Mutation authorization

Before running a mutation, you probably want to do a few things:

This guide describes how to accomplish that workflow with GraphQL-Ruby.

Checking the user permissions

Before loading any data from the database, you might want to see if the user has a certain permission level. For example, maybe only .admin? users can run Mutation.promoteEmployee.

This check can be implemented using the #before_prepare method in a mutation:

class Mutations::PromoteEmployee < Mutations::BaseMutation
  def before_prepare(**args)
    if !context[:current_user].admin?
      raise GraphQL::ExecutionError, "Only admins can run this mutation"

  # ...

Now, when any non-admin user tries to run the mutation, it won’t run. Instead, they’ll get an error in the response.

Loading and authorizing objects

Often, mutations take IDs as input and use them to load records from the database. GraphQL-Ruby can load IDs for you when you provide a loads: option.

In short, here’s an example:

class Mutations::PromoteEmployee < Mutations::BaseMutation
  # `employeeId` is an ID, Types::Employee is an _Object_ type
  argument :employee_id, ID, required: true, loads: Types::Employee

  # Behind the scenes, `:employee_id` is used to fetch an object from the database,
  # then the object is authorized with `Employee.authorized?`, then
  # if all is well, the object is injected here:
  def resolve(employee:)

It works like this: if you pass a loads: option, it will:

In this case, if the argument value is provided by object_from_id doesn’t return a value, the mutation will fail with an error.

If you don’t want this behavior, don’t use it. Instead, create arguments with type ID and use them your own way, for example:

# No special loading behavior:
argument :employee_id, ID, required: true

Can this user modify this thing?

Sometimes you need to authorize a specific user-object-action combination. For example, .admin? users can’t promote all employees! They can only promote employees which they manage.

You can add this check by implementing a #validate_#{arg_name} method, for example:

def validate_employee(employee)
  if !context[:current_user].manager_of?(employee)
    raise GraphQL::ExecutionError, "You can only promote your _own_ employees"

If this method raises an error, the mutation will be halted.

Finally, doing the work

Now that the user has been authorized in general, data has been loaded, and objects have been validated in particular, you can modify the database using #resolve:

def resolve(employee:)
  if employee.promote
      employee: employee,
      errors: [],
    # See "Mutation Errors" for more:
      errors: employee.errors.full_messages