Using ResolverResult

In the simplest case, a field resolver will do its job, resolving a value, simply by returning the value.

However, there are several other scenarios:

  • There may be errors associated with the field which must be communicated back to Lacinia (for the top-level :errors key in the result map)
  • A field resolver may want to introduce changes into the application context as a way of communicating to deeply nested field resolvers
  • A field resolver may operate asynchronously, and want to return a promise for data that will be available in the future

Field resolvers should not throw exceptions; instead, if there is a problem generating the resolved value, they should use the com.walmartlabs.lacinia.resolve/resolve-as function to return a ResolverResult value.

When using resolve-as, you may pass the error map as the second parameter (which is optional). This first parameter is the resolved value, which may be nil.

Errors will be exposed as the top-level :errors key of the execution result.

Error maps must contain at a minimum a :message key with a value of type String.

You may specify other keys and values as you wish, but these values will be part of the ultimate result map, so they should be both concise and safe for the transport medium. Generally, this means not to include values that can’t be converted into JSON values.

In the result map, error maps are transformed; they contain the :message key, as well as :locations, :path, and (sometimes) :extensions.

{:data {:hero {:friends [nil nil nil]}}
 :errors [{:message "Non-nullable field was null."
           :locations [{:line 1
                        :column 20}]
           :path [:hero :friends :arch_enemy]}]}

The :locations key identifies where in the query document, as a line and column address, the error occured. It’s value is an array (normally, a single value) of location maps; each location map has :line and :column keys.

The :path associates the error with a location in the result data; this is seq of the names of fields (or aliases for fields). Some elements of the path may be numeric indices into sequences, for fields of type list. These indices are zero based.

Any additional keys in the error map are collected into the :extensions key (which is only present when the error map has such keys).

The order in which errors appear in the :errors key of the result map is not specified; however, Lacinia does remove duplicate errors.

Tagging Resolvers

If you write a function that always returns a ResolverResult, you should set the tag of the function to be com.walmartlabs.lacinia.resolve/ResolverResult. Doing so enables an optimization inside Lacinia - it can skip the code that checks to see if the function did in fact return a ResolverResult and wrap it in a ResolverResult if not.

Unfortunately, because of how Clojure handles function meta-data, you need to write your function as follows:

(require '[com.walmartlabs.lacinia.resolve :refer [resolve-as ResolverResult]])

(def tagged-resolver
  ^ResolverResult (fn [context args value]
                    (resolve-as ...)))

This places the type tag on the function, not on the symbol (as normally happens with defn).

It doesn’t matter whether the function invokes resolve-as or resolve-promise, but returning nil or a bare value from a field resolver tagged with ResolverResult will cause runtime exceptions, so be careful.

Default Resolvers

When a field does not have an explicit resolver in the schema, a default resolver is provided by Lacinia (this is just one of the many operations that occur when compiling a schema); ultimately, every field has a resolver, but the vast majority are these default resolvers.

The resolver maps the field name directly to a map key; a field named user_name will default to a keyword key, :user_name.

Nested Resolver Results

Normally, a field resolver for a non-scalar field returns a map; the map is recusively selected by any nested fields (a field with a list type will return a seq of raw values).

It is allowed that nested values are themselves ResolverResult instances; this is an alternative to defining resolvers for the nested fields, and only really makes sense for a ResolverResultPromise (an asynchronous result).

This has an advantages: there’s no need to define additional resolvers, and in some cases, no need to pass extra state in the context needed by the nested resolvers.

The disadvantage is that the field in question may not be selected in the query and the asynchronous work being performed will simply be discarded.