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Introspection
Schema
GraphQL has an introspection system that tells about the schema.
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A GraphQL schema has a built-in introspection system that publishes the schema's structure. In fact, the introspection system can be queried using GraphQL, for example:

{
  __schema {
    queryType {
      name
    }
  }
}
# Returns:
# {
#   "data": {
#     "__schema": {
#       "queryType": {
#         "name": "Query"
#       }
#     }
#   }
# }

This system is used for GraphQL tooling like the GraphiQL editor.

Here are the default parts of the introspection system:

  • __schema is a root-level field that contains data about the schema: its entry points, types, and directives.
  • __type(name: String!) is a root-level field that returns data about a type with the given name, if there is a type with that name.
  • __typename works a bit differently: it can be added to any selection, and it will return the type of object being queried.

Here are some __typename examples:

{
  user(id: "1") {
    handle
    __typename
  }
}
# Returns:
# {
#   "data": {
#     "user": {
#       "handle": "rmosolgo",
#       "__typename": "User"
#     }
#   }
# }

For unions and interfaces, __typename returns the object type for the current object, for example:

{
  search(term: "puppies") {
    title
    __typename
  }
}
# Returns:
# {
#   "data": {
#     "search": [
#       {
#         "title": "Sound of Dogs Barking",
#         "__typename": "AudioClip",
#       },
#       {
#         "title": "Cute puppies playing with a stick",
#         "__typename": "VideoClip",
#       },
#       {
#         "title": "The names of my favorite pets",
#         "__typename": "TextSnippet"
#       },
#     ]
#   }
# }

Customizing Introspection

This is an experimental feature, only supported in class-based schemas.

With a class-based schema, you can use custom introspection types.

# create a module namespace for your custom types:
module Introspection
  # described below ...
end

class MySchema < GraphQL::Schema
  # ...
  # then pass the module as `introspection`
  introspection Introspection
end

Keep in mind that off-the-shelf tooling may not support your custom introspection fields. You may have to modify existing tooling or create your own tools to make use of your extensions.

Introspection Namespace

The introspection namespace may contain a few different customizations:

  • Class-based {% internal_link "object definitions", "/type_definitions/objects" %} which replace the built-in introspection types (such as __Schema and __Type)
  • EntryPoints, A class-based {% internal_link "object definition", "/type_definitions/objects" %} containing introspection entry points (like __schema and __type(name:)).
  • DynamicFields, A class-based {% internal_link "object definition", "/type_definitions/objects" %} containing dynamic, globally-available fields (like __typename.)

Custom Introspection Types

The module passed as introspection may contain classes with the following names, which replace the built-in introspection types:

Custom class name GraphQL type Built-in class name
SchemaType __Schema {{ "GraphQL::Introspection::SchemaType"
TypeType __Type {{ "GraphQL::Introspection::TypeType"
DirectiveType __Directive {{ "GraphQL::Introspection::DirectiveType"
DirectiveLocationType __DirectiveLocation {{ "GraphQL::Introspection::DirectiveLocationEnum"
EnumValueType __EnumValue {{ "GraphQL::Introspection::EnumValueType"
FieldType __Field {{ "GraphQL::Introspection::FieldType"
InputValueType __InputValue {{ "GraphQL::Introspection::InputValueType"
TypeKindType __TypeKind {{ "GraphQL::Introspection::TypeKindEnum"

The class-based definitions' names must match the names of the types they replace.

Extending a Built-in Type

The built-in classes listed above may be extended:

module Introspection
  class SchemaType < GraphQL::Introspection::SchemaType
    # ...
  end
end

Inside the class definition, you may:

  • add new fields by calling field(...) and providing implementations
  • redefine field structure by calling field(...)
  • provide new field implementations by defining methods
  • provide new descriptions by calling description(...)

Introspection Entry Points

The GraphQL spec describes two entry points to the introspection system:

  • __schema returns data about the schema (as type __Schema)
  • __type(name:) returns data about a type, if one is found by name (as type __Type)

You can re-implement these fields or create new ones by creating a custom EntryPoints class in your introspection namespace:

module Introspection
  class EntryPoints < GraphQL::Introspection::EntryPoints
    # ...
  end
end

This class an object type definition, so you can override fields or add new ones here. They'll be available on the root query object, but ignored in introspection (just like __schema and __type).

Dynamic Fields

The GraphQL spec describes a field which may be added to any selection: __typename. It returns the name of the current GraphQL type.

You can add fields like this (or override __typename) by creating a custom DynamicFields defintion:

module Introspection
  class DynamicFields < GraphQL::Introspection::DynamicFields
    # ...
  end
end

Any fields defined there will be available in any selection, but ignored in introspection (just like __typename).

Disabling Introspection

In case you want to turn off introspection entry points __schema and __type (for instance in the production environment) you can use a #disable_introspection_entry_points shorthand method:

class MySchema < GraphQL::Schema
  disable_introspection_entry_points if Rails.env.production?
end

Where disable_introspection_entry_points will disable both the __schema and __type introspection entry points, you can also individually disable the introspection entry points using the disable_schema_introspection_entry_point and disable_type_introspection_entry_point shorthand methods:

class MySchema < GraphQL::Schema
  disable_schema_introspection_entry_point
  disable_type_introspection_entry_point
end
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