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How to Add Description to your GraphQL Schema Types in C#

pmbanugo profile image Peter Mbanugo Originally published at guides.graphql-dotnet.com ・3 min read

Your schema should be as self-descriptive as possible. There will be times when you want to add documentation describing a type, field, or other definitions you can have in GraphQL. To achieve that, you'll use what is called description in GraphQL. GraphQL descriptions are provided alongside their definitions and made available via introspection. All types in the introspection system provide a description field of type String to allow you to publish documentation and they're defined using Markdown.

For example, a simple schema which returns a list of Book type can be described as follows:

type Book {
  chapters: Int!
  pages: Int!
  title: String!
}

type Query {
  """
  Returns a Book where the argument value is part of the Title of the Book
  """
  book(
    """
    text to search for
    """
    title: String
  ): Book

  """
  Returns a list of `Book` type
  """
  books: [Book]
}

Schema-First

There are different ways to implement this in Hot Chocolate. If you're using schema-first, the schema parser supports the inclusion of description string:

SchemaBuilder.New()
    .AddDocumentFromString(@"
        type Book {
        chapters: Int!
        pages: Int!
        title: String!
        }

        type Query {
            """
            Returns a Book where the argument value is part of the Title of the Book
            """
            book(
                ""text to search for""
                title: String
            ): Book

            """
            Returns a list of `Book` type
            """
            books: [Book]
        }")
    .AddResolver("Query", "book", () => null)
    //TODO: Add other resolvers
    .Create();

Using Attributes

If you build your schema using code-first, you can use attributes to decorate the the types and Hot Chocolate will pick it up. Here's how you'll define the Query type in our example in code-first:

public class Book
{
    [GraphQLNonNullType]
    public string Title { get; set; }
    public int Pages { get; set; }
    public int Chapters { get; set; }
}

public class Query
{
    List<Book> books = new List<Book>{
        new Book {
            Title = "GraphQL Schema Design for the Enterprise",
            Chapters = 4,
            Pages = 450
        },
        new Book {
            Title = "Introductory tutorial to GraphQL",
            Chapters = 9,
            Pages = 1050
        }
    };

    [GraphQLDescription("Returns a list of `Book` type")]
    public IEnumerable<Book> GetBooks() => books;

    [GraphQLDescription("Returns a Book where the argument value is part of the Title of the Book")]
    public Book GetBook([GraphQLDescription("text to search for")]string title) => books.Find(b => b.Title.Contains(title));
}

You'll need to reference the HotChocolate namespace in order to use that attribute (i.e using HotChocolate).

Using Fluent API

If you don't want to sprinkle any of Hot Chocolate's attributes on your domain objects, you can use schema types. You could do this by creating a new class that extends any of Hot Chocolate's schema type. With that you can re-write the example to the code below:

public class Query
{
    //... code goes here

    public IEnumerable<Book> GetBooks() => books;
    public Book GetBook(string title) => books.Find(b => b.Title.Contains(title));
}

public class QueryType : ObjectType<Query>
{
    protected override void Configure(IObjectTypeDescriptor<Query> descriptor)
    {
        descriptor.Field(f => f.GetBooks()).Description("Returns a list of `Book` type");
        descriptor.Field(f => f.GetBook(default))
            .Description("Returns a Book where the argument value is part of the Title of the Book")
            .Argument("title", argDescriptor => argDescriptor
                    .Description("text to search for"));
    }
}

You'll need to reference the HotChocolate.Types namespace by putting using HotChocolate.Types; at the top of the file.

Using XML Documentation

You can also use XML documentation comments to add descriptions but I prefer to use attributes or the fluent configuration. Read the docs if you'd like to see how to configure your project so that it uses XML documentation comments as descriptions.

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Peter Mbanugo

@pmbanugo

Software Developer with experience building web apps and services in JS and C#. I'm passionate about building quality software, with interest area around Offline First and Software Architecture.

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