Skip to main content
Version: Next

Migrating custom plugins

If you've written some PostGraphile V4 plugins by hand (not using one of the make...Plugin helpers) then this migration guide is for you. We'll step you through some of the key changes.


It is very strongly recommended that you write plugins in TypeScript. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. A lot of work has gone into making the plugin and configuration system strongly typed so that you gain auto-complete and documentation on every option, this should make your plugin authoring experience much easier than in V4.
  2. Since the plugin and configuration system is strongly typed, if you do not extend these types when you're writing your plugin, users that use TypeScript will not be able to supply your configuration options easily.

Since your plugin will likely add attributes to various shared object types, we use declaration merging heavily. Declaration merging allows you to add additional attributes to existing TypeScript interfaces. You should familiarize yourself with declaration merging in the TypeScript documentation if you are not already familiar.

To avoid problems that come from having multiple versions of the same module thanks to the many and varied package managers (and versions thereof) all having their own ideas about which modules should be installed where, we merge into globally scoped namespaces. The main roots for these namespaces that you'll work with are GraphileConfig and GraphileBuild.

Many of the types need to be converted, here's a few:

  • import("graphile-build").Build -> GraphileBuild.Build
  • import("graphile-build").Plugin -> GraphileConfig.Plugin (the inflection, gather and schema scopes therein)
  • import("postgraphile").PostGraphilePlugin -> GraphileConfig.Plugin (the grafast and grafserv scopes therein)
  • import("postgraphile").PostGraphileOptions -> GraphileConfig.Preset (split across the various scopes therein)

No look-ahead

Graphile Build no longer has a look-ahead engine, instead it uses Grafast plans. (You should familiarize yourself with Grafast's documentation.)


During the early access period you'll need to enter helping2test to get into the above website. You are helping to test, right?

That means all of the APIs that related to "data generators" and the QueryBuilder and similar no longer exist:

  • 🚮 QueryBuilder
  • 🚮 getDataFromParsedResolveInfoFragment
  • 🚮 addDataGenerator
  • 🚮 addArgDataGenerator
  • 🚮 queryFromResolveData
  • 🚮 selectGraphQLResultFromTable

Similarly you should no longer use resolvers since Grafast plan resolvers replace both of these needs. (You can use traditional resolvers with Grafast, but they lose many of the benefits of plan resolvers. Further, a Grafast plan that does not use any traditional resolvers is considered "pure", so your plugin should aim to not "taint" your users' schemas.)

The good news is that Grafast plan resolvers are typically much (much) shorter and easier to read, write and understand compared to the chaotic mess that was V4's look-ahead system. We'll look at this a bit more in Plans below.

Type registration

In V4 you could define types in an ad-hoc manner as and when you needed them using the newWithHooks() function, but this caused havoc at runtime because it meant that sometimes a type didn't already exist when you needed it they were very dependent on ordering. This was particularly obvious when using makeExtendSchemaPlugin and trying to use auto-generated types that may or may not exist yet. Worse still, plugins that built types only if a type with that name didn't already exist could get tricked into using an incompatible type!

In V5, all types must be registered by name during the init hook. The types still are not created until they are needed (and may not be created at all), but their names and spec generation functions must be registered ahead of time. This means that when building fields and arguments you can always reference a type by its name (using build.getTypeByName('TypeNameHere')).

Instead of build.newWithHooks you should use the registration methods (note that instead of passing the constructor as you did in build.newWithHooks, you choose the correctly named function):

  • build.registerObjectType(typeName, scope, specCallback, origin)
  • build.registerInterfaceType(typeName, scope, specCallback, origin)
  • build.registerUnionType(typeName, scope, specCallback, origin)
  • build.registerScalarType(typeName, scope, specCallback, origin)
  • build.registerEnumType(typeName, scope, specCallback, origin)
  • build.registerInputObjectType(typeName, scope, specCallback, origin)

They each take 4 arguments:

