iterable / fixql   0.5.0

Apache License 2.0 GitHub

A Scala GraphQL implementation

Scala versions: 2.13 2.12


Build Status

A Scala GraphQL implementation based on fixpoint data types. This project aims to provide a GraphQL implementation that is small, easy-to-understand, and modular. Our implementation combines the following:

  • GraphQL-Java to do query parsing and validation. Parsing is modified to yield our own AST for execution.
  • Fixpoint data types from the droste library. Droste descends from the Matryoshka library.
  • Query execution implemented as a fold that "compiles" the query AST into a Slick DBIO (for now). This is influenced by Greg Pfeil's talk on compiling with recursion schemes.

This work is also inspired by the Sangria GraphQL Scala library.

This project is under active development and is presently incomplete.

Schemas and Resolvers

Schemas are defined with GraphQL-Java's GraphQLSchema data type. Resolvers, in GraphQL terminology, fetch the data for a field. We define resolvers with:

trait Resolver[+A] {
  def resolveBatch: Seq[JsObject] => DBIO[Seq[A]]

As the GraphQL tutorial says, "You can think of each field in a GraphQL query as a function or method of the previous type which returns the next type." ( A non-batched resolve method would have signature JsObject => DBIO[JsValue] where the JsObject represents the data for the object that contains the field being fetched. Since batching is more general and more performant, we use a batched signature. Thus, resolveBatch depends on a Seq[JsObject] -- the data for the batch of containing objects. The resolver then fetches the data for the field directly out of the objects, or by performing an additional database query.

Query Execution AST

A GraphQL query is represented as a tree of fields. Ignoring aliases, arguments, and fragments we have:

case class Field[A](name: String, subfields: Seq[A])

Mappings and Reducers

To associate resolvers with schemas, FixQL's query compiler takes a function that maps each field of the schema to a resolver:

  Field.Annotated[FieldTypeInfo] => Resolver[JsValue]

where Field.Annotated[FieldTypeInfo] is a field annotated with with some additional information that indicate the field's containing object type. The resolver can depend on the resolvers for the field's sub-fields, which have been determined recursively. So we actually have:

  Field.Annotated[FieldTypeInfo] => Field[Resolver[JsValue]] => Resolver[JsValue]

We refer to the entire function signature above as "mappings". And we define a wrapper type for the latter function:

case class QueryReducer[+A](reducer: Field[Resolver[JsValue]] => Resolver[A])

Finally, we allow the developer to define the mappings in pieces so ultimately we have a partial function:

  type QueryMappings = PartialFunction[(FieldTypeInfo, Field[_]), QueryReducer[JsValue]]


      case ObjectField("Human", "name") => QueryReducer.jsValues { parents =>

where ObjectField is an extractor that matches the name field on the Human object type.

Compilation and Execution

Putting this all together, invoking FixQL's query compiler looks like:

val dbio = Compiler.compile(schema, mappings, query)

This yields a DBIO[JsObject] that the compiler forms through the following transformation phases:

  • Parse the query into the execution AST (query field tree)
  • Annotate the field tree with some type information drawn from the schema, in particular, the containing object type for each field
  • Apply the mappings recursively to the AST: generate a Resolver for each node of the tree, from the bottom up. This step yields a Field[Resolver[JsObject]] i.e. a tree of Resolvers.
  • "Run" the resolvers from the top-down, passing the data from a parent node into the child node as the containing object data. This step yields one large DBIO[JsObject].

The caller may then actually run the resulting DBIO using a Slick Database instance.

Builder DSL

Schemas (object types and field definitions) and mappings (reducers and resolvers) can be defined together (rather than separately) using the builder DSL. The builder DSL uses a "mutable builder" style:

class MySchema extends SchemaAndMappingsMutableBuilderDsl {
  def mySchema = {
    schemaAndMappings { implicit builders =>
      withQueryType { implicit obj =>
        field("humans", list(humanType)) ~> QueryReducers.jsObjects {
      lazy val humanType = objectType("Human") { implicit obj =>
        field("id", GraphQLID) ~> QueryReducers.mapped(_("id"))
        field("name", GraphQLString) ~> QueryReducers.mapped(_("name"))

See BuilderDslSpec for a more complete example.


In simple cases, an object's fields and mappings can be derived from a case class. The fixql-derivation module contains Shapeless-based helpers to derive such fields along with their mappings and resolvers. For example:

case class Human(id: String, name: String, homePlanet: Option[String])

lazy val humanType = objectType("Human") { implicit obj =>
  field("id", GraphQLID) ~> QueryReducer.maped(_("id"))
  addDerived[Human].fieldsAndMappings('name, 'homePlanet)

For the specified fields, automatic derivation generates a field with:

  • the same name as the case class field's name
  • a GraphQLType corresponding to the field's Scala type, handling Seq's and Option's appropriately
  • a mapping to a resolver that fetches the field's data from the containing object data, under the assumption that the containing object has already fetched the field's data

The generated resolver limits derivation to the simplest cases. In non-trivial cases, one should define mappings explicitly. Nonetheless, derivation can eliminate significant boilerplate.

See DerivationSpec for a more complete usage example.

TBD: Monads. Optimization. Type Safety. Arguments. Fragments. Runtime polymorphism.

This project supports the Scala code of conduct and hopes to build a welcoming, inclusive community of people excited about GraphQL and Scala!