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Socializer is a basic social media web application to demonstrate Elixir + Phoenix + GraphQL + React + Apollo. I also wrote an extensive blog post about building the application which you can read here.


The backend is built on Elixir and Phoenix and exposes a GraphQL endpoint.

The client is bootstrapped with create-react-app. It uses React, React Router, and Apollo to query the Elixir GraphQL endpoint. It also uses server-side rendering (configuration largely lifted from cra-ssr).


This is a toy app that I built to try out some technologies I found interesting. It is not suitable to be used in the real world -- for example, every user can message every other user without any limitations, which would obviously be ripe for spam and abuse.


Backend (GraphQL server powered by Phoenix)

  1. Install Elixir via the means of your choice (official docs).

  2. Install dependencies with mix deps.get

  3. Create and migrate the database with mix ecto.setup

  4. Start Phoenix GraphQL endpoint with mix phx.server

The backend does not serve any HTML; it's just a GraphQL endpoint that is consumed by the client. You can also visit localhost:4000/graphiql for the interactive GraphiQL interface where you can write and test out GraphQL queries against the backend.


  1. Install node.js and yarn

  2. Install client dependencies: yarn install

  3. Start the development server: yarn start. (Also ensure the Phoenix server is running -- see above)

  4. Open localhost:3000 in your browser and you should see the application. It will automatically reload as you save changes to files.


The codebase also has a which will run both the Elixir backend and the React frontend in development -- you can run it with foreman -f


A live demo is deployed to; the database is reset every night. I've also exposed the GraphiQL interface on Gigalixir here if you want to play around with some queries. (You should not expose GraphiQL on a real production app.)


See the Phoenix docs for guidance on deploying a Phoenix app.

For the demo, the backend Phoenix/GraphQL app is running on Gigalixir.

To deploy to your own Gigalixir account, follow these steps:

  1. Install the Gigalixir CLI (if you don't have it already)

  2. If you don't already have a Gigalixir app set up, create one: gigalixir create.

  3. Create a free Postgres instance linked to your app: gigalixir pg:create --free

  4. Deploy: git push gigalixir master

  5. Run the database migrations (if this is the first deploy): gigalixir run mix ecto.migrate.


  1. Create a production build: yarn build

  2. Start the SSR node server: yarn serve. This reads from the production build and serves fully hydrated HTML for each route.

For the demo, the client express server is running on Heroku. It is built and released as a Docker image.

To deploy to your own Heroku account, follow these steps:

  1. Install the Heroku CLI (if you don't have it already)

  2. cd client

  3. Log into the Heroku container service: heroku container:login

  4. If you don't already have a Heroku app set up, create one: heroku create

  5. Build the image and push to the container registry: heroku container:push web

  6. Release the image: heroku container:release web

You can also deploy the built Docker image to any other Docker hosting service of your choice.


A basic social media application to demonstrate Elixir + Phoenix + GraphQL + React + Apollo




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