  • typeName is the (unique) name of the type (this would typically come from an inflector)
  • scope is an object with any GraphileBuild.Scope data relevant to this hook, useful for other plugins to register hooks against the type
  • specCallback is a callback function that takes no arguments and returns the spec object. Spec objects are similar to the ones that would be used with GraphQL.js constructors, except they have an extra couple of optional convenience properties specific to Grafast.
  • origin is a string describing where this type came from / why it exists - it's particularly handy when two types try and register the same name


const MyPlugin: GraphileConfig.Plugin = {
name: "MyPlugin",
version: "0.0.0",

schema: {
hooks: {
init(_, build) {
const typeName = inflection.myInflector("MyInflectorInput");

/* add scope data here */
() => ({
// Here's the spec for the type
description: "...",
fields: {

// If this type requires a particular step class, optionally
// specify it here:
// assertStep: ObjectStep,
// Or if you prefer, you can make `assertStep` a callback that
// throws an error if the step passed is incompatible:
// assertStep($step: ExecutableStep): asserts $step is ObjectStep {
// if (!($step instanceof ObjectStep)) {
// throw new Error(`Expected ObjectStep, instead received '${$step}'`);
// }
// },
`Here you'd put a helpful phrase detailing why this type is being registered; useful when two types try and register with the same name`,

return _;


In V5 we've split the schema build process into two parts:

  • gather is where data is gathered from external sources (databases, APIs, the file system, etc) and converted into an "input" to feed into the schema phase. Critically, gather is asynchronous.
  • schema is where the GraphQL schema is produced from the gathered "input". Critically, schema is synchronous.

Introspection data is only available in the gather phase, from there it's converted into abstractions (resources, codecs, relations and behaviors) which are used during the schema phase. Further the introspection system has been replaced by a standalone module pg-introspection which is strongly typed - it actually embeds parts of the TypeScript documentation so that when you hover over its various properties in your editor it will tell you how Postgres describes those fields!

As such pgIntrospectionResultsByKind is no more, and anything that you had that relied on introspection results will need to be mapped to using the abstractions. Typically this results in your code being a bit simpler, but there are somethings you should pay particular attention to:

  • In V4 you'd often look at the foreign key constraints on a table and go "forwards" and "backwards" from them. In V5 the abstraction for these is a relation, which only represents one direction. A "backwards" relation is one that has the "isReferencee" property set. The backward and forward relations can have different smart tags.
  • Whereas in V4 you'd think in terms of "classes" (tables, views, etc) and "procs" (functions), in V5 these are all abstracted as "resources" (functions are resources that accept parameters, table-likes are resources that don't); and importantly every resource has a codec that describes what it returns. Sometimes you should focus on codec (e.g. when it doesn't matter if the row has come from a table or function) whereas others you should focus on the resource (when you need to actually get the row).
  • Changes to behaviors (@omit/etc) should be done during the gather phase if they require fetching additional data (e.g. from files, databases, APIs, etc), or using the behavior system otherwise.


Presets are a collection of plugins, configuration options, and other presets that get merged together recursively to build the users ultimate configuration. A preset is an object with the following base properties (all optional):

  • extends - a list of presets that this preset extends
  • plugins - a list of plugin objects that this preset makes use of
  • disablePlugins - a list of plugin names (strings) that should be disabled (skipped)

In addition to these common properties, Graphile Config presets have additional optional fields to influence various different "scopes". For more details, see configuration.

In V4 we had a plugin helper called makePluginByCombiningPlugins; in V5 that's better served by using a preset that simply lists the underlying plugins to be combined.


Critically, a preset must not have a name property; this property helps to distinguish between presets and plugins.


In PostGraphile V4 there were two types of plugins:

  • schema plugins (functions) interacted with Graphile Engine (graphile-build and graphile-build-pg) and were responsible to changes to your GraphQL schema
  • server plugins (objects) interacted with PostGraphile and it's server/CLI and were responsible to changes to how the HTTP requests were handled and other "high level" concerns (including such concerns as which additional schema plugins to load!)

In V5 there is only one type of plugin, a Graphile Config plugin. Graphile Config plugins are objects with the following properties:

  • name (required) - a unique name for this plugin
  • version (required) a semver-formatted version string
  • description - a short description of the plugin for use in documentation
  • experimental - set this true if the plugin is experimental (no current effect)
  • provides - a list of "features" (arbitrary strings) that the plugin provides; the plugin name is automatically included in this list
  • after - a list of "features" that need to be established before this plugin runs
  • before - a list of "features" that must not be processed until after this plugin runs

In addition to these common properties, Graphile Config plugins have additional optional fields to influence various different "scopes".

