Super Simple GraphQL with Node

Super Simple GraphQL with Node

In this tutorial, I'll be showing you how simple it is to get a fully featured GraphQL server up and running in Node.js with Apollo Server.

In this tutorial, I'll be showing you how simple it is to get a fully featured GraphQL server up and running in Node.js with Apollo Server.

GraphQL is a specification and therefore language agnostic. When it comes GraphQL development with node, there are various options available ranging from graphql-js, express-graphql to apollo-server. In this tutorial, I’ll be showing you how simple it is to get a fully featured GraphQL server up and running in Node.js with Apollo Server.

Table of Contents

Since the lauch of Apollo Server 2, creating GraphQL server with Apollo Server has gotten a lot easier, to to mention the other features that came with it. For the purpose of demonstration, we’ll be building a GraphQL server for a simple recipe app.


This tutorial assumes the following:

What is GraphQL?

GraphQL is a declarative data fetching specification and query language for APIs. It was created by Facebook. GraphQL is an effective alternative to REST, as it was created to overcome some of the shortcomings of REST like under/over fetching.

How does it work?

Unlike REST, GraphQL uses one endpoint. So basically, we make one request to the endpoint and we’ll get one response as JSON. This JSON response can contain as little or as much data as we want. Like REST, GraphQL can be operated over HTTP, though GraphQL is protocol agnostic.

A typical GraphQL server is comprised of schema and resolvers. A schema (or GraphQL schema) contains type definitions that would make up a GraphQL API. A type definition contains field(s), each with what it is expected to return. Each field is mapped to a function on the GraphQL server called a resolver. Resolvers contains the implementation logic and returns data for a field. Other words, schema contains type definition, while resolvers contains the actual implementations.

Setting up the database

We’ll start by setting up our database. To keep things simple and straightforward, we’ll be using SQLite for our database. Also, we’ll be using Sequelize, which is an ORM for Node.js, to interact with our database. First, let’s create a new project:

$ mkdir graphql-recipe-server
$ cd graphql-recipe-server
$ yarn init -y

Next, let’s install Sequelize:

$ yarn add sequelize sequelize-cli sqlite3

In addtion to install Sequelize, we are also installing sqlite3 package for Node.js. To help us scaffold our project, we’ll be using the Sequelize CLI, which we are installing as well.

Let’s scaffold our project with the CLI:

$ node_modules/.bin/sequelize init

This will create following folders:

config: contains config file, which tells Sequelize how to connect with our database. models: contains all models for our project, also contains an index.js file which integrates all the models together. migrations: contains all migration files. seeders: contains all seed files.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we won’t be creating with any seeders. Open config/config.json and replace it content with below:

// config/config.json

  "development": {
    "dialect": "sqlite",
    "storage": "./database.sqlite"

We set the dialect to sqlite and set the storage to point to a SQLite database file.

Next, we need to create the database file directly inside the project’s root directory:

$ touch database.sqlite

Creating models and migrations

With the database set up out of the way, we can start creating the models for our project. Our recipe app will have two models: User and Recipe. We’ll be using the Sequelize CLI for this:

$ node_modules/.bin/sequelize model:create --name User --attributes name:string,email:string,password:string

This is will create a user.js file inside the models directory and a corresponding migration file inside the migrations directory.

Since we don’t want any on the fields on the User model to be nullable, we need to explicitly defined that. Open migrations/XXXXXXXXXXXXXX-create-user.js and update the fields definitions as below:

// migrations/XXXXXXXXXXXXXX-create-user.js

name: {
    allowNull: false,
    type: Sequelize.STRING
email: {
    allowNull: false,
    type: Sequelize.STRING
password: {
    allowNull: false,
    type: Sequelize.STRING

Then we’ll do the same in the User model:

// models/user.js

name: {
    type: DataTypes.STRING,
    allowNull: false
email: {
    type: DataTypes.STRING,
    allowNull: false
password: {
    type: DataTypes.STRING,
    allowNull: false

Next, let’s create the Recipe model:

$ node_modules/.bin/sequelize model:create --name Recipe --attributes title:string,ingredients:text,direction:text

Just as we did with the User model, we’ll do the same for the Recipe model. Open migrations/XXXXXXXXXXXXXX-create-recipe.js and update the fields definitions as below:

// migrations/XXXXXXXXXXXXXX-create-recipe.js

userId: {
    type: Sequelize.INTEGER.UNSIGNED,
    allowNull: false
title: {
    allowNull: false,
    type: Sequelize.STRING
ingredients: {
    allowNull: false,
    type: Sequelize.STRING
direction: {
    allowNull: false,
    type: Sequelize.STRING

You’ll notice we have an additional field: userId, which would hold the ID of the user that created a recipe. More on this shortly.

