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Schema Classes

Schema classes are ES based classes that are generated and included in the output when --schemas is passed on the command line. These schemas provide basic attribute and relational support, which in turn can be used by consuming libraries through exports.

Using our users example from the intro, and the --schemas CLI options, we would get the following output.

export const userSchema = new Schema('users', 'id');

The following properties are available on the Schema class instance.

  • resourceName (string) - The resource name of the schema, passed as the first argument to the constructor. This field is based on meta.resourceName in the schematic file.
  • primaryKey (string|string[]) - The name of the primary key in the current schema, passed as the second argument to the constructor. Compound keys can be supported by passing an array of attribute names. This field is based on meta.primaryKey in the JSON schematic file. Defaults to "id".
  • attributes (string[]) - List of attribute names in the current schema.
  • metadata (object) - Extra metadata defined in the current schema.
  • relations (object[]) - List of relational objects that map specific attributes to externally referenced schemas. The relational object follows this structure:
  attribute: 'foo',         // Field name
  schema: schemaInstance,   // Reference schema class
  relation: Schema.HAS_ONE, // Relation type
  collection: false,        // Is it an array?
  polymorph: {
    keySuffix: '_id',
    type: 'ModelName',
    typeSuffix: '_type',
  • relationTypes (object) - Maps attribute names to relation types. A relation type is one of the following constants found on the Schema class: HAS_ONE, HAS_MANY, BELONGS_TO, BELONGS_TO_MANY, and MORPH_TO.

Schemas are not supported by GraphQL.


By default, attributes are excluded from the output unless the --attributes CLI option is passed. Once passed, they are defined as a list of strings using addAttributes().

Continuing with our previous example, the output will be.

export const userSchema = new Schema('users', 'id');

userSchema.addAttributes(['id', 'username', 'email', 'location']);


Unlike attributes, relations are always included in the output, as relations between entities (via schemas) are highly informational. Relations are divided into 5 categories: has-one, has-many, belongs-to, belongs-to-many (many to many), and polymorphic (below).

Relations are generated based on references found within the current schema. Assume we add a has-many posts relation, and a has-one country relation to the current users schema, we would generate the following output.

import Schema from 'shapeshifter';

export const countrySchema = new Schema('countries');

export const postSchema = new Schema('posts');

export const userSchema = new Schema('users');

  user: userSchema,

    country: countrySchema,
    posts: postSchema,

If --use-define is passed on the command line, the relation output will be modified to:

  user: userSchema,

  country: countrySchema,
  posts: [postSchema],


Schemas support a rudimentary form of polymorphism through relations and the polymorph type. When a polymorph is defined, something like the following would be generated, with the object being a map of all variant types, and the associated attribute name.

    Image: imageSchema,
    Video: videoSchema,
    PDF: pdfSchema,

Type name and foreign key suffixes are customized with additional arguments.

attachmentSchema.morphTo(schemas, 'item', '_model', '_uuid');

Polymorphic relations do not support the shorthand define syntax when using --use-define.