V4 "schema" plugins are now primarily concerned with these scopes:

  • inflection - naming things
  • gather - gathering the data necessary to build the schema, and outputting a registry
  • schema - assigning behaviors to entries in the registry and then building a GraphQL schema based on these

Server plugins are likely more concerned with these scopes:

  • grafserv - handing HTTP requessts
  • grafast - handling the GraphQL request (e.g. manipulating the context, etc)

Currently the postgraphile CLI does not accept many options - it is intended that users will provide options via the graphile.config.ts (or similar) file - so there is no plugin interface for adding CLI flags.


In V4, "inflection" was one of the hooks that were called whilst building a schema. In V5, inflection has been promoted to its own phase, primarily because "naming things" is a global concern that applies to both the gather and schema phases (see below). Inflectors are also now defined in a declarative (i.e. object properties) way, rather than an imperative (i.e. function calls) way - this allows the system to inspect plugins without executing them.


Used to add inflectors; when doing so you should also add their type definitions. Note that the type definitions only include the arguments that you call the inflector with, the inflector implementation has an extra initial argument (options) that the system automatically passes.

Defining connection and list fields should now use the this.listField(...) and this.connectionField(...) inflectors respectively as part of their implementation, this will ensure that the fields are consistently named across the schema.

The inflectors available have changed a little, use the TypeScript auto-completion to see what inflectors are available.

// Declare the type
declare global {
namespace GraphileBuild {
interface Inflection {
/** Field name for a Connection field returning all rows from the resource. */
allRowsConnection(this: Inflection, resource: PgResource): string;

// Implement the inflector
export const PgAllRowsPlugin: GraphileConfig.Plugin = {
name: "PgAllRowsPlugin",
version: "0.0.0",

inflection: {
add: {
options, // Additional argument, automatically passed by the system
resource, // This is the argument you defined in the types above
) {
return this.connectionField(
// ...
// ...


Should you wish to replace an inflector, you may use this hook instead. It works similarly to add above, with the following two differences:

  1. The type declaration is not required (since it already exists, right?)
  2. an additional first argument is prepended onto the arguments list: prev; this is the previous implementation of the inflector, for your inflector to call should it need to.


You can "replace" an inflector that doesn't exist, but a) you'll get a warning, and b) the prev function will be null or undefined.

Alternatively, include the name of the inflector in ignoreReplaceIfNotExists (array of strings), and if the inflector didn't previously exist then it will continue to not exist (and we won't warn you about it). This also means that the prev argument is guaranteed to exist at runtime.

export const PgAllThePeoplePlugin: GraphileConfig.Plugin = {
name: "PgAllThePeoplePlugin",
version: "0.0.0",

inflection: {
replace: {
allRowsConnection(prev, options, resource) {
return === "people" ? `allThePeople` : prev!(resource);
ignoreReplaceIfNotExists: ["allRowsConnection"],


If your plugin did anything asynchronous (extremely unlikely) then that work would now be done during the gather phase. If this is the case, please reach out to Benjie for additional documentation!


Configures the behavior system and implements the schema hooks

.globalBehavior and .entityBehavior

The '@omit' and '@simpleCollections' smart tags have been replaced with the behavior system in V5. Though the V4 preset adds compatibility with the V4 @omit system (by converting the @omit tags to behaviors), your plugins should not use the data from @omit - they should use the behavior data exclusively.

For more information on behavior, see Behavior.


If you were writing a schema plugin, this is where the bulk of your replacement will go.

This is where your schema hooks get registered now. A simple first change is that we've moved from a procedural style to a declarative style. Further, we've replaced all the : in the hook names with _ to avoid needing quote marks and to make them easier to copy/paste (since it's more likely that word selection in an editor will select the whole string). The three arguments are still essentially the same as they were.

