apollo-directive

0.1.2 • Public • Published

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Finally an easy way to create custom GraphQL directives! With this package creating a custom schema directive is as easy as writing any other Apollo resolver.

This library aims to resolve this quote, and commonly shared opinion, from the Schema Directives docs:

...some of the examples may seem quite complicated. No matter how many tools and best practices you have at your disposal, it can be difficult to implement a non-trivial schema directive in a reliable, reusable way.

concept

Implementing a custom schema directive used to be a very tedious and confusing process. With the addition of the graphql-tools SchemaVisitor class a big leap in the direction of usability was made. But there was still a lot of uncertainty about how it could be used, especially for beginners to GraphQL. Many authors opted for simpler alternatives like higher order function resolver wrappers that behaved like directives. These wrappers, while simple, are undocumented in the schema and often require repetitive application and upkeep throughout the codebase.

What are the benefits of implementing directives vs using higher order resolver wrappers?

  • your directives are officially documented as part of the schema itself
  • write its resolver once and use it any number of times by simply @directive tagging Types and Type Fields in your schema that you want to apply it to
  • no more concerns of forgetting to wrap a resolver leading to unexpected behavior
  • there is no "hidden" magic that requires digging throughout the resolvers to understand

This library makes implementing directives as simple as writing any other resolver in your Apollo Server. For those authors who are currently using higher order resolver wrappers transitioning to using directives is trivial.

current support

  • directive targets (covers the vast majority of use cases):
    • OBJECT: directives applied to Type definitions
      • the directive is applied to all the fields of the Object Type it is tagged on
    • FIELD_DEFINITION: directives applied to Type.field definitions
      • the directive is applied only to the specific Object Type Field it is tagged on
      • note this includes Query.queryName and Mutation.mutationName because Query and Mutation are considered Object Types
  • directive arguments
  • unit and integration tests are available in the tests/ directory. the integration tests also serve as example implementations and can be run with
# all tests 
$ npm test
 
# integration tests 
$ npm run test:integration

usage

$ npm install apollo-directive
const directiveConfig = {
  name: string, // required, the directive name
  resolverReplacer: function// required, see details below
  hooks: function, ... }, // optional, see details below
};

resolverReplacer and directiveResolver

const resolverReplacer = (originalResolver, directiveContext) =>
  async function directiveResolver(...resolverArgs) {
    // implement your directive logic in here
 
    // use any of the original resolver arguments as needed by destructuring
    const [root, args, context, info] = resolverArgs;
 
    // use the directive context as needed
    // access to information about the directive itself
    const {
      name, // the name of the directive 
      objectType, // the Object Type the directive is applied to
      field, // the Object Type Field the directive is applied to
      // can be aliased to avoid namespace conflicts
      args: directiveArgs, // arguments supplied to the directive itself
    } = directiveContext;
 
    // you can execute the original resolver (to get its original return value):
    const result = originalResolver.apply(this, args);
 
    // or if the original resolver is async / returns a promise use await
    // if you use await dont forget to make the directiveResolver async!
    const result = await originalResolver.apply(this, args);
 
    // process the result as dictated by your directive
 
    // return a resolved value (this is what is sent back in the API response)
    return resolvedValue;
  };
  • the resolverReplacer and directiveResolver functions are used in a higher order function chain that returns a resolvedValue
    • resolverReplacer -> directiveResolver -> resolvedValue
  • this sounds complicated but as seen above the implementation on your end is as intuitive as writing any other resolver
  • resolverReplacer is used internally to replace the original resolver with your directiveResolver
    • used as a bridge between apollo-directive and your directiveResolver
    • brings the originalResolver and directiveContext parameters into the scope of your directiveResolver
  • the directiveResolver function receives the original field resolver's arguments
    • (root, args, context, info)
    • these can be abbreviated into an array as (...resolverArgs) to make using the apply() syntax easier (see below)
  • the directiveResolver must be a function declaration not an arrow function
  • executing the originalResolver must be done using the apply syntax
// resolverArgs: [root, args, context, info]
result = originalResolver.apply(this, resolverArgs);
 
// you can await if the original resolver is async / returns a promise
result = await originalResolver.apply(this, resolverArgs);
 
// if you dont spread the parameters in the directiveResolver
// meaning you have directiveResolver(root, args, context, info)
// they must be placed into an array in the .apply() call
result = originalResolver.apply(this, [root, args, context, info]);
  • boilerplates to get going quickly
// export the directiveConfig for use in createSchemaDirectives
module.exports = {
  name,
  resolverReplacer: (originalResolver, directiveContext) =>
    async function directiveResolver(...resolverArgs) {
      // implement directive logic
      // return the resolved value
    },
};
 
// export the created directive ready to be put into serverConfig.schemaDirectives object
module.exports = createDirective({
  name,
  resolverReplacer: (originalResolver, directiveContext) =>
    async function directiveResolver(...resolverArgs) {
      // implement directive logic
      // return the resolved value
    },
});

using createDirective

  • use for creating a single directive resolver
  • add the resolver to the Apollo Server serverConfig.schemaDirectives object
    • the name must match the <directive name> from the corresponding directive type definition in the schema
const { ApolloServer } = require("apollo-server-X");
const { createDirective } = require("apollo-directives");
 
