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Apollo Federation

Dgraph supports Apollo federation starting in release version 21.03. This lets you create a gateway GraphQL service that includes the Dgraph GraphQL API and other GraphQL services.

Support for Apollo federation directives

The current implementation supports the following five directives: @key, @extends, @external, @provides, and @requires.

@key directive

This directive takes one field argument inside it: the @key field. There are few limitations on how to use @key directives:

  • Users can define the @key directive only once for a type
  • Support for multiple key fields is not currently available.
  • Since the @key field acts as a foreign key to resolve entities from the service where it is extended, the field provided as an argument inside the @key directive should be of ID type or have the @id directive on it.

For example -

type User @key(fields: "id") {
   id: ID!
  name: String

@extends directive

This directive provides support for extended definitions. For example, if the above-defined User type is defined in some other service, you can extend it in Dgraph’s GraphQL service by using the @extends directive, as follows:

type User @key(fields: "id") @extends{
  id: String! @id @external
  products: [Product]

You can also achieve this with the extend keyword; so you have a choice between two types of syntax to extend a type into your Dgraph GraphQL service: extend type User ... or type User @extends ....

@external directive

You use this directive when the given field is not stored in this service. It can only be used on extended type definitions. For example, it is used in the example shown above on the id field of the User type.

@provides directive

You use this directive on a field that tells the gateway to return a specific fieldset from the base type while fetching the field.

For example -

type Review @key(fields: "id") {
  product: Product @provides(fields: "name price")

extend type Product @key(fields: "upc") {
  upc: String @external
  name: String @external
  price: Int @external

While fetching Review.product from the review service, and if the name or price is also queried, the gateway will fetch these from the review service itself. So, the review service also resolves these fields, even though both fields are @external.

@requires directive

You use this directive on a field to annotate the fieldset of the base type. You can use it to develop a query plan where the required fields may not be needed by the client, but the service may need additional information from other services.

For example -

extend type User @key(fields: "id") {
  id: ID! @external
  email: String @external
  reviews: [Review] @requires(fields: "email")

When the gateway fetches from the review service, the gateway will get from the User service and provide it as an argument to the _entities query.

Using @requires alone on a field doesn’t make much sense. In cases where you need to use @requires, you should also add some custom logic on that field. You can add such logic using the @lambda or @custom(http: {...}) directives.

Here’s an example -

  1. Schema:
extend type User @key(fields: "id") {
  id: ID! @external
  email: String @external
  reviews: [Review] @requires(fields: "email") @lambda
  1. Lambda Script:
// returns a list of reviews for a user
async function userReviews({parent, graphql}) {
  let reviews = [];
  // find the reviews for a user using the email and return them.
  // Even though the email has been declared `@external`, it will be available as `` as it is mentioned in `@requires`.
  return reviews
  "": userReviews

Generated queries and mutations

In this section, you will see what all queries and mutations will be available to individual service and to the Apollo gateway.

Let’s take the below schema as an example -

type Mission @key(fields: "id") {
    id: ID!
    crew: [Astronaut]
    designation: String!
    startDate: String
    endDate: String

type Astronaut @key(fields: "id") @extends {
    id: ID! @external
    missions: [Mission]

The queries and mutations which are exposed to the gateway are -

type Query {
	getMission(id: ID!): Mission
	queryMission(filter: MissionFilter, order: MissionOrder, first: Int, offset: Int): [Mission]
	aggregateMission(filter: MissionFilter): MissionAggregateResult

type Mutation {
	addMission(input: [AddMissionInput!]!): AddMissionPayload
	updateMission(input: UpdateMissionInput!): UpdateMissionPayload
	deleteMission(filter: MissionFilter!): DeleteMissionPayload
	addAstronaut(input: [AddAstronautInput!]!): AddAstronautPayload
	updateAstronaut(input: UpdateAstronautInput!): UpdateAstronautPayload
	deleteAstronaut(filter: AstronautFilter!): DeleteAstronautPayload

The queries for Astronaut are not exposed to the gateway because they are resolved through the _entities resolver. However, these queries are available on the Dgraph GraphQL API endpoint.

Mutation for extended types

If you want to add an object of Astronaut type which is extended in this service. The mutation addAstronaut takes AddAstronautInput, which is generated as follows:

input AddAstronautInput {
	id: ID!
	missions: [MissionRef]

The id field is of ID type, which is usually generated internally by Dgraph. But, In this case, it’s provided as an input. The user should provide the same id value that is present in the GraphQL service where the type Astronaut is defined.

For example, let’s assume that the type Astronaut is defined in some other service, AstronautService, as follows:

type Astronaut @key(fields: "id") {
    id: ID! 
    name: String!

When adding an object of type Astronaut, you should first add it to the AstronautService service. Then, you can call the addAstronaut mutation with the value of id provided as an argument that must be equal to the value in AstronautService service.