Skip to main content
Version: v3.x alpha

Quickstart with DDN


In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to create a new Hasura project, connect a database, execute your first query, create lightning-fast production builds, and incorporate business logic using TypeScript — all with VS Code and the new Hasura CLI. Throughout this guide, you'll be introduced to new Hasura concepts, like builds, our new metadata structure, and more.

Get an instant API!

You can create a project via the Console — our web-based GUI — to spin up an API by just providing a database url. However, we recommended you follow the guide on this page to set up your project via the CLI, which will allow you to easily iterate on your project.

Step 1: Prerequisites

  1. Install the new Hasura CLI
  2. Install the Hasura VS Code extension
  3. Have a PostgreSQL database

You can connect a local PostgreSQL database to Hasura DDN using the new Hasura CLI. If you don't have a PostgreSQL database and prefer to connect to a cloud provider, check out our friends at Neon.

Don't want to set up a database?

We've provisioned a read-only database for you to use for this guide if you'd like. You can use the following connection string in Step 3:

postgresql://read_only_user:[email protected]:5432/v3-docs-sample-app
I don't use VS Code

Good news! LSP support is coming soon to other editors. In the meantime, give VS Code a try — it's a great editor!

Step 2: Log into Hasura

After our prerequisites are taken care of, log into Hasura Cloud with the CLI:

hasura3 login

This will open up a browser window and initiate an OAuth2 login flow. If the browser window doesn't open automatically, use the link shown in the terminal output to launch the flow.

New CLI?!

Yep! If you can't tell already, we've completely rewritten the CLI from the ground up. You can learn more about the new commands by running:

hasura3 --help

Step 3: Create a new project

To create a new project, use the following command, passing the directory where you want to create the project as an argument. This command will create the configuration files and directory structure by default. It will also prompt you to create a new Hasura DDN project in the cloud too.

hasura3 init --dir <PROJECT_DIRECTORY>

The CLI will prompt you with the following:

Use the arrow keys to navigate: ↓ ↑ → ←
Please choose how you would like to initialise Hasura DDN?
Create a new project | (Start building on a new DDN project)
Empty project

Choose Create a new project and the CLI will respond with the following:

Creating a new project
Creating hasura.yaml ...
Creating build-profile ...
Creating metadata.hml ...
Project <PROJECT_NAME> is created at <DIR>
What's a project?

Each project on Hasura DDN can have a corresponding local project that can be used for development. This local project contains the following structure by default:

├── build-profile.yaml
├── hasura.yaml
├── subgraphs
│   └── default
│   ├── commands
│   ├── dataconnectors
│   └── models
└── supergraph
├── auth-config.hml
└── compatibility-config.hml

We'll dive into how to use these files as we continue through this guide. However, if you'd like more information on the new project structure, see our page on project configuration.

Step 4: Connect a data source

The next step is to add a data source to the project so that we can build APIs on that source. With Hasura DDN, a source is added through a Data Connector. We will use the Postgres Data Connector.

hasura3 metadata add-hub-connector pg_db --dir . --subgraph default --id hasura/postgres --url "postgresql://read_only_user:[email protected]:5432/v3-docs-sample-app"

This will also create a .env in the root of your project with the connection string you provided. This allows you to use .gitignore to ignore the .env file and keep your connection string safe when committing your project to version control.

We're passing a few flags to this command:

  • --dir . tells the CLI to use the current directory as the project directory.
  • --subgraph default tells the CLI to add the data source to the default subgraph.
  • --id hasura/postgres tells the CLI to use the hasura/postgres connector from the connector hub.
Don't want to use our DB?

If you don't want to use our demo Postgres database, or you have a local database you want to try out with Hasura, replace the url with your connection string.

For example, you can use a generic postgres connection string: postgresql://<USERNAME>:<PASSWORD>@<HOST>:<PORT>/<DATABASE_NAME>. This works with local databases, too — you can create a Secure Connect tunnel.

Step 5: Start watch mode

Now that we have added a data source and scaffolded our metadata, let's start Hasura's watch mode so that when we make changes, our GraphQL API will update automatically:

hasura3 watch --dir .

The CLI will respond with the following warning to ensure you don't accidentally apply a build to your production environment:

This command will create new builds in the selected environment "default" and change the current applied build.
We recommend using a test environment so that there is no disruption to existing work.
Do you want to continue?

This command will take over the current terminal tab and watch for changes to the folder. This will keep creating and applying new builds — that represent a new version of the GraphQL API — as you make changes. If you'd like to learn more about watch mode and what flags you can pass, check out the CLI docs on watch mode.

If you are using a local Postgres database, this command also creates a tunnel to your local machine to make the database available to Hasura DDN.

Watch mode is for development only

You should not use watch mode in production. This leads to security vulnerabilities and performance issues.

What's a build?

This is the first concept we've introduced in this guide. Builds are a new concept in Hasura that allow you to quickly iterate and prototype on your project's metadata. A build is an immutable, fully-functioning GraphQL API that represents a milestone in your development cycle.

It may be helpful to think of builds as git commits. Since each is deployed on Hasura DDN, it can be shared with other users.

Each build is completely independent. One project can have multiple builds, out of which, one is applied to production. This workflow allows for easier rollbacks on production, and greater collaboration during development.