// assumes @admin directive type def has been added to schema
 
const adminDirectiveConfig = {
  name: "admin",
  resolverReplacer: requireAdminReplacer,
  hooks: { /* optional hooks */ }
};
 
const adminDirective = createDirective(adminDirectiveConfig);
 
const server = new ApolloServer({
  // typeDefs, resolvers, context, etc.
  ...
  schemaDirectives: {
    // the name key must match the directive name in the type defs, @admin in this case
    admin: adminDirective,
  },
});

using createSchemaDirectives

  • accepts an array of directive config objects in config.directiveConfigs
  • assign the result to serverConfig.schemaDirectives in the Apollo Server constructor
  • creates each directive and provides them as the schemaDirectives object in { name: directiveResolver, ... } form
const { ApolloServer } = require("apollo-server-X");
const { createSchemaDirectives } = require("apollo-directives");
 
// assumes @admin directive type def has been added to schema
 
const adminDirectiveConfig = {
  name: "admin", // must match the name of the directive @<name>
  resolverReplacer: requireAdminReplacer,
  hooks: { /* optional hooks */ }
};
 
const server = new ApolloServer({
  // typeDefs, resolvers, context, etc.
  ...
 
  // pass an array of directive config objects to create the schemaDirectives object
  schemaDirectives: createSchemaDirectives({
    directiveConfigs: [adminDirectiveConfig],
  }), // returns { name: directiveResolver, ... }
});

directive config

  • directiveConfig is validated and will throw an Error for missing or invalid properties
  • shape
const directiveConfig = {
  name: string, // required, see details below
  resolverReplacer: function// required, see signature below
  hooks: function, ... }, // optional, see signatures below
};

resolverReplacer

  • a higher order function used to bridge information between createDirective and the directive logic in the directiveResolver
  • used in createDirective config parameter
  • may not be async
  • must return a function that implements the directiveResolver signature (the same as the standard Apollo resolver)
  • signature
resolverReplacer(originalResolver, directiveContext) ->
    directiveResolver(root, args, context, info) -> resolved value

directiveContext

  • the directiveContext object provides access to information about the directive itself
  • you can use this information in the directiveResolver as needed
  • see the [objectType] and [field] shapes
const {
  name, // the name of the directive 
  objectType, // the Object Type the directive is applied to
  field, // the Object Type Field the directive is applied to
  // you can alias the args as directiveArgs to avoid naming conflicts in the directiveResolver
  args: directiveArgs, // object of arguments supplied to the directive itself
= directiveContext;

directiveResolver

  • a higher order function used to transform the result or behavior of the originalResolver
  • must be a function declaration not an arrow function
  • may be async if you need to work with promises
  • must return a valid resolved value (valid according to the schema)
    • for example if your schema dictates that the resolved value may not be null then you must support this rule by not returning undefined or null from the directiveResolver
  • signature:
directiveResolver(root, args, context, info) -> resolved value
 
directiveResolver(...resolverArgs) -> resolved value

name

  • the name of the directive (same as the name in the directive type definition in the schema)
  • used for improving performance when directives are registered on server startup
  • when using the createSchemaDirectives utility
    • used as the directive identifier in the schemaDirectives object
    • ex: directive type def @admin then name = "admin"

hooks

  • provide access to each step of the process as the directive resolver is applied during server startup
  • purely observational, nothing returned from these functions is used
  • can be used for logging or debugging

onVisitObject

  • called once for each Object Type definition that the directive has been applied to
  • called before the directive is applied to the Object Type
  • receives the directiveContext object
    • note that directiveContext.field will be undefined for this hook
  • signature
onVisitObject(directiveContext) -> void

onVisitFieldDefinition

  • called once for each Object Type field definition that the directive has been applied to
  • called before the directive is applied to the field
  • receives the directiveContext object
  • signature
onvisitFieldDefinition(directiveContext) -> void

onApplyDirective

  • called immediately before the directive is applied
    • directive applied to an Object Type (on OBJECT): called once for each field in the Object
    • directive applied to a field (on FIELD_DEFINITION): called once for the field
    • called after onVisitObject or onVisitFieldDefinition is executed
  • receives the directiveContext object
  • technical note: using the directive name, directiveConfig.name, the internal method applying the directive will exit early for the following case:
    • directives that are applied to both an object and its individual field(s) will exit early to prevent duplicate application of the directive
    • onApplyDirective will not be called a second time for this case due to exiting early
    • this is a performance measure that you can read more about from this Apollo Docs: Schema Directives section
  • signature
onApplyDirective(directiveContext) -> void;

