Subscriptions to show online users

We cruised through our GraphQL queries and mutations. We queried for todos, added a new todo item, updated an existing todo, removed an existing todo item.

Now let's get to the exciting part.

GraphQL Subscriptions

We have a section of UI that displays the list of online users. So far we have made queries to fetch data and display them on the UI. But typically online users' data is dynamic.

We can make use of GraphQL Subscription API to get realtime data from the GraphQL server to efficiently handle this.

But but but...

We need to tell the server that the user who is logged in is online. We have to poll our server to do a mutation which updates the last_seen timestamp value of the user.

We have to make this change to see ourselves online first. Remember that we are already logged in and registered your data in the server, but not updated your last_seen value?

The goal is to update it every few seconds from the client that you are online. Ideally, you should do this after you have successfully authenticated. So let's do it on the entrypoint of the app i.e. lib/screens/tabs/todos/all.dart. We instantiate GraphQLClient. First, let's define the mutation that sets last_seen to the current timestamp. For that create a file named online_fetch.dart inside lib/data and add the code below.

+class OnlineFetch {
+ static String updateStatus =
+ """ mutation updateLastSeen (\$now: timestamptz!) {
+ update_users(where: {}, _set: {last_seen: \$now}) {
+ affected_rows
+ }
+ }""";

Now we shall create a function runOnlineMutation to start polling at regular intervals of 30 sec in our All class (or widget) itself and call that function in init method of the class.

+ static GraphQLClient _client;
+ runOnlineMutation(context) {
+ _client = GraphQLProvider.of(context).value;
+ Future.doWhile(
+ () async {
+ _client.mutate(
+ MutationOptions(
+ documentNode: gql(OnlineFetch.updateStatus),
+ variables: {
+ 'now':,
+ },
+ ),
+ );
+ await Future.delayed(Duration(seconds: 30));
+ return true;
+ },
+ );
+ }
void initState() {
+ WidgetsBinding.instance
+ .addPostFrameCallback((_) => runOnlineMutation(context));

Again, we are making use of _client.mutate to update the users table of the database.

Great! Now the metadata about whether the user is online will be available in the backend. Let's now do the integration to display realtime data of online users.


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