Relay expresses one-to-many relationships with connections. Connections support pagination, filtering and metadata in a robust way.

graphql-ruby includes built-in connection support for Array, ActiveRecord::Relations, and Sequel::Datasets. You can define custom connection classes to expose other collections with GraphQL.

Connection fields

To define a connection field, use the connection helper. For a return type, get a type’s .connection_type. The resolve proc should return a collection (eg, Array or ActiveRecord::Relation) without pagination. (The connection will paginate the collection).

For example:

PostType = GraphQL::ObjectType.define do
  # `Post#comments` returns an ActiveRecord::Relation
  # The GraphQL field returns a Connection
  connection :comments, CommentType.connection_type
  # `Post#similar_posts` returns an Array
  connection :similarPosts, PostType.connection_type, property: :similar_posts

  # ...

You can also define custom arguments and a custom resolve function for connections, just like other fields:

connection :featured_comments, CommentType.connection_type do
  # Add an argument:
  argument :since, types.String

  # Return an Array or ActiveRecord::Relation
  resolve ->(post, args, ctx) {
    comments = post.comments.featured

    if args[:since]
      comments = comments.where("created_at >= ", args[:since])


Maximum Page Size

You can limit the number of results with max_page_size::

connection :featured_comments, CommentType.connection_type, max_page_size: 50

In addition, you can set a global default for all connection that do not specify a max_page_size:

MySchema = GraphQL::Schema.define do
  default_max_page_size 100

Connection types

You can customize a connection type with .define_connection:

# Make a customized connection type
PostConnectionWithTotalCountType = PostType.define_connection do
  name "PostConnectionWithTotalCount"
  field :totalCount do
    type types.Int
    # - `obj` is the Connection
    # - `obj.nodes` is the collection of Posts
    resolve ->(obj, args, ctx) { obj.nodes.count }

Now, you can use PostConnectionWithTotalCountType to define a connection with the “totalCount” field:

AuthorType = GraphQL::ObjectType.define do
  # Use the custom connection type:
  connection :posts, PostConnectionWithTotalCountType

This way, you can query your custom fields, for example:

  author(id: 1) {
    posts {
      totalCount    # <= Your custom field

Custom edge types

If you need custom fields on edges, you can define an edge type and pass it to a connection:

# Person => Membership => Team
MembershipSinceEdgeType = TeamType.define_edge do
  name "MembershipSinceEdge"
  field :memberSince, types.Int, "The date that this person joined this team" do
    resolve ->(obj, args, ctx) {
      obj # => GraphQL::Relay::Edge instance
      person = obj.parent
      team = obj.node
      membership = Membership.where(person: person, team: team).first

Then, pass the edge type when defining the connection type:

TeamMembershipsConnectionType = TeamType.define_connection(edge_type: MembershipSinceEdgeType) do
  # Use a name so it doesn't conflict with "TeamConnection"
  name "TeamMembershipsConnection"

Now, you can query custom fields on the edge:

  me {
    teams {
      edge {
        memberSince     # <= Here's your custom field
        node {
          teamName: name

Custom Edge classes

For more robust custom edges, you can define a custom edge class. It will be obj in the edge type’s resolve function. For example, to define a membership edge:

# Make sure to familiarize yourself with GraphQL::Relay::Edge --
# you have to avoid naming conflicts here!
class MembershipSinceEdge < GraphQL::Relay::Edge
  # Cache `membership` to avoid multiple DB queries
  def membership
    @membership ||= begin
      # "parent" and "node" are passed in from the surrounding Connection,
      # See `Edge#initialize` for details
      person = self.parent
      team = self.node
      Membership.where(person: person, team: team).first

  def member_since

  def leader?

Then, hook it up with custom edge type and custom connection type:

# Person => Membership => Team
MembershipSinceEdgeType = BaseType.define_edge do
  name "MembershipSinceEdge"
  field :memberSince, types.Int, "The date that this person joined this team", property: :member_since
  field :isPrimary, types.Boolean, "Is this person the team leader?", property: :primary?

TeamMembershipsConnectionType = TeamType.define_connection(
    edge_class: MembershipSinceEdge,
    edge_type: MembershipSinceEdgeType,
  ) do
  # Use a name so it doesn't conflict with "TeamConnection"
  name "TeamMembershipsConnection"

Connection objects

Maybe you need to make a connection object yourself (for example, to return a connection type from a mutation). You can create a connection object like this:

items = [...]     # your collection objects
args = {}         # stub out arguments for this connection object
connection_class = GraphQL::Relay::BaseConnection.connection_for_nodes(items), args)

.connection_for_nodes will return RelationConnection or ArrayConnection depending on items, then you can make a new connection

For specifying a connection based on an ActiveRecord::Relation or Sequel::Dataset:

object = {}       # your newly created object
items = [...]     # your AR or Sequel collection
args = {}         # stub out arguments for this connection object
items_connection =
edge =, items_connection)

Additionally, connections may be provided with the GraphQL::Field that created them. This may be used for custom introspection or instrumentation. For example,

  Schema.get_field(TodoListType, "todos")
  # => #<GraphQL::Field name="todos">
  # => #<GraphQL::Field name="todos">
  # although this one may not work with fields on interfaces

Custom connections

You can define a custom connection class and add it to GraphQL::Relay.

First, define the custom connection:

require "set" # From Ruby's standard library
class SetConnection < BaseConnection
  # derive a cursor from `item`
  def cursor_from_node(item)
    # ...

  # apply `#first` & `#last` to limit results
  def paged_nodes
    # ...

  # apply cursor, order, filters, etc
  # to get a subset of matching objects
  def sliced_nodes
    # ...

Then, register the new connection with GraphQL::Relay::BaseConnection:

# When exposing a `Set`, use `SetConnection`:
GraphQL::Relay::BaseConnection.register_connection_implementation(Set, SetConnection)

At runtime, GraphQL::Relay will use SetConnection to expose Sets.

Creating connection fields by hand

If you need lower-level access to Connection fields, you can create them programmatically. Given a GraphQL::Field which returns a collection of items, you can turn it into a connection field with ConnectionField.create.

For example, to wrap a field with a connection field:

field =
# ... define the field
connection_field = GraphQL::Relay::ConnectionField.create(field)


By default, cursors are encoded in base64 to make them opaque to a human client. You can specify a custom encoder with Schema#cursor_encoder. The value should be an object which responds to .encode(plain_text, nonce:) and .decode(encoded_text, nonce: false).

For example, to use URL-safe base-64 encoding:

module URLSafeBase64Encoder
  def self.encode(txt, nonce: false)

  def self.decode(txt, nonce: false)

MySchema = GraphQL::Schema.define do
  # ...

Now, all connections will use URL-safe base-64 encoding.

From a connection instance, the cursor_encoders methods available via GraphQL::Relay::BaseConnection#encode and GraphQL::Relay::BaseConnection#decode