Update the Recipe model as well:

// models/recipe.js

title: {
    type: DataTypes.STRING,
    allowNull: false
ingredients: {
    type: DataTypes.STRING,
    allowNull: false
direction: {
    type: DataTypes.STRING,
    allowNull: false

To wrap up with our models, let’s define the relationship between them. You might have guessed with the inclusion of the userId column to the recipes table, that we want to be able to associate a recipe to a user and vice-versa. So, we want a one-to-many relationships between our models.

Open models/user.js and update the User.associate function as below:

// models/user.js

User.associate = function (models) {

We need to also define the inverse of the relationship on the Recipe model:

// models/recipe.js

Recipe.associate = function (models) {
    Recipe.belongsTo(models.User, { foreignKey: 'userId' })

By default, Sequelize will use a camel case name from the corresponding model name and its primary key as the foreign key. So in our case, it will expect the foreign key to be UserId. Since we named the column differently, we need to explicitly define the foreignKey on the association.

Now, we can run the migrations:

$ node_modules/.bin/sequelize db:migrate

Creating the GraphQL server

Phew! Let’s get to the GraphQL stuff. As earlier mentioned, we’ll be using Apollo Server for building our GraphQL server. So, let’s install it:

$ yarn add apollo-server graphql bcryptjs

Apollo Server requires graphql as a dependency, hence the need to install it as well. Also, we install bcryptjs, which we’ll use to hash users passwords later on.

With those installed, create a src directory, then within it, create an index.js file and paste the code below in it:

// src/index.js

const { ApolloServer } = require('apollo-server')
const typeDefs = require('./schema')
const resolvers = require('./resolvers')
const models = require('../models')

const server = new ApolloServer({
  context: { models }

  .then(({ url }) => console.log('Server is running on localhost:4000'))

Here, we create a new instance of Apollo Server, passing to it our schema and resolvers (both which we’ll create shortly). We also pass the models as the context to the Apollo Server. This will allow us have access to the models from our resolvers.

Finally, we start the server.

Defining the GraphQL Schema

GraphQL schema is used to define the functionality a GraphQL API would have. Basically, a GraphQL schema is comprised of types. A type can be for defining the structure of our domain specific entity. In addition to defining types for our domain specific entities, we can also define types for GraphQL operations, which will in turn translates to the functionality a GraphQL API will have. These operations are: queries, mutations and subscriptions. Queries are used to perform read operations (fetching of data) on a GraphQL server. Mutations on the other hand are used to perform write operations (inserting, updating or deleting data) on a GraphQL server. Subscriptions are completely different from these two, as they are used to add realtime functionality to a GraphQL server.

We’ll be focusing only on queries and mutations in this tutorial.

Now that we understand what GraphQL schema is, let’s create the schema for our app. Within the src directory, create a schema.js file and paste the code below in it:

// src/schema.js

const { gql } = require('apollo-server')

const typeDefs = gql` `type User {
    id: Int!
    name: String!
    email: String!
    recipes: [Recipe!]!

  type Recipe {
    id: Int!
    title: String!
    ingredients: String!
    direction: String!
    user: User!

  type Query {
    user(id: Int!): User
    allRecipes: [Recipe!]!
    recipe(id: Int!): Recipe

  type Mutation {
    createUser(name: String!, email: String!, password: String!): User!
      userId: Int!
      title: String!
      ingredients: String!
      direction: String!
    ): Recipe!

module.exports = typeDefs

First, we pull in the gql package from apollo-server. Then we use it to define our schema. Ideally, we’d want to our GraphQL schema to mirror our database schema as much as possible. So we define to types: User and Recipe, which corresponds to our models. On the User type, in addition to defining the fields we have on the User model, we also define a recipes fields, which will be used to retrieve the user’s recipes. Same with the Recipe type, we define a user field, which will be used to get the user of a recipe.

