Step 4: Customizing Queries

View the Diff

So far, we’ve done fairly straightforward queries. If a user filters on first_name:


We’ll query the equivalent database column:

Employee.where(first_name: 'Foo')

But what if there’s more complex logic? Let’s say we want to sort Employees on their title - which comes from the positions table. How would that work?

The Rails Stuff 🚂

First, we need to get data for an Employee’s current position. Let’s start by defining what current means

# app/models/position.rb
scope :current, -> { where(historical_index: 1) }

See the ActiveRecord Scopes documentation if you’re unfamiliar with this concept.

Reference this scope in a new association:

has_one :current_position,
  -> { current },
  class_name: 'Position'

Before moving on, let’s review what we need to do. The ActiveRecord code for sorting Employees on their current position’s title would be:

Employee.joins(:current_position).merge(Position.order(title: :asc))

Let’s wire this up to Graphiti:

The Graphiti Stuff 🎨

We’re only going to sort and filter on the title attribute - never display or persist. So start by defining the attribute as such:

attribute :title, :string, only: [:filterable, :sortable]

Then the sort DSL to place our custom query:

# app/resources/employee_resource.rb
sort :title do |scope, direction|
  scope.joins(:current_position).merge(Position.order(title: direction))

That’s it! When a request to sort on the title comes in, we’ll alter our scope to join on the positions table, and order based on the current position title.

The solution for filtering is similar:

# app/resources/employee_resource.rb
filter :title do
  eq do |scope, value|
    scope.joins(:current_position).merge(Position.where(title: value))

We can now filter on title:


Let’s do one more example - how would we order Employees by department name? We could start the same way:

attribute :department_name, :string, only: [:sortable]

But if we’re only sorting, this is actually redundant. Whenever we use the sort or filter DSL, we’re just creating a sort-only or filter-only attribute under the hood. So let’s define everything in one shot:

sort :department_name, :string do |scope, value|
  scope.joins(current_position: :department)
    .merge(Department.order(name: value))

Remember: you only need to pass the type as the second argument when an attribute doesn’t already exist. And if you ever get an error saying something is unfilterable or unsortable, check to see if you’ve already defined a filter-only or sort-only attribute using these methods.

Digging Deeper 🧐

There’s a critical part of Graphiti that makes everything easier: start by imagining it doesn’t exist.

In other words, the meat of the logic above had nothing to do with Graphiti code - we’re simply “wiring up” independent ActiveRecord queries. If you’re ever confused about query logic, get things working without Graphiti first.

We could have changed the above to ActiveRecord scopes like .order_by_title(title), making the wiring code even simpler. Consider doing this when the logic is reusable or particlar complex, but be aware of the tradeoffs of double-testing units.