
  • - custom code to automatically run our plugin to seed the database after running amplify mock
  • - custom code to seed the database after finishing amplify push.

Customizing your seed-file

Let's assume the following scenario, you have the following schema.graphql in your Amplify project

type Todo @model @auth(rules: [
    {allow: owner, identityClaim: "email"},
    {allow: private, provider: userPools, operations: [read, create]},
    {allow: public, provider: apiKey, operations: [read, create]},
    {allow: private, provider: iam}
  ]) {
  id: ID!
  name: String!
  description: String

**Note: the above example allows all different authentication types supported by this plugin. Your case might differ. Take a look at this section **

When you created the file with the init command, it automatically added some sample code to graphql-seed/seed-data.js. If you have auto-generated mutations in your project (from Amplify codegen), they will be imported at the top of the file. To create seed data, you'll add entries to the seed-data.js file in the following format (an example is automatically added):

import * as mutations from "../src/graphql/mutations.js"
import * as customMutations from "./customMutations.js"

export const createTodo = {
    mutation: mutations.createTodo,
    //override_auth: "API_KEY", // One of ["AWS_IAM", "API_KEY", "AMAZON_COGNITO_USER_POOLS"]
    data:  [
        { id: 1, name: "some", description: "Lorem ipsum stuff" },
        { id: 2, name: "nothing", description: "Lorem ipsum stuff" }

By default, the query will use your default authentication method specified in aws-exports.js, which you can verify in the generated configuration.json file as well. Within seed-data.js, you can override the authentication which should be used for individual mutations by using the override_auth attribute.

Authentication options

Our Amplify GraphQL seeding plugin supports 3 different authentication modes. Each of them requires changes to be performed via amplify cli command if not setup already.

  1. Cognito User Pools
  • To use this AuthN method, you need to create a test user in Cognito User Pools first. You can then use the following command to confirm the users credentials to be used later on. Note: you can run the following CLI commands with the appropriate permissions in place to create a user and set a password:
aws cognito-idp admin-create-user --user-pool-id <your_user_pool_id> --username <your_user_id>
aws cognito-idp admin-set-user-password --user-pool-id <your_user_pool_id> --username <your_user_id> --password <your_password> --permanent
  • Make sure that Cognito User Pools is enabled as Authorization (AuthZ) option for your GraphQL API. You can do that by running amplify api update. Remember to deploy your changes to the amplify by running amplify push
  • To be able to write/read to a table, you must enable that authorization option for your schema. Take a look at the documentation to configure the appropriate authorization modes here. For instance, your schema could have a line like this type Todo @model @auth(rules: [{allow: owner, identityClaim: "email"}, {allow: private, provider: userPools, operations: [read]}])
  1. AWS IAM

    • Make sure that IAM is enabled as AuthZ option for your GraphQL API. You can do that by running amplify api update. Remember to deploy your changes to the amplify by running amplify push
    • To be able to write/read to a table, you must enable that authorization option for your schema. Take a look the documentation to configure the appropriate authorization modes here. For instance, your schema could have a line like this type Todo @model @auth(rules: [{allow: private, provider: iam}])
    • !! important !! If you intent to use IAM authorization to seed a remote database in the AWS Cloud, you need to create a custom-roles.json file in your amplify/api/<your-api> folder to give permissions to the appropriate IAM role. Otherwise, you well get an unauthorized exception. For more details, see this page.
  2. API KEY

    • Make sure that API_KEY is enabled as AuthZ option for your GraphQL API. You can do that by running amplify api update. Remember to deploy your changes to the amplify by running amplify push
    • To be able to write/read to a table, you must enable that authorization option for your schema. Take a look the documentation to configure the appropriate authorization modes here. For instance, your schema could have a line like this type Todo @model @auth({allow: public, provider: apiKey, operations: [read, create]})

Common errors

  • If you see the "GraphQL error: The conditional request failed" error, it is likely that you're trying to create an item with an existing index to your local or remote database. The plugin will skip these elements automatically.
  • If you see an error like "fsPromises.rm is not a function", make sure that your npm version >= 16.0.0
  • As of late February 2022, the plugin might be flagged up with 11 medium-level vulnerabilities. They're coming from the aws-amplify library directly and we are unable to fix them as of now. Take a look at this issue for updates