Next, we define three queries; for fetching a single user, for fetching all recipes that have been created and for fetching a single recipe respectively. Both the user and recipe queries can either return a user or recipe respectively or return null if no corresponding match was found for the ID. The allRecipes query will always return a array of recipes, which might be empty if no recipe as been created yet.

Lastly, we define mutations for creating and new user as well as creating a new recipe. Both mutations return back the created user and recipe respectively.

Tips: The ! denotes a field is required, while [] denotes the field will return an array of items.## Creating the resolvers

Resolvers defines how the fields in a schema is executed. In other words, our schema is useless without resolvers. Creating a resolvers.js file inside the src directory and past the following code in it:

// src/resolvers.js

const resolvers = {
    Query: {
        async user (root, { id }, { models }) {
              return models.User.findById(id)
        async allRecipes (root, args, { models }) {
              return models.Recipe.findAll()
        async recipe (root, { id }, { models }) {
              return models.Recipe.findById(id)

module.exports = resolvers

We start by creating the resolvers for our queries. Here, we are making use of the models to perform the necessary queries on the database and simply return the results.

Still inside src/resolvers.js, let’s import bcryptjs at the top of the file:

// src/resolvers.js

const bcrypt = require('bcryptjs')

Then add the code below immediately after the Query object:

// src/resolvers.js

Mutation: {
    async createUser (root, { name, email, password }, { models }) {
        return models.User.create({
            password: await bcrypt.hash(password, 10)
    async createRecipe (root, { userId, title, ingredients, direction }, { models }) {
        return models.Recipe.create({ userId, title, ingredients, direction })

The createUser mutation accepts the name, email and password of a user, and creates a new record in the database with the supplied details. We make sure to hash the password using the bcrypt package before persisting it to the database. It returns the newly created user. The createRecipe mutation accepts the ID of the user that’s creating the recipe as well as the details for the recipe itself, persists them to the database and returns the newly created recipe.

To wrap up with the resolvers, let’s define how we want our custom fields (recipes on the User and user on Recipe) to be resolved. Add the code below inside src/resolvers.js just immediately the Mutation object:

// src/resolvers.js

User: {
    async recipes (user) {
        return user.getRecipes()
Recipe: {
    async user (recipe) {
        return recipe.getUser()

These uses the methods (getRecipes() , getUser()), which are made available on our models by Sequelize due to the relationships we defined.

Testing our GraphQL server

It’s time to test our GraphQL server out. First, we need to start the server with:

$ node src/index.js

This should be running on http://localhost:4000, and we should see GraphQL Playground running if we access it. Let’s try creating a new recipe:

# create a new recipe

mutation {
    userId: 3
    title: "Sample 2"
    ingredients: "Salt, Pepper"
    direction: "Add salt, Add pepper"
  ) {
    user {

We should see a result as below:


In this tutorial, we looked at how to creating a GraphQL server in Node.js with Apollo Server. We also saw how to integrate a database with a GraphQL server using Sequelize.

How to Use Express.js, Node.js and MongoDB.js

How to Use Express.js, Node.js and MongoDB.js

In this post, I will show you how to use Express.js, Node.js and MongoDB.js. We will be creating a very simple Node application, that will allow users to input data that they want to store in a MongoDB database. It will also show all items that have been entered into the database.

In this post, I will show you how to use Express.js, Node.js and MongoDB.js. We will be creating a very simple Node application, that will allow users to input data that they want to store in a MongoDB database. It will also show all items that have been entered into the database.

Creating a Node Application

To get started I would recommend creating a new database that will contain our application. For this demo I am creating a directory called node-demo. After creating the directory you will need to change into that directory.

mkdir node-demo
cd node-demo

Once we are in the directory we will need to create an application and we can do this by running the command
npm init

This will ask you a series of questions. Here are the answers I gave to the prompts.

