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Add GraphQL to a NestJS API in a Nx Workspace


In this tutorial, we add GraphQL functionality to the API using the @nestjs/graphql package.

GraphQL is a specification for a strongly-typed query language for API's, and is well-supported by NestJS. If you're not familiar with GraphQL you can read this introduction.

1. Install and configure the @nestjs/graphql package.

In order to use GraphQL, we need to install the dependencies and configure the GraphQLModule.

1.1 Install the dependencies

yarn add @nestjs/graphql graphql-tools graphql apollo-server-express

We install the apollo-server-express dependency because NestJS uses express by default. Next to Express there is also support for Fastify.

1.2 Import the Module

Open libs/core/src/lib/core.module.ts and add the following lint on the top:

import { GraphQLModule } from "@nestjs/graphql";

Next, add the GraphQLModule to the imports array in the Module decorator:

  imports: [
    // The ConfigModule lives here
      autoSchemaFile: true
  // The controllers, providers, exports arrays live here.
export class CoreModule {}

To initialize the GraphQLModule, we invoke the forRoot() method and pass it an object with the property autoSchemaFile set to true.

Setting autoSchemaFile set to true enables the code-first approach, which means that we can define our GraphQL schema by writing TypeScript classes with decorators, and NestJS will generate the actual GraphQL schema file based on that.

2 Add a Resolver

When you restart the dev server, you will get an error:

GraphQLError: Query root type must be provided.

This is because a GraphQL server must have at least one Query defined, and currently we have none. Time to add one and make the server run again!

2.1 Implement the CoreResolver

Create the file libs/core/src/lib/core.resolver.ts and add the following snippet:

import { Float, Query, Resolver } from "@nestjs/graphql";

export class CoreResolver {
  @Query(() => Float)
  uptime() {
    return process.uptime();

This class, that is decorated with the @Resolver() decorator, that has two functions:

  • It defines which GraphQL queries exists, and what type these queries returns.
  • It defines which code to execute when this query is invoked.

The queries can be defined by adding the @Query decorator to a method. The decorator will, by default, use the name of the method that is decorated, so our first query is called uptime. Inside the decorator is an anonymous function that returns the type, in our case this is a Float.

Inside the method body we simply return process.uptime(), which returns the uptime of the server.

πŸ’‘ Make sure to import the Query decorator from the @nestjs/graphql package. The @nestjs/common package also exports a Query decorator, but that one is uses for REST API's.

2.2 Provide the CoreResolver in the CoreModule

Open libs/core/src/lib/core.module.ts and add the following lint on the top:

import { CoreResolver } from "./core.resolver";

Next, add the CoreResolver to the providers array in the Module decorator:

  // The imports and controllers live here
  providers: [CoreResolver]
  // The exports live here
export class CoreModule {}

With this in place, the server should start again!

Visit http://localhost:3000/graphql to load the GraphQL Playground.

To test it, add the following query in the left-hand panel and click the Play button. The output should be similar to what you see in the screenshot.

query {

Alt Text


In this tutorial, we added support for GraphQL to our API.

After installing the dependencies, we configured the GraphQLModule in the CoreModule.

Because a GraphQL server always needs at least one query, we implemented a resolver called CoreResolver and exposed a simple query called uptime.

To verify that this all worked, we launched the playground and tested the query.

In the next tutorial, the last one of this series, we will expose our server to Heroku! Stay tuned!


Thanks for reading my article, I hope it was useful. Feel free to reach out and follow me on Twitter or leave a comment on DEV! 🐝

Top comments (2)

hinogi profile image
Stefan Schneider • Edited

It seems that the GraphQL step does not work currently
Expected undefined to be a GraphQL schema.
is what I get

Solution is to downgrade graphql to v15

msreekm profile image
sreekumar menon

make sure to downgrade graphql version to get this working!
npm i @nestjs/graphql graphql@^15 apollo-server-express