What is GraphQL and how to consume a GraphQL Query based API in Power Automate

I had a recent requirement to call a GraphQL based API secured with OAuth2 in Power Automate, this blog post is to share my learnings on GraphQL & how to call them in Power Automate. Let us quickly see some introduction to GraphQL

GraphQL is an open-source query language for your APIs with a service-side runtime for executing the queries based on pre-defined schema. It is not tied to any specific database but rather backed by your existing code and data.

  • A GraphQL API is different from a REST API in that it allows the client application to query for certain fields of resources. Send a GraphQL query to your API and get exactly what you need, like the name of a user and only receive that data.
  • GraphQL APIs get’s all the data a client needs in a single request.
  • It replaces multiple REST requests with a single call to fetch the data you specify.
  • Provides an abstraction layer to the client, which means that clients do not need to query multiple URLs to access different data.  

Find some comparisons against REST

RESTGraphQL
HTTP Verbs (GET, POST, PATCH, PUT, DELETE) determines the operation to be performedYou will provide a JSON body aka GraphQL query whether you have to read or fetch values (GET) or a mutation (POST, PATCH, PUT, DELETE) to write values
Multiple API Endpoints http://api.com/users http://api.com/products etcSingle API Endpoint
http://api.com/graphql

When a HTTP GraphQL request is made with a query, the GraphQL server parses the query and respond back with data usually in a specific JSON format. There can also be variables in a query which makes it more powerful and dynamic. In GraphQL, the HTTP verb is predominantly POST but there can be implementations where Query & Variables are sent in URL encoded query parameters in the URL. I have used GitHub to learn & test GraphQL queries against my GitHub account.

GitHub GraphQL Explorer:

Github has GraphQL API that allows you to query and perform operations against repositories, users, issues, etc. To follow along this blogpost, sign in with your GitHub account on the GitHub GraphQL explorer URL https://docs.github.com/en/graphql/overview/explorer for testing some GraphQL queries

  1. Create a Repository in your GitHub account
  2. Get all your existing repositories

Let’s make first query on the explorer to get your GitHub Id for creating a new repo, the query is

{
  viewer {
    login
    id    
  }
}

In Explorer

Type your queries on the left side panel and hit play to see the JSON response on the right side. Click the Docs link on the right top corner to go through the documentation. The GitHub graphql explorer can be a great starting point to learn and to write queries

Tip: Hitting Ctrl+Space on the explorer will show you all the available fields that you can query against the API.

Create a Repository in your GitHub account:

Find below the query & variables to create a Repo in your GitHub account. The ownerId on the query variables should be value copied from the previous query. The other observation on the query is we are using mutation since we are creating a repository

Query to create a Repo with out passing a query variable:

mutation createRepo {
 createRepository(input:
{
  name: "GraphQLDemoRepo-Blog",
  ownerId: "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx",
  visibility: PRIVATE
}){
  repository
  {
    name
    createdAt
  }
}
}

Get all your existing repositories

Find below the query to get all your existing repositories

{
  viewer {
    name
    repositories(first: 100) {
      totalCount
      nodes {
        name
      }
    }
  }
}

Till now we have seen couple of example queries in GitHub explorer, let us now see how to consume them in Power Automate

Call a GraphQL query in Power Automate:

HTTP connector in Power Automate can be used to call a GraphQL query based API but you will have to first convert the GraphQL query (Query+Variables) to a HTTP request with raw body. You can use the Postman utility to help you with the conversion. To call the above mentioned GraphQL query to create a Repo in Postman, the first step is create a Personal Access token. Create the token as per the instructions given in the following documentation with the scope repo selected

https://docs.github.com/en/github/authenticating-to-github/creating-a-personal-access-token#creating-a-token

In Postman, add a new request as per the following detail

Method: POST

Request URL: https://api.github.com/graphql

Authorization Type: Bearer Token

Token value should be the Personal Access token you have generated above. Find below screenshot for your reference in order to set the authorization token

In the request Body tab, enter the Query and GraphQL variables for creating the repo after selecting the Body type to GraphQL from none

On the query tab, CTRL+Space also works in Postman which autoprompts with some suggestions for fields.

Execute the request by clicking Send button which will create a New repo by the Name GraphQLDemo-blog in your github account. To call this GraphQL query in Power Automate, click the Code button as shown above on the right panel of the postman request and then select HTTP to auto generate a code snippet for making a HTTP request with raw body

Copy the request body as shown above. On the Power Automate HTTP connector, enter the following details to create the Repo

Method: POST

URI: https://api.github.com/graphql

Headers:

Key: Authorization

Value: Bearer PersonalAccessToken

Body: Value copied from Postman

Test the flow. If all is well you can see the repo created in your github account. Find below screenshot from run history

References:

https://graphql.org/learn/

https://docs.github.com/en/graphql/overview/about-the-graphql-api

https://docs.github.com/en/graphql/guides/forming-calls-with-graphql#about-queries

https://www.apollographql.com/docs/apollo-server/deployment/azure-functions/

Playground to test GraphQL queries (No Authentication required): http://graphql.github.io/swapi-graphql/

Summary: On this post we have seen how to call a GraphQL query based API from Github in Power Automate using a HTTP connector to create a Repo, this can be replicated to consume any other GraphQL based APIs. You can also construct dynamic request body on the HTTP connector for various operations. Hope you have found this informational & thanks for reading. If you are visiting my blog for the first time, please do look at my other blogposts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s