Step 6: Launch VS Code and track tables

Make sure the Hasura VS Code extension is installed and that you have logged in.

Launch VS Code in the project directory:

Open your project directory

The VS Code extension utilizes the context of your project directory to provide you with the best experience. Make sure you open VS Code in the project directory and only have a single Hasura project open at a time.

To log in, open the command palette (Ctrl+Shift+P or Cmd+Shift+P) and type Hasura: Login. This will open a browser window and initiate a login flow. If the browser window doesn't open automatically, use the link shown in the notification from VS Code to launch the flow.

Open the new hml file that was created at subgraphs/default/dataconnectors/pg_db/pg_db.hml. You'll see that Hasura automatically introspected your data source and created your schema for you. From here, you can immediately track all tables, views, relationships, and quickly scaffold out your metadata by using the Hasura VS Code extension.

Bring up the command palette, type hasura track all, and choose the option from the dropdown. Then, select your data source's name (e.g., pg_db) from the dropdown.

Your metadata files will be populated with everything you need to get started! 🎉

VSCode data connector

A lot happened under the hood. Let's break it down:

  • Within the subgraphs/default/dataconnectors/pg_db directory, a new pg_types.hml file was generated.
    • This file contains all of the types that were introspected from your data source and that your API will use.
  • Within the models subdirectory, new named files for each of your models were created.
    • These files contain the metadata for each model, including their fields, permissions, relationships, and more.
What are models?

Models are a new way to represent your data in Hasura.

Models refer to a collection of objects (such as rows in a relational database, or documents in a NoSQL database) of a given type. Models are backed by a data source and can support CRUD operations. You can learn more about models here.

Ideally, you'll want to separate out each model into its own file. However, for the sake of this guide, we've kept them all in one file.

Step 7: Run your first query

Head to the terminal where hasura3 watch is running. A new build was automatically generated when you imported models; you can visit this using the link in the terminal output.

| Build ID | <BUILD_ID> |
| Build Version | <BUILD_VERSION> |
| Build URL | https://<PROJECT_NAME_AND_BUILD_ID> |
| Project Id | <PROJECT_ID> |
| Console Url |<PROJECT_NAME>/graphql |
| Environment | default |

We're using the docs sample app's schema for this guide's visuals, but you can use the GraphiQL Explorer to create your query or write it manually:

Execute a query
Using our sample db? You can use this query!
query OrdersQuery {
orders {
user {
product {

Step 8: Incorporate custom business logic

With DDN, Hasura introduces a new way of writing custom business logic using the the TypeScript connector. This exposes functions or procedures that can be added to Hasura metadata as a command, which can be made available over the GraphQL API as a query or a mutation.

First, we'll kill the hasura watch session by pressing Ctrl + C in the terminal. Then, we can create a new TypeScript connector using the following command in the project's root:

hasura3 metadata add-hub-connector ts_logic --dir . --subgraph default --id hasura/ts-deno --url http://localhost:8100

This command will create all necessary files required by the ts-deno connector, including the DataConnector metadata and TypeScript functions.

Now that we added a new connector, head to the tab where hasura3 watch was running and restart the command. Deno's required to run the TypeScript connector locally, so you'll need to install it if you haven't already:

# install deno
curl -fsSL | sh

# start hasura watch
hasura3 watch

This command will now start the connector locally using deno and then creates a tunnel from Hasura Cloud to your local machine so that it is reachable.

There will be a new file called index.ts in this directory. This file will contain a simple hello world function:

// subgraphs/default/dataconnectors/ts_logic/index.ts
export function hello(): string {
return "hello world";

Step 9: Track the function as a procedure

Switch to VS Code and open subgraphs/default/dataconnectors/ts_logic/ts_logic.hml. The procedure helloWorld will be underlined with a code action to track the function as a command in the subgraph. This will create a command metadata object which will expose this function as a mutation. Just like before, your types will be generated for you.

Track a function in VSCode

Step 10: Execute the function using GraphiQL

A new build has been generated for you. You can run the following mutation in the GraphiQL Explorer to execute the function:

mutation tsFunctionQuery {
Track a function in VSCode

Since Deno and Hasura are watching for changes, you can modify the function and it will automatically update the API and be available on DDN 🎉

Step 11: Apply a build to production

As we've been developing our API, Hasura generated new builds for us in the background. We can see these builds by running the following command:

hasura3 build list
| dea725b352 | default | true | | Watch build Thu, 30 Nov 2023 | Thu, 30 Nov 2023 15:35:00 |
| | | | | 09:34:58 CST | +0000 |

Watch mode also automatically applies the newest build to the environment it's watching. This is one reason why watch mode is incredibly powerful during development.

If you're not using watch mode, you can apply a build — which means it will serve as the API for the current environment's build — using the following command:

hasura3 build apply --version <BUILD_VERSION>

What's next?

Iterate on your metadata

We've just demonstrated how to quickly get set up and running with Hasura. Now that you've got a project up and running, you can iterate on your metadata and build out your API. Head back to your IDE, make some modifications, create a new build, and see what happens 🎉

Learn more about structuring your data supergraph by checking out our Supergraph Modeling section.