GraphQL Terminology

The following is a glossary of common terms and definitions used in GraphQL.


A group of fields specified together (on the client) which can be used in many places in one query or in several queries. For example: name, ID and address could be grouped together in a fragment called EmployeeInfo, and this fragment can be used to request this group of fields in several places in a query.

Inline Fragment

Inline Fragments are elements of queries used to request fields of a Union Type or an Interface Type. Suppose we have a type Thing which is a union of Book and Car – if we want to query a list of Things, we might want to get titles for books and brands for cars, which are fields that only make sense for these individual types respectively. So with inline fragments we can write something like this:
   allThings {
      ... on Book {
      ... on Car {

Root Type

Root types are GraphQL types which allow us to reach all the other types: they are the starting points for queries and appear as the entry points to explore from in the GraphiQL explorer. There are three root types: Query, Mutation, Subscription. For example, we can reach all of the specific query types possible from the root type called Query.

Union Type

A union type or simply union in GraphQL is a type made up of several other types. For example, we can define a type Pet to be a union of Cat and Dog. This would mean that Pet type objects can be either Cat or Dog objects, with potentially different fields. The syntax is:

union Pet = Cat | Dog


Indicating deprecation of a field in a GraphQL Schema

The GraphQL Schema Language provides a very handy feature to indicate that a field has been deprecated. This will show as a prominent text box on auto-complete in the query builder in GraphiQL, as well as in the documentation explorer. This is a great way to indicate to developers using your GraphQL API that code using a field should  ideally be changed. The reason for deprecation can be included as an annotation right in the schema itself!

In the following schema, we have indicated that the field topic is deprecated for the Book type:

type Book {
   id: Int!,
   title: String,
   topic: String @deprecated (reason: "Field is no longer needed")

When we explore the schema with GraphiQL, the deprecation message will display when viewing the field.

The best way to install the latest Node.js on Ubuntu

There are many ways to install Node, but for the latest version you cannot use apt install or apt-get install.

The best way is to use the Node Version Manager (nvm) to install Node.

Note that there is no Ubuntu package for nvm and nvm is not a regular binary, but rather a shell function.

Note also that nvm is not meant to be used with sudo ! The install will be for your current regular user.

Before installing: make sure to have a .bash_profile file in your home directory.

The following steps will install nvm and node (and hence npm).

curl -o- | bash

Reload your terminal.

Find the latest version listed by the following command:

nvm ls-remote

At the time of writing the latest was 9.5.0, so:

nvm install 9.5.0

nvm use 9.5.0

Check that the latest versions of node and npm are ready:

node -v

npm -v

Installing and Running PostGraphQL

PostGraphQL will provide GraphQL access automatically to your data stored in a PostgreSQL database.

Assuming we have PostgreSQL installed already with at least one database created but we don’t have Node yet – install Node Version Manager (nvm), the latest version of Node.js and PostGraphQL:

curl -o- | bash

nvm install node 

npm install -g postgraphql

Assuming we have a database called my_database and a user my_database_usr, in one terminal run the PostGraphQL server:

postgraphql -c "postgres://my_database_usr:password@localhost:5432/my_database"

The server should be running on port 5000 on localhost.

Note: make sure you have a PostgreSQL version newer than 9.4 or else you will see this error:

error: function pg_catalog.pg_relation_is_updatable(oid, boolean) does not exist

In another terminal, send an HTTP POST request to see what data is available:

curl -X POST "http://localhost:5000/graphql" -H "Content-type: application/json" -d "{\"query\": \"{__schema{types{name}}}\"}"

The following example query assumes a table “books” with a field “title” in my_database. The cURL command is below:

curl -X POST "http://localhost:5000/graphql" -H "Content-type: application/json" -d "{\"query\": \"{allBooks{edges{node{title}}}}\"}"

In a browser you can also explore the data with GraphiQL at:



Vim Command List

A list of useful vim (vi) editing commands.



Replace entire line: delete and enter input mode.

:r filename

Paste contents of filename into current file.


Write file and exit. Short for :wq