The first step is to create a file that will contain our code for our Node.js server.

touch app.js

In our app.js we are going to add the following code to build a very simple Node.js Application.

var express = require("express");
var app = express();
var port = 3000;
app.get("/", (req, res) => {
  res.send("Hello World");
app.listen(port, () => {
  console.log("Server listening on port " + port);

What the code does is require the express.js application. It then creates app by calling express. We define our port to be 3000.

The app.use line will listen to requests from the browser and will return the text “Hello World” back to the browser.

The last line actually starts the server and tells it to listen on port 3000.

Installing Express

Our app.js required the Express.js module. We need to install express in order for this to work properly. Go to your terminal and enter this command.

npm install express --save

This command will install the express module into our package.json. The module is installed as a dependency in our package.json as shown below.

To test our application you can go to the terminal and enter the command

node app.js

Open up a browser and navigate to the url http://localhost:3000

You will see the following in your browser

Creating Website to Save Data to MongoDB Database

Instead of showing the text “Hello World” when people view your application, what we want to do is to show a place for user to save data to the database.

We are going to allow users to enter a first name and a last name that we will be saving in the database.

To do this we will need to create a basic HTML file. In your terminal enter the following command to create an index.html file.

touch index.html

In our index.html file we will be creating an input filed where users can input data that they want to have stored in the database. We will also need a button for users to click on that will add the data to the database.

Here is what our index.html file looks like.

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>Intro to Node and MongoDB<title>

    <h1>Into to Node and MongoDB<&#47;h1>
    <form method="post" action="/addname">
      <label>Enter Your Name<&#47;label><br>
      <input type="text" name="firstName" placeholder="Enter first name..." required>
      <input type="text" name="lastName" placeholder="Enter last name..." required>
      <input type="submit" value="Add Name">

If you are familiar with HTML, you will not find anything unusual in our code for our index.html file. We are creating a form where users can input their first name and last name and then click an “Add Name” button.

The form will do a post call to the /addname endpoint. We will be talking about endpoints and post later in this tutorial.

Displaying our Website to Users

We were previously displaying the text “Hello World” to users when they visited our website. Now we want to display our html file that we created. To do this we will need to change the app.use line our our app.js file.

We will be using the sendFile command to show the index.html file. We will need to tell the server exactly where to find the index.html file. We can do that by using a node global call __dirname. The __dirname will provide the current directly where the command was run. We will then append the path to our index.html file.

The app.use lines will need to be changed to
app.use("/", (req, res) => {   res.sendFile(__dirname + "/index.html"); });

Once you have saved your app.js file, we can test it by going to terminal and running node app.js

Open your browser and navigate to “http://localhost:3000”. You will see the following

Connecting to the Database

Now we need to add our database to the application. We will be connecting to a MongoDB database. I am assuming that you already have MongoDB installed and running on your computer.

To connect to the MongoDB database we are going to use a module called Mongoose. We will need to install mongoose module just like we did with express. Go to your terminal and enter the following command.
npm install mongoose --save

This will install the mongoose model and add it as a dependency in our package.json.

Connecting to the Database

Now that we have the mongoose module installed, we need to connect to the database in our app.js file. MongoDB, by default, runs on port 27017. You connect to the database by telling it the location of the database and the name of the database.

In our app.js file after the line for the port and before the app.use line, enter the following two lines to get access to mongoose and to connect to the database. For the database, I am going to use “node-demo”.

var mongoose = require("mongoose"); mongoose.Promise = global.Promise; mongoose.connect("mongodb://localhost:27017/node-demo");

Creating a Database Schema

Once the user enters data in the input field and clicks the add button, we want the contents of the input field to be stored in the database. In order to know the format of the data in the database, we need to have a Schema.

For this tutorial, we will need a very simple Schema that has only two fields. I am going to call the field firstName and lastName. The data stored in both fields will be a String.

After connecting to the database in our app.js we need to define our Schema. Here are the lines you need to add to the app.js.
var nameSchema = new mongoose.Schema({   firstName: String,   lastNameName: String });

Once we have built our Schema, we need to create a model from it. I am going to call my model “DataInput”. Here is the line you will add next to create our mode.
var User = mongoose.model("User", nameSchema);

Creating RESTful API

Now that we have a connection to our database, we need to create the mechanism by which data will be added to the database. This is done through our REST API. We will need to create an endpoint that will be used to send data to our server. Once the server receives this data then it will store the data in the database.