How to use this plugin in CI/CD pipelines 🏗️

You can also use this plugin to seed your remote databases as part of your deployment pipelines. For example, if you're using the Amplify pipelines, you can adjust your amplify.yml file (in build settings), to include the following:

        - npm install -g amplify-graphql-seed-plugin
        - printf 'Y' | amplify plugin add amplify-graphql-seed-plugin
        - yum -y install jq
        - '# Execute Amplify CLI with the helper script'
        - amplifyPush --simple
        - amplify graphql-seed run --username $USERNAME --password $PASSWORD --remote

This will install the plugin using npm, add the plugin to the Amplify environment (note that "printf 'Y'" is required to confirm adding it without user-input), and it will install jq as a pre-requisite package.

During the build, the environment will be pushed, and the seeding script will be run based on the code checked in under graphql-seed/ in the underlying Version Control System.

!! Important !! If you are using the Amplify CI/CD pipelines, or if you're encountering a SyntaxError: Cannot use import statement outside a module error in your build, please ensure that you're using a Node version larger than 14 in your pipeline (we recommend using Node v16 or higher). In Amplify, you can do this in the console by navigating to your app > App Settings > Build Settings. At the bottom of the page, in Build image settings, click on the Edit button and specify the Node.js version which the pipeline should use by adding a package version override. As of 30th of March 2022, Amplify is actually using Node version v14.19.0 (even if you set it to 'latest'), so you need to explicitly set the version to a higher version.

Specify remote environments for seeding

When using this plugin to seed remote environments, either through CI/CD pipelines or by using the amplify graphql-seed run --remote command, you can specify which environments should be used for seeding. By doing so, you can prevent accidentally seeding the wrong environment.

For example, if you have your CI/CD pipelines in Amplify, you have access to the $USER_BRANCH environment variable which defines what environment the CI/CD pipeline is run for. Suppose you want to allow the pipeline to seed the dev and staging environments, but not the prod environment. You can achieve this by adjusting the graphql-seed/configuration.json file to this:

  "mutationsFile": "customMutations.js",
  "seedDataFile": "seed-data.js",
  "remoteSeedingEnvs": [
  "remoteSeedingEnvironmentVariable": "USER_BRANCH",
  "defaultAuthenticationType": "AMAZON_COGNITO_USER_POOLS",
  "region": "eu-west-2"

If you've setup your build specification similar to the section above, when the amplify graphql-seed run command is executed, the Plugin will verify that the environment for the pipeline is included in remoteSeedingEnvs.

If you're using a CI/CD pipeline outside Amplify, you can adjust the remoteSeedingEnvironmentVariable setting to point to a different environment variable, e.g. "ENV", which can be used to distinguish between different environments in your own pipelines.

If you would like to run a remote seeding event from your local machine, e.g. by running amplify graphql-seed run --remote in your terminal, you will have to create a local environment variable. For instance, Mac users can run the export USER_BANCH=dev in a terminal to set this up locally.

Uninstall the plugin 🗑️

npm uninstall -g amplify-graphql-seed-plugin
amplify plugin remove

About this project 💡

This Plugin was created by Michal Juras and Laurens Brinker, Solution Architects at AWS. The project was initially created for one of our projects, and we've decided to publish it so that it can hopefully help out other people as well. It has already saved us quite a lot of time managing our testing environments, and hope it will do the same for you.

Try out the plugin in our workshop

On the 19th of April 2022, we publicly released the Automate GraphQL seeding for your Amplify apps workshop. The workshop contains a sample application and shows you how you can incorporate database seeding into the AWS Amplify project using this amplify-graphql-seed plugin. It also has a bonus module which shows you how to create your own Amplify Plugin.

Future work 🌲

This is a beta version of the plugin, we've got some plans in mind to improve the plugin in the future:

  • Create a command to create a test-user in Cognito through the Plugin
  • As part of the command above, integrate with Secrets Manager to securely store the test-user's credentials, and use Secrets Manager when running the seeding script to fetch the credentials
  • Automatically infer the mutations and data structure from the GraphQL API, to dynamically create some sample mutations based on your schema


See CONTRIBUTING for more information.


This project is licensed under the Apache-2.0 License.

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