schema directive type definitions and usage

creating schema directive type defs

# only able to tag Object Type Fields
directive @<directive name> on FIELD_DEFINITION
 
# only able to tag Object Types
directive @<directive name> on OBJECT
 
# able to tag Object Types and Object Type Fields
directive @<directive name> on FIELD_DEFINITION | OBJECT
 
# alternate accepted syntax
directive @<directive name> on
    | FIELD_DEFINITION
    | OBJECT
 
# adding a description to a directive
"""
directive description
 
(can be multi-line)
"""
directive @<directive name> on FIELD_DEFINITION | OBJECT

using directives in your schema type defs

  • applying directives is as simple as "tagging" them onto an Object Type or one of its fields
# tagging an Object Type Field
type SomeType {
  # the directive resolver is executed when access to the tagged field(s) is made
  aTaggedField: String @<directive name>
}
 
type Query {
  queryName: ReturnType @<directive name>
}
 
# tagging an Object Type
type SomeType @<directive name> {
  # the directive is applied to every field in this Type
  # the directive resolver is executed when any access to this Type's fields (through queries / mutations / nesting) are made
}
 
# multiple directives can be tagged, space-separated
type SomeType @firstDirective @secondDirective {
  # applying a directive to a list type must be to the right of the closing bracket
  aTaggedField: [TypeName] @<directive name>
}

example of defining and using a schema directive

  • a basic example
"""
returns all String scalar values in upper case
"""
directive @upperCase on FIELD_DEFINITION | OBJECT
 
# the Object Type itself is tagged
# all of the fields in this object will have the @upperCase directive applied
type User @upperCase {
  id: ID!
  username: String!
  friends: [User!]!
}
 
type Dog {
  id: ID!
  # only Dog.streetAddress will have the directive applied
  streetAddress: String! @upperCase
}
  • a more complex example of an authentication / authorization directive
  • this directive can receive a requires argument with an array of Role enum elements
    • directives argument(s) are available in the directiveResolver through directiveContext.args
  • the requires argument has a default value set as [ADMIN]
    • if no argument is provided (just @auth) then this default argument will be provided as ["ADMIN"]
# example of a directive to enforce authentication / authorization
# you can provide a default value just like arguments to any other definition
directive @auth(requires: [Role] = [ADMIN]) on FIELD_DEFINITION | OBJECT
 
# assumes a ROLE enum has been defined
enum Role {
  USER # any authenticated user
  SELF # the authenticated user only
  ADMIN # admins only
}
 
# apply the directive to an entire Object Type
# because no argument is provided the default ([ADMIN]) is used
type PaymentInfo @auth {
  # all of the fields in this Object Type will have the directive applied requiring ADMIN permissions
}
 
type User {
  # authorization for the authenticated user themself or an admin
  email: EmailAddress! @auth(requires: [SELF, ADMIN])
}

what targets should the directive be applied to?

  • note that queries and resolver type definitions are considered fields of the Query and Mutation Object Types
  • directive needs to transform the result of a resolver
    • tag the directive on a field
    • any access to the field will execute the directive
    • examples
      • upper case a value
      • translate a value
      • format a date string
  • directive needs to do some auxiliary behavior in a resolver
    • tag the directive on a field, object, or both
    • any queries that request values (directly or through nesting) from the tagged object and / or field will execute the directive
    • examples
      • enforcing authentication / authorization
      • logging

examples

directive @upperCase on FIELD_DEFINITION | OBJECT
// the resolverReplacer function
const upperCaseReplacer = (originalResolver, directiveContext) =>
  // the directiveResolver function
  async function upperCaseResolver(...resolverArgs) {
    // execute the original resolver to store its output for directive processing below
    const result = await originalResolver.apply(this, resolverArgs);
 
    // return the a valid resolved value after directive processing
    if (typeof result === "string") {
      return result.toUpperCase();
    }
    return result;
  };
 
module.exports = upperCaseReplacer;

the objectType and field shapes

  • these two objects can be found in the directiveContext object
  • provide access to information about the Object Type or Object Type Field the directive is being applied to
  • use the following shapes as a guide or use the hooks to log these in more detail as needed
    • to expand the objects (incluidng AST nodes) in your log use JSON.stringify(objectType | field, null, 2)

objectType

  • Object Type information
const {
  name,
  type,
  description,
  isDeprecated,
  deprecationReason,
  astNode, // AST object 
  _fields, // the Object Type's fields { fieldName: fieldObject }
= objectType;

field

  • Object Type Field information
const {
  name,
  type,
  args: [{
    name,
    type,
    description,
    defaultValue,
    astNode,
  }, ...],
  description,
  isDeprecated,
  deprecationReason,
  astNode, // AST object 
= field;

astNode

  • it is unlikely you will need to access this property
  • this is a parsed object of the AST for the Object Type or Object Type Field
const {
  kind,
  description: {
    kind,
    value,
    block,
    loc: { start, end },
  },
  name: {
    kind,
    value,
    loc: { start, end },
  },
  interfaces: [],
  directives: [{
    kind,
    name: {
      kind,
      value,
      loc: { start, end },
    },
    arguments: [{
      kind,
      name: {
        kind,
        value,
        loc: { start, end },
      } 
    }, ...],
  }, ...],
  fields: [{
    type,
    name,
    description,
    args,
    astNode: [
      // for non-scalar types
    ]
  }, ...],
= astNode;

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