An endpoint is a route that our server will be listening to to get data from the browser. We already have one route that we have created already in the application and that is the route that is listening at the endpoint “/” which is the homepage of our application.

HTTP Verbs in a REST API

The communication between the client(the browser) and the server is done through an HTTP verb. The most common HTTP verbs are

The following table explains what each HTTP verb does.

HTTP Verb Operation
GET Read
POST Create
PUT Update

As you can see from these verbs, they form the basis of CRUD operations that I talked about previously.

Building a CRUD endpoint

If you remember, the form in our index.html file used a post method to call this endpoint. We will now create this endpoint.

In our previous endpoint we used a “GET” http verb to display the index.html file. We are going to do something very similar but instead of using “GET”, we are going to use “POST”. To get started this is what the framework of our endpoint will look like."/addname", (req, res) => {
Express Middleware

To fill out the contents of our endpoint, we want to store the firstName and lastName entered by the user into the database. The values for firstName and lastName are in the body of the request that we send to the server. We want to capture that data, convert it to JSON and store it into the database.

Express.js version 4 removed all middleware. To parse the data in the body we will need to add middleware into our application to provide this functionality. We will be using the body-parser module. We need to install it, so in your terminal window enter the following command.

npm install body-parser --save

Once it is installed, we will need to require this module and configure it. The configuration will allow us to pass the data for firstName and lastName in the body to the server. It can also convert that data into JSON format. This will be handy because we can take this formatted data and save it directly into our database.

To add the body-parser middleware to our application and configure it, we can add the following lines directly after the line that sets our port.

var bodyParser = require('body-parser');
app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({ extended: true }));
Saving data to database

Mongoose provides a save function that will take a JSON object and store it in the database. Our body-parser middleware, will convert the user’s input into the JSON format for us.

To save the data into the database, we need to create a new instance of our model that we created early. We will pass into this instance the user’s input. Once we have it then we just need to enter the command “save”.

Mongoose will return a promise on a save to the database. A promise is what is returned when the save to the database completes. This save will either finish successfully or it will fail. A promise provides two methods that will handle both of these scenarios.

If this save to the database was successful it will return to the .then segment of the promise. In this case we want to send text back the user to let them know the data was saved to the database.

If it fails it will return to the .catch segment of the promise. In this case, we want to send text back to the user telling them the data was not saved to the database. It is best practice to also change the statusCode that is returned from the default 200 to a 400. A 400 statusCode signifies that the operation failed.

Now putting all of this together here is what our final endpoint will look like."/addname", (req, res) => {
  var myData = new User(req.body);
    .then(item => {
      res.send("item saved to database");
    .catch(err => {
      res.status(400).send("unable to save to database");
Testing our code

Save your code. Go to your terminal and enter the command node app.js to start our server. Open up your browser and navigate to the URL “http://localhost:3000”. You will see our index.html file displayed to you.

Make sure you have mongo running.

Enter your first name and last name in the input fields and then click the “Add Name” button. You should get back text that says the name has been saved to the database like below.

Access to Code

The final version of the code is available in my Github repo. To access the code click here. Thank you for reading !

Node.js for Beginners - Learn Node.js from Scratch (Step by Step)

Node.js for Beginners - Learn Node.js from Scratch (Step by Step)

Node.js for Beginners - Learn Node.js from Scratch (Step by Step) - Learn the basics of Node.js. This Node.js tutorial will guide you step by step so that you will learn basics and theory of every part. Learn to use Node.js like a professional. You’ll learn: Basic Of Node, Modules, NPM In Node, Event, Email, Uploading File, Advance Of Node.

