GraphQL Tools V8 - Stitch Federation Services

Arda Tanrikulu

Ever since The Guild has taken over GraphQL Tools, we kept our promise and like every open source library we maintain, we keep improving and supporting it on a daily basis.

Many things are continuously happening and improving with the library, and now, as we are releasing a new major version, we wanted to share some new things we’ve added.

It’s important for us to say thank you to all our users and open source contributors. The driving force behind this tremendous amount of work is you!


  • We significantly improved GraphQL Stitching Performance
  • You can now manage Apollo Federation services using Schema Stitching Gateway
  • You can consume Relay services in the Gateway
  • We support upcoming graphql-js features like @defer and @stream
  • Many more improvements in the release notes

Faster Schema Stitching

We heavily worked on improving the performance of Schema Stitching by refactoring some parts of the query planner, schema delegation and more. So we got much better performance than before. Please check the release notes to make sure you are good to start using v8 to benefit from all these improvements!

More Flexible Schema Stitching

The modern Schema Stitching is fairly comparable to Apollo Federation with automated query planning, merged types, and declarative schema directives.

But it is also more configurable. You can configure your gateway and services in service level using Stitching Directives or in the gateway level using Type Merging configuration.

Manage Apollo Federation Services with Schema Stitching Gateway

You can even consume your existing Apollo Federation services inside Schema Stitching without any changes by using the federationToStitchingSDL utility function from @graphql-tools/stitching-directives. Please check the Stitching Handbook to learn more.

Federation Services - Stitching Handbook

Relay-Based Gateway Possible?

If you have multiple services using Relay Specification, you can easily combine them with the handleRelaySubschemas utility function from @graphql-tools/stitch package, and your unified schema will handle Node interface and node operation automatically using Type Merging.

You can check the unit tests to see the complete usage

It is pretty new, and we will improve the documentation for this use case gradually.

What Is Type Merging?

Type merging allows partial definitions of a type to exist in any subschema, all of which are merged into one unified type in the gateway schema. When querying for a merged type, the gateway smartly delegates portions of a request to each relevant subschema in dependency order, and then combines all results for the final return.

Type merging is now the preferred method of including GraphQL types across subschemas, replacing the need for schema extensions (though does not preclude their use). To migrate from schema extensions, simply enable type merging and then start replacing extensions one by one with merges.

Type Merging Flow

Check out our documentation and stitching handbook to learn more about Type Merging!

Also, please watch this great presentation from Greg MacWilliam!

Future-Proof Schema Delegation

GraphQL Tools v8 is getting prepared for incoming GraphQL-js features. With defer and stream, GraphQL execution will return Async Iterables even for query and mutation operations like subscription ones. So we decided to remove Subscriber because we will need to handle Async Iterables in Executor eventually.

You can easily merge your existing Executor and Subscriber functions by checking the operationType of ExecutionParams;

function myExecutor({ document, variables, operationType }) {
  if (operationType === 'subscription') {
    return callWSClient(...);
  return callHTTPClient(...);

Create GraphQLSchema Instances for Your Remote APIs

URL Loader from @graphql-tools/url-loader package creates executable GraphQLSchema instances for you to call your remote GraphQL APIs by using different protocols;

import { loadSchema } from '@graphql-tools/load'
import { UrlLoader } from '@graphql-tools/url-loader'
const schema = await loadSchema(``, {
  loaders: [new UrlLoader()],
  // Enable File Uploads
  multipart: true,
  // Choose your Subscription protocol
  subscriptionProtocol: SubscriptionProtocol.SSE

Create Executors for Schema Stitching / Delegation

You can easily create executors for subschemas like below:

import { stitchSchemas } from '@graphql-tools/stitch'
import { UrlLoader } from '@graphql-tools/url-loader'
import { introspectSchema } from '@graphql-tools/wrap'
const urlLoader = new UrlLoader()
const executor = urlLoader.getExecutorAsync(``, {})
const mySubschema = {
  schema: await introspectSchema(executor),
const stitchedSchema = await stitchSchemas([mySubschema, myOtherSubschema])

And More…

  • Git Loader now supports glob patterns
    • GraphQL Tools is used by GraphQL Config, GraphQL Code Generator, GraphQL Inspector and more to download the type definitions and operation documents from the different sources with GraphQL Tools Loaders.
    • For example to compare your schema against the master, you need to dump your schema into a single “schema.graphql” file and point the GraphQL Inspector to that file. But now you can use glob patterns to point multiple files on your Git repo, and you don’t need to have a generated schema.graphql in the codebase.
  • No more a huge graphql-tools package;
    • GraphQL Tools has a lot of packages for different use cases and previously we were publishing graphql-tools package to the npm that includes all scoped packages we have in the repo. Let’s say when someone only needs makeExecutableSchema, NPM installs every single package with a lot of unused dependencies together with those. From now on, we decided to deprecate graphql-tools and encourage the users to migrate to the scoped packages. For example, you should install @graphql-tools/schema for makeExecutableSchema. You can check API Reference and the rest of the documentation to find what packages you need.
  • We have removed some functions, methods and stuff that are not widely used by the community;

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