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GraphQL Server design goals

The goal of this project is to build a GraphQL server for Node.js that is simple, flexible, and performant. It is a Node.js GraphQL server built for production use.

GraphQL Server consists of three parts:

  1. Core
  2. Integrations
  3. Modules

At the core of GraphQL Server is a function called runQuery, which handles parsing, validating and executing queries. Its interface is generic in order to allow for integrations with different Node.js server frameworks. Extensions provide useful functionality that can be shared between different integrations.


The main goals of GraphQL Server are (in order of priority):

  1. Simplicity: GraphQL Server’s core API is very straight forward. It’s one function that does one thing really well (parsing, validating and executing GraphQL queries), and doesn’t do anything else.
  2. Flexibility: The core of GraphQL Server should be transport-agnostic (e.g. it doesn’t deal with HTTP or Websockets directly. This is will be handled in the wrappers for Express, Hapi, etc.)
  3. Performance: GraphQL server should be be tunable to make it fast in production. One example of this is that it should be able to take pre-stored queries to skip parsing and validation. It should also allow easy integration of profiling tools like Apollo Optics that help with debugging and optimizing server performance.


GraphQL Server should come with a set of integrations for different Node.js server frameworks:

  • Express
  • Hapi
  • Connect
  • Koa
  • Restify
  • ...

Framework integrations take care of parsing requests, submitting them to GraphQL Server’s core runQuery function, and sending the response back to the client. These integrations should accept requests over HTTP, websockets or other means, then invoke runQuery as appropriate, and return the result. They should be written in such a way that makes it easy to add features, such as batched queries, subscriptions etc.

Framework integrations should hide all transport-specific (eg. setting headers) and framework-specific things (eg. registering a route) from the core functions.


Things that are not part of runQuery’s tasks, but are GraphQL specific (such as providing a bundle for the GraphiQL UI, generating a schema, storing prepared queries, etc.) should be implemented in another core module of GraphQL Server that lives alongside runQuery, or be imported from graphql-tools or other related packages.

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