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Serverless auto-generated GraphQL API with AWS AppSync and PostGraphile

A diagram of the architecture solution Overview

This repo provides a CDK-based solution that allows you to create an AWS AppSync API from a defined Postgres database in AWS RDS.

See this blog post for additional information.

This solution leverages PostGraphile to automatically generate an AppSync compliant schema from PostgreSQL tables, and uses Lambda functions to resolve GraphQL queries against a PostgreSQL database in Amazon RDS. The solution is serverless, and can be deployed in a few clicks. It uses the AWS CDK, does not require writing any code, supports subscriptions, and works with any PostgreSQL database like Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL and Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL.

Solution Overview

  1. Start by deploying the CDK-based solution. The solution creates an AppSync API with a datasource that uses the resolver Lambda function, and an AppSync function that uses that datasource.
  2. Once the solution is deployed, a user runs the provider function to analyze the RDS PostgreSQL database and generate the GraphQL schema.
  3. The provider function retrieves schema information from RDS database using Postgaphile
  4. The provider updates the Layer function attached to the resolver Lambda function and updates the AppSync API. It updates the schema, and properly sets up the queries, mutations, and subscriptions. Note that a user can repeat step 1 at any time (e.g.: after a database schema change) to update the AppSync API definition.
  5. The AppSync API is now ready to process requests. A GraphQL request is made.
  6. AppSync authorizes the request using the configured Authorization Mode (API KEY, Cognito User Pool, etc...)
  7. AppSync resolves the request by calling the attached Direct Lambda Resolver. The identity of the user is included in the request to the resolver Lambda function
  8. The Lambda function resolves the query using the PostGraphile schema and RDS database

For more information about the solution and a detailed walk-through, please see the related blog.


Clone this repository and install dependencies:

git clone
cd appsync-with-postgraphile-rds
npm install

Deploying a VPC with RDS (optional)

If you do not have an existing PostgreSQL RDS, the vpc-with-pg CDK app will deploy a VPC with public and private subnets with NAT Gateway and provision an RDS instance into the private subnet.

Deploy the VPC

## from the top of `appsync-with-postgraphile-rds` directory
cd ./vpc-with-pg
npm run cdk bootstrap # make sur CDK has been bootstrap (optional)
npm run deploy

Loading the database (optional)

If you do not have an existing database schema and data, you can leverage the provided schema to get started. You can load the schema and some data by using the dbschema.ts lambda function that was deployed in the previous step.

Note: this lambda function also takes care of defining a database user lambda_runner (a user with restricted privileges) that will be used to execute all of our queries against the database.

The schema defines a Person and Post table inside a database called forum_demo_with_appsync

# in the `vpc-with-pg` directory
npm run load

The solution

Deploy the solution into an existing vpc with RDS, or after deploying vpc-with-pg.

Solution Requirements

To get started, you need the following to enable connections to our database:

You will also need to know the following information about our Postgres database:

  • database to connect to
  • schema(s) of interest (containing our tables and functions)
  • username/role to use to execute queries. This role should have the scoped-down privileges required to access the schema(s). See this AWS post for more details on security best practices for Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL. The provider uses the postgres role for configuration. The resolver uses your provided username/role to run queries.

Deploy the solution

Use the deploy script to deploy the CDK solution. The script uses values from vpc-with-pg's output.json to configure the stacks context environment and variables.

## from the top of `appsync-with-postgraphile-rds` directory
cd ./appsync-with-postgraphile

REGION="<region>" # the region your resources are running in, with at least one private subnet with NAT
RDSPROXYNAME="<rds-proxy-name>" # the rds proxy name
SECURITYGROUPID="<security-group-id>" # the security group to assign your Lambda Function ENI
USERNAME="<username>" # username/role that will be used to execute SQL queries on database
DATABASE="<database>" # database to connect to
SCHEMAS="<schemas>" # schemas to access. e.g: schema1,schema2,schema3

npm run deploy -- --region $REGION --proxy $RDSPROXYNAME --sg $SECURITYGROUPID --username $USERNAME --database $DATABASE --schemas $SCHEMAS

Note: If you deployed vpc-with-pg along with the demo data provided, you can simply run the deploy-demo npm command (which will use the values from the demo vpc stack):

## from the top of `appsync-with-postgraphile-rds` directory
cd ./appsync-with-postgraphile
npm run deploy-demo

Make note of the outputs.

After deployment, run the update script to update your API and create your schema cache layer

# in the `appsync-with-postgraphile` directory
npm run update

You can visit your API query editor in the AppSync console by following the link specified by the output value AppSyncWithPostgraphileStack.QueryEditorURL.



Passing settings

By default, the solution passes the caller's identity to pgSettings. You can pass additional data by setting your own pgSettings values in your AppSync pipeline resolver. To do this, attach your own Appsync function to your resolver and add your pgSettings object to the stash. Note that the PG_CONNECTOR_FN function must be the last function executed. Here's an example.

Mapping template:

$util.quiet($ctx.stash.put("pgSettings", {"some": "value", "domainName": $ctx.request.domainName, "nested": {"sub" : "lower level setting"}}))
  "payload": {}

Response template:


The solution automatically flattens objects and adds the prefix appsync. to all your object keys. The example above produces the following settings:

  "appsync.domainName": "",
  "appsync.some": "value",
  "appsync.nested_sub": "lower level setting"

Updating after a database schema change

You can update you GraphQL schema at any time by calling npm run update. This will update your schema and set up any new resolvers. Existing resolvers will not be modified.

Cleaning up up the solution

When you are done with the solution, you can delete your resources.

# in the `appsync-with-postgraphile` directory
npm run destroy

If needed, clean up the demo resources as well

# in the `vpc-with-pg` directory
npm run destroy