Node.js for Beginners

Learn Node.js from Scratch (Step by Step)

Welcome to my course "Node.js for Beginners - Learn Node.js from Scratch". This course will guide you step by step so that you will learn basics and theory of every part. This course contain hands on example so that you can understand coding in Node.js better. If you have no previous knowledge or experience in Node.js, you will like that the course begins with Node.js basics. otherwise if you have few experience in programming in Node.js, this course can help you learn some new information . This course contain hands on practical examples without neglecting theory and basics. Learn to use Node.js like a professional. This comprehensive course will allow to work on the real world as an expert!
What you’ll learn:

  • Basic Of Node
  • Modules
  • NPM In Node
  • Event
  • Email
  • Uploading File
  • Advance Of Node

Top 7 Most Popular Node.js Frameworks You Should Know

Top 7 Most Popular Node.js Frameworks You Should Know

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, runtime environment that allows developers to run JavaScript outside of a browser. In this post, you'll see top 7 of the most popular Node frameworks at this point in time (ranked from high to low by GitHub stars).

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, runtime environment that allows developers to run JavaScript outside of a browser.

One of the main advantages of Node is that it enables developers to use JavaScript on both the front-end and the back-end of an application. This not only makes the source code of any app cleaner and more consistent, but it significantly speeds up app development too, as developers only need to use one language.

Node is fast, scalable, and easy to get started with. Its default package manager is npm, which means it also sports the largest ecosystem of open-source libraries. Node is used by companies such as NASA, Uber, Netflix, and Walmart.

But Node doesn't come alone. It comes with a plethora of frameworks. A Node framework can be pictured as the external scaffolding that you can build your app in. These frameworks are built on top of Node and extend the technology's functionality, mostly by making apps easier to prototype and develop, while also making them faster and more scalable.

Below are 7of the most popular Node frameworks at this point in time (ranked from high to low by GitHub stars).


With over 43,000 GitHub stars, Express is the most popular Node framework. It brands itself as a fast, unopinionated, and minimalist framework. Express acts as middleware: it helps set up and configure routes to send and receive requests between the front-end and the database of an app.

Express provides lightweight, powerful tools for HTTP servers. It's a great framework for single-page apps, websites, hybrids, or public HTTP APIs. It supports over fourteen different template engines, so developers aren't forced into any specific ORM.


Meteor is a full-stack JavaScript platform. It allows developers to build real-time web apps, i.e. apps where code changes are pushed to all browsers and devices in real-time. Additionally, servers send data over the wire, instead of HTML. The client renders the data.

The project has over 41,000 GitHub stars and is built to power large projects. Meteor is used by companies such as Mazda, Honeywell, Qualcomm, and IKEA. It has excellent documentation and a strong community behind it.


Koa is built by the same team that built Express. It uses ES6 methods that allow developers to work without callbacks. Developers also have more control over error-handling. Koa has no middleware within its core, which means that developers have more control over configuration, but which means that traditional Node middleware (e.g. req, res, next) won't work with Koa.

Koa already has over 26,000 GitHub stars. The Express developers built Koa because they wanted a lighter framework that was more expressive and more robust than Express. You can find out more about the differences between Koa and Express here.


Sails is a real-time, MVC framework for Node that's built on Express. It supports auto-generated REST APIs and comes with an easy WebSocket integration.

The project has over 20,000 stars on GitHub and is compatible with almost all databases (MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Redis). It's also compatible with most front-end technologies (Angular, iOS, Android, React, and even Windows Phone).


Nest has over 15,000 GitHub stars. It uses progressive JavaScript and is built with TypeScript, which means it comes with strong typing. It combines elements of object-oriented programming, functional programming, and functional reactive programming.

Nest is packaged in such a way it serves as a complete development kit for writing enterprise-level apps. The framework uses Express, but is compatible with a wide range of other libraries.


LoopBack is a framework that allows developers to quickly create REST APIs. It has an easy-to-use CLI wizard and allows developers to create models either on their schema or dynamically. It also has a built-in API explorer.

LoopBack has over 12,000 GitHub stars and is used by companies such as GoDaddy, Symantec, and the Bank of America. It's compatible with many REST services and a wide variety of databases (MongoDB, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL).


Similar to Express, hapi serves data by intermediating between server-side and client-side. As such, it's can serve as a substitute for Express. Hapi allows developers to focus on writing reusable app logic in a modular and prescriptive fashion.

The project has over 11,000 GitHub stars. It has built-in support for input validation, caching, authentication, and more. Hapi was originally developed to handle all of Walmart's mobile traffic during Black Friday.