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How to use GraphiQL in Rails

lxxxvi profile image Mario ・2 min read

I recently wanted to use graphiql-rails gem to play around with a GraphQL endpoint that I was running in a Rails project.

For some reasons, I was not able to set it up properly since the gem doesn't seem to be working without Rails Asset Pipeline... or may be I was just too lazy to look it up how to make it work.

So I came up with a workaround:


If exists, remove graphiql-rails from Gemfile, then run bundle.

If exist, remove these lines from ./config/routes.rb.

if Rails.env.development?
  mount GraphiQL::Rails::Engine, at: "/graphiql", graphql_path: "/your/endpoint"
end

These things may have been auto-generated if you followed the installation instructions from the graphql gem.


Add to ./config/routes.rb

get '/graphiql', to: 'graphiql#index' if Rails.env.development?

This adds a new route /graphiql and maps it to the index action of controller GraphiqlController, which we are going to define next...


Create ./app/controllers/graphiql_controller.rb with this content:

class GraphiqlController < ApplicationController
  layout false

  def index; end
end

We can leave the index method empty, and continue with the view...


Create ./app/views/graphiql/index.html.erb with this content:

<html>
  <head>
    <title>Simple GraphiQL</title>
    <link href="https://unpkg.com/graphiql/graphiql.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
    <%= csrf_meta_tags %>
  </head>
  <body style="margin: 0;">
    <div id="graphiql" style="height: 100vh;"></div>

    <script crossorigin src="https://unpkg.com/react/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
    <script crossorigin src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
    <script crossorigin src="https://unpkg.com/graphiql/graphiql.min.js"></script>

    <script>
      const graphqlEndpointUrl = "<%= graphql_url %>";
      const graphQLFetcher = graphQLParams =>
        fetch(graphqlEndpointUrl, {
          method: 'post',
          headers: {
            'Content-Type': 'application/json',
            'X-CSRF-Token': document.querySelector(`meta[name="csrf-token"]`).content
          },
          body: JSON.stringify(graphQLParams),
        })
          .then(response => response.json())
          .catch(() => response.text());
      ReactDOM.render(
        React.createElement(GraphiQL, { fetcher: graphQLFetcher }),
        document.getElementById('graphiql'),
      );
    </script>
  </body>
</html>

That content originally comes from the official GraphiQL README Page.

It loads the GraphiQL source from a CDN, so you need to be connected to the internet in order to use it.

However, the file has been enriched in 3 locations in order to work with Rails:

  1. <%= csrf_meta_tags %> : This writes the CSRF token as a <meta>-tag, which we are going to use in the AJAX request below.
  2. const graphqlEndpointUrl = "<%= graphql_url %>"; : If your Rails application runs the GraphQL endpoint, its URL will automatically be defined here.
  3. 'X-CSRF-Token': document.querySelector(`meta[name="csrf-token"]`).content : This reads the CSRF token from the <meta>-tag and sends it together with the GraphQL query to the Rails server. If this is missing, Rails will refuse the request with the error ActionController::InvalidAuthenticityToken.

Finally, start the rails server bin/rails s and go to http://localhost:3000/graphiql:

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