Skip to main content
Version: v2.x

How Hasura GraphQL Engine Works

Introduction

The Hasura GraphQL Engine automatically generates a unified GraphQL schema from your databases, REST endpoints, GraphQL endpoints and other sources allowing you to connect data together and work with it faster and more powerfully than ever before. Hasura also comprises other features and services to provide a full-featured backend engine for powering your API.

Databases

Given a database, the Hasura GraphQL Engine automatically generates a GraphQL schema and processes GraphQL queries, subscriptions and mutations.

By default, Hasura supports PostgreSQL and the multiple other databases.

Tracking Tables & Schema Generation

When you track a table in the Hasura GraphQL Engine, it automatically generates the following for it:

  • A GraphQL type definition for the table

  • A query field with where, order_by, limit, offset, and distinct_on arguments.

  • A query by primary key field.

  • A query aggregate field with where, order_by, limit, offset, and distinct_on arguments and returning, count, max, min, sum and many other aggregates.

  • An insert mutation field with on_conflict argument that supports upsert and bulk inserts.

  • An insert one mutation field with on_conflict argument that supports upsert.

  • An update mutation field with where argument that supports bulk updates.

  • An update by primary key mutation field.

  • A delete mutation field with where argument that supports bulk deletes.

  • A delete by primary key mutation field.

  • A subscription field with where, order_by, limit and offset arguments.

  • A subscription by primary key field.

  • A subscription aggregate field with where, order_by, limit, offset, and distinct_on arguments and returning, count, max, min, sum and many other aggregates.

  • A subscription stream field with where, and cursor arguments.

Views

When you track a view with a database which supports views in Hasura GraphQL Engine, it also automatically generates the same as the above but without the _by_pk fields. Depending on the type of view created, Hasura may not generate the insert, update and delete mutation fields.

Relationships

When you create a relationship between a table/view with another table/view in the Hasura GraphQL Engine, it does the following:

  • Augments the type of the table/view by adding a reference to the nested type to allow fetching nested objects.
  • Augments the where and order_by clauses to allow filtering and sorting based on nested objects.

Resolvers

The Hasura GraphQL Engine does not have any resolvers. The Hasura GraphQL Engine is actually a compiler that compiles your GraphQL query into an efficient SQL query.

Hasura's GraphQL syntax is also optimized to expose the power of the underlying SQL so that you can make optimized queries via GraphQL.

Metadata

Hasura Metadata is the description of the exposed Hasura GraphQL API and all other configuration. All the information required for schema generation is stored by the Hasura GraphQL Engine as Metadata as a JSON blob in a "catalogue" which is a Postgres schema in the specified Metadata database. When using the Hasura CLI, Hasura Metadata is exposed as yaml files which can be checked into version control to keep the your codebase in-sync with your database schema and Hasura changes.

See Metadata format for more details.

Authorization

Hasura uses attribute-based authorization where access control is done by creating rules for each model. For example, in the case of database tables, you can create rules for database operations (select, insert, update, delete) and the permissions that it must enforce in each case. These access control rules use dynamic session variables that are passed to the GraphQL Engine from your authentication service with every request.

Actions

Actions are a way to extend Hasura's schema with REST APIs. You need to provide the schema for the API and the REST API endpoint which is then called for resolving the result.

Remote Schemas

Using Remote Schemas you can add an existing GraphQL API into Hasura. You just have to provide the endpoint for it. Hasura will introspect and merge the API into the existing schema. Additionally, you can provide permissions for the Remote Schemas and create relationships with other models in Hasura too.

Event Triggers

Event Triggers use database triggers to capture DML activity and sends it reliably (at least once) to a configured webhook.

Hasura Cloud

Hasura Cloud empowers you to create highly optimized, managed and massively scalable Hasura instances in seconds and includes extra reliability, monitoring, caching, tracing, security and deployment features. You can also deploy Hasura manually using our Community Edition Docker image which includes all the core features of GraphQL Engine.