For example, a V4 plugin that looks like:

const ExamplePlugin: Plugin = (builder) => {
builder.hook("GraphQLObjectType:fields", (fields, build, context) => {
// ...
return fields;

would look like this in V5:

const ExamplePlugin: GraphileConfig.Plugin = {
name: "ExamplePlugin",
version: "0.0.0",

schema: {
hooks: {
GraphQLObjectType_fields(fields, build, context) {
return fields;

Extending build

If your plugin adds capabilities to GraphileBuild.Build then it must register them with TypeScript via declaration merging. For example to add a flibble property to GraphileBuild.Build, you might do:

// Ensure that the types are imported for TypeScript
import "graphile-build";
import "graphile-config";

// Extend the global GraphileBuild.Build type to add our 'flibble' attribute:
declare global {
namespace GraphileBuild {
interface Build {
flibble: bool;

// And here's the plugin that actually adds the attribute at runtime:
export const FlibblePlugin: GraphileConfig.Plugin = {
name: "FlibblePlugin",
version: "0.0.0",
schema: {
hooks: {
build(build) {
build.flibble = true;
return build;

Extending scopes

Similarly all of the scopes and contexts are typed within each hook by camelcasing the hook name and prepending Scope or Context. For example, the scope in the GraphQLObjectType_fields_field hook is now ScopeObjectFieldsField. If you need to add additional entries to any of these you should do so via declaration merging, and you should ensure that the property is optional:

declare global {
namespace GraphileBuild {
interface ScopeObjectFieldsField {
isRootNodeField?: boolean;

Adding configuration options

If your plugin requires the user to pass configuration options, most likely they should be in the preset.schema scope which should be retrieved via build.options. When doing so, we also need to add to the declaration-merged types so that TypeScript understands the presence of the new option:

declare global {
namespace GraphileBuild {
interface SchemaOptions {
* The default option to use for the 'includeArchived' argument. Defaults to
* 'INHERIT' where feasible and 'NO' otherwise.
pgArchivedDefault?: "INHERIT" | "NO" | "YES" | "EXCLUSIVELY";

Note also that tools like graphile config options will look at these TypeScript definitions and use them to provide documentation to the user - as such you should be sure to add a /** ... */ comment describing the feature, as we have above.


As we read earlier, there's no look-ahead system in PostGraphile V5; instead we use Grafast's planning system.

Where you used to use addArgDataGenerator you should now give your argument an applyPlan and set autoApplyAfterParentPlan: true so that the plan is automatically applied (without the parent field having to call fieldArgs.apply($target, 'argName')).

Typically where you'd use a QueryBuilder (queryBuilder) in V4, you'll be dealing with a PgSelectStep ($pgSelect) in V5. Note that these are significantly different things, but they do have some parallels:

  • QueryBuilder.getTableAlias() -> $pgSelect.alias
  • QueryBuilder.where(fragment) -> $pgSelect.where(fragment)
  • QueryBuilder.orderBy(...) -> $pgSelect.orderBy(...) (arguments differ, see TypeScript for details)

Note that it's common to be dealing with a PgSelectSingleStep ($pgSelectSingle) when you're looking at a single record rather than the collection. In this case should you need to get back to the collection (e.g. to get the alias) you can do $pgSelectSingle.getClassStep().

Should you have code that uses queryBuilder.parentQueryBuilder there's no direct parallel. Instead, you should use the parent step and get what you need from there, and then embed that value into your query using a placeholder:

// V4
const parentAlias = queryBuilder.parentQueryBuilder.getTableAlias();
queryBuilder.where(sql.fragment`${parentAlias}.archived_at is not true`);

// V5
const $archivedAt = $parent.get("archived_at");
const archivedAtFrag = $pgSelect.placeholder($archivedAt);
$pgSelect.where(sql`${archivedAtFrag} is not true`);

applyPlan on an argument accepts 4 arguments, the first is the parent step ($parent), which is the step that the field itself was called on. The second is the target step ($pgSelect), which is typically the result of the fields' plan resolver. Note that input objects' applyPlans only have the latter 3 arguments - they do not have access to the parent step unless their parent input object or argument applyPlan explicitly pass them down.


In general, unlike in V4, you should not assume too much about how the SQL will be generated. It's better to use simple methods like $record.get('column_name') to retrieve attributes and then embed these values using $pgSelect.placeholder(...) than it is to make assumptions about the shape of the request and try and be clever and use aliases/etc. Normally @dataplan/pg will be able to figure out the best way to address your needs, and will inline things as necessary/optimal.


Here are some conversions that have taken place on some of the community plugins: