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Create a GraphQL API for your database, using the GraphQL SDL to model your schema.


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cruddl - create a cuddly GraphQL API for your database, using the GraphQL SDL to model your schema.

This TypeScript library creates an executable GraphQL schema from a model definition and provides queries and mutations to access a database. Currently, it supports the multi-model database ArangoDB. The concept being inspired by existing projects like prisma and join-monster, cruddl exploits the expressiveness of the Arango Query Language (AQL) to generate one tailored query for each GraphQL request.

Try it online


  • Schema definition using GraphQL types, fields and directives
  • Modelling features like relations, embedded lists and objects
  • Query features include filtering, sorting, cursor-based pagination and arbitrary nesting
  • Schema validation
  • Role-based authorization (field and type-based; static and data-dependent)
  • Pluggable database backends (currently supports ArangoDB and an in-memory implementation)


npm install --save cruddl

Install ArangoDB and create a new database.

import { ArangoDBAdapter } from 'cruddl';
const db = new ArangoDBAdapter({
    databaseName: 'databaseName',
    url: 'http://root:@localhost:8529',
    user: 'root',
    password: '',

If you just want to explore the features, you can also use an in-memory database implementation - but don't use this for anything else.

import { InMemoryAdapter } from 'cruddl';
const db = new InMemoryAdapter();

Define your data model and create a project:

import { Project } from 'cruddl';
const project = new Project({
    sources: [
            name: 'schema.graphqls',
            body: `
            type Movie @rootEntity {
              title: String
              actors: Actor @relation
            type Actor @rootEntity {
              name: String
              movies: Movie @relation(inverseOf: "actors")
            name: 'permission-profiles.json',
            body: JSON.stringify({
                permissionProfiles: {
                    default: {
                        permissions: [
                                roles: ['users'],
                                access: 'readWrite',
    getExecutionOptions: ({ context }) => ({ authContext: { authRoles: ['users'] } }),
    getOperationIdentifier: ({ context }) => context as object, // each operation is executed with an unique context object

Then, create the GraphQL schema and serve it:

import { ApolloServer } from 'apollo-server';
const schema = project.createSchema(db);
db.updateSchema(project.getModel()); // create missing collections
const server = new ApolloServer({
    context: ({ req }) => req, // pass request as context so we have a unique context object for each operation
server.listen(4000, () => console.log('Server is running on http://localhost:4000/'));

See the modelling guide and the api documentation for details.

Usage in a browser environment

The core of cruddl perfectly works in a browser (e.g., using webpack), and this can be useful to generate a mock GraphQL schema on the fly or to validate a cruddl project. However, the ArangoDB adapter only works with node imports like path. Unless you configure webpack to provide mock modules for them, you will get an error when you import cruddl in a webpack environment. To solve this, you can import the core symbols from cruddl/core and the InMemoryAdapter from cruddl/inmemory.

Running Tests

For consistency, tests shall be run against a single arangodb node:

  1. npm i
  2. npm run start_arangodb
  3. ensure you have access to console at http://localhost:8529
  4. npm run test

When done, stop the instance with npm run stop_arangodb


Supported versions

cruddl currently supports the following versions of ArangoDB:

  • 3.11
  • 3.12

ArangoDB 3.8 is still included in the CI tests, but no longer supported officially, and the CI tests will be removed in a future minor or patch release.

Starting with ArangoDB 3.12, the default locale for new databases has been changed from en_US to en_US_POSIX. cruddl does not support en_US_POSIX at the moment. If you don't have a locale configured on your operating system (LANG is not set), you need to change the locale to en_US. You can either configure the locale on the operating system, or use the --default-language=en_US option. Do not use --icu-language, as this will change the behavior in a different way, which is also currently not supported by cruddl.