⚠ New Class-Based API ⚠

This describes a new API in v1.8.0. Check the upgrade notes for more info.


GraphQL object types are the bread and butter of GraphQL APIs. Each object has fields which expose data and may be queried by name. For example, we can query a User like this:

user {

And get back values like this:

  "user" => {
    "handle" => "rmosolgo",
    "email" => nil,

Generally speaking, GraphQL object types correspond to models in your application, like User, Product, or Comment. Sometimes, object types are described using the GraphQL Schema Definition Language (SDL):

type User {
  email: String
  handle: String!
  friends: [User!]!

This means that User objects have three fields:

The same object can be defined using Ruby:

class User < GraphQL::Schema::Object
  field :email, String, null: true
  field :handle, String, null: false
  field :friends, [User], null: false

The rest of this guide will describe how to define GraphQL object types in Ruby. To learn more about GraphQL object types in general, see the GraphQL docs.

Object classes

Classes extending GraphQL::Schema::Object describe Object types and customize their behavior.

Object fields can be created with the field(...) class method, described in detail below

Field and argument names should be underscored as a convention. They will be converted to camelCase in the underlying GraphQL type and be camelCase in the schema itself.

# first, somewhere, a base class:
class Types::BaseObject < GraphQL::Schema::Object

# then...
class Types::TodoList < Types::BaseObject
  description "A list of items which may be completed"

  field :name, String, "The unique name of this list", null: false
  field :is_completed, String, "Completed status depending on all tasks being done.", null: false
  # Related Object:
  field :owner, Types::User, "The creator of this list", null: false
  # List field:
  field :viewers, [Types::User], "Users who can see this list", null: false
  # Connection:
  field :items, Types::TodoItem.connection_type, "Tasks on this list", null: false do
    argument :status, TodoStatus, "Restrict items to this status", required: false


Object fields expose data about that object or connect the object to other objects. You can add fields to your object types with the field(...) class method, for example:

field :name, String, "The unique name of this list", null: false

The different elements of field definition are addressed below:

Field Return Type

The second argument to field(...) is the return type. This can be:

Nullability is expressed with the required null: keyword:

Additionally, list types maybe nullable by adding [..., null: true] to the definition.

Here are some examples:

field :name, String, null: true # `String`, may return a `String` or `nil`
field :id, ID, null: false # `ID!`, always returns an `ID`, never `nil`
field :teammates, [Types::User], null: false # `[User!]!`, always returns a list containing `User`s
field :scores, [Integer, null: true], null: true # `[Int]`, may return a list or `nil`, the list may contain a mix of `Integer`s and `nil`s

Field Documentation

Fields maybe documented with a description and may be deprecated.

Descriptions can be added with the field(...) method as a positional argument, a keyword argument, or inside the block:

# 3rd positional argument
field :name, String, "The name of this thing", null: false
# `description:` keyword
field :name, String, null: false, description: "The name of this thing"
# inside the block
field :name, String, null: false do
  description "The name of this thing"

Deprecated fields can be marked by adding a deprecation_reason: keyword argument:

field :email, String, null: true, deprecation_reason: "Users may have multiple emails, use `User.emails` instead."

Fields with a deprecation_reason: will appear as “deprecated” in GraphiQL.

Field Resolution

In general, fields return Ruby values corresponding to their GraphQL return types. For example, a field with the return type String should return a Ruby string, and a field with the return type [User!]! should return a Ruby array with zero or more User objects in it.

By default, fields return values by:

The method name or hash key corresponds to the field name, so in this example:

field :top_score, Integer, null: false

The default behavior is to look for a #top_score method, or lookup a Hash key, :top_score (symbol) or "top_score" (string).

You can override the method name with the method: keyword, or override the hash key with the hash_key: keyword, for example:

# Use the `#best_score` method to resolve this field
field :top_score, Integer, null: false, method: :best_score
# Lookup `hash["allPlayers"]` to resolve this field
field :players, [User], null: false, hash_key: "allPlayers"

If you don’t want to delegate to the underlying object, you can define a method for each field:

# Use the custom method below to resolve this field
field :total_games_played, Integer, null: false

def total_games_played

Inside the method, you can access some helper methods:

Additionally, when you define arguments (see below), they’re passed to the method definition, for example:

# Call the custom method with incoming arguments
field :current_winning_streak, Integer, null: false do
  argument :include_ties, Boolean, required: false, default_value: false

def current_winning_streak(include_ties:)
  # Business logic goes here

Field Arguments

Arguments allow fields to take input to their resolution. For example:

Arguments can be expressed in the SDL:

type User {
  # This user's transaction history, after `since` if present.
  transactions(since: DateTime): [Transaction!]!

Arguments are typed, so each argument takes a certain kind of data. Only a few types are valid inputs:

(Objects, interfaces, and unions are not valid input types.)

To add arguments to fields, use the argument(...) method, inside a block:

field :transactions, [Types::Transaction], null: false do
  argument :since, Types::DateTime, required: false

If an argument has required: true, then all queries to the field must provide a value for that argument. required: false means that the argument is optional. (This is called nullability in GraphQL.)

Arguments can also accept a description and a default_value:, for example:

field :transactions, [Types::Transaction], null: false do
  # Description is added after the type name or the `description:` keyword argument
  # By default, `isCompleted: true` will be used
  argument :is_completed, Boolean, "Filter by completed/incompleted status", required: false, default: true

During field resolution, arguments are passed to the object’s method. So, for transactions above:

# In GraphQL, `transactions(isCompleted: true)` will become:
def transactions(is_completed:)
  p is_completed
  # => true
  # ...

So, each argument corresponds to a keyword in the method. Inside the method, you can use those values to search, filter and perform business logic for your field.

Extra Field Metadata

Inside a field method, you can access some low-level objects from the GraphQL-Ruby runtime. Be warned, these APIs are subject to change, so check the changelog when updating.

A few extras are available:

To inject them into your field method, first, add the extras: option to the field definition:

field :my_field, String, null: false, extras: [:irep_node]

Then add irep_node: keyword to the method signature:

def my_field(irep_node:)
  # ...

At runtime, the requested runtime object will be passed to the field.

Field Parameter Default Values

The field method requires you to pass null: keyword argument to determine whether the field is nullable or not. Another field you may want to overrid is camelize, which is true by default. You can override this behavior by adding a custom field.

class CustomField < GraphQL::Schema::Field
  # Add `null: false` and `camelize: false` which provide default values 
  # in case the caller doesn't pass anything for those arguments. 
  # **kwargs is a catch-all that will get everything else 
  def initialize(*args, null: false, camelize: false, **kwargs, &block)
    # Then, call super _without_ any args, where Ruby will take 
    # _all_ the args originally passed to this method and pass it to the super method.

Implementing interfaces

If an object implements any interfaces, they can be added with implements, for example:

# This object implements some interfaces:
implements GraphQL::Relay::Node.interface
implements Types::UserAssignableType

When an object implements interfaces, it:

Read more about interfaces in the Interfaces guide