GraphQL Queries

GraphQL Overview

GraphQL is a query language for APIs and a runtime for executing those queries by using a type system you define for your data. It is used to abstract away having to write SQL as it enables clients to request exactly the data they need, often in a single request, which can be more efficient and easier to manage than constructing multiple SQL queries.

How is GraphQL different than SQL?

GraphQL differs from SQL in its approach to data retrieval and manipulation. SQL, a standard language for accessing and managing databases, is structured around predefined queries where the server defines what data can be retrieved and how. In contrast, GraphQL, primarily a query language for APIs, allows clients to request precisely the data they need, often in a single request. This flexibility in querying reduces the need for multiple SQL queries, optimizing data fetching and handling. Furthermore, GraphQL uses a type system to describe data, whereas SQL interacts directly with database schemas.

How is GraphQL used in SxT?

GraphQL serves as another entry point into SxT, in addition to our regular SQL REST APIs (which are also what you're hitting when you use the Studio query editor or the JDBC driver). You can use GraphQL to query your own tables in Space and Time as well as all indexed blockchain data that we provide, just like you can through the core SQL REST APIs.

What can you do with GraphQL?

Today, GraphQL can be used for the following functions:

  • Running queries and aggregating data
  • Discovering what schemas exist
  • Retrieving a specific GraphQL schema
  • Creating, updating, or deleting a GraphQL schema for your tables (or public tables)

What are some use cases for GraphQL?

GraphQL is ideal for use cases that are too complicated for standard SQL. Compared to SQL, it provides:

  • Custom/flexible data retrieval: GraphQL allows the user to define precisely what data they want to retrieve in a single query, rather than relying on a fixed set of server-defined endpoints.
  • Simpler data aggregation: GraphQL can be used to integrate and fetch data from various tables in Space and Time, making it easier to aggregate data. You can use it to query multiple tables that otherwise aren't joinable.

Execute GraphQL Using the Studio

Executing GraphQL directly from the Space and Time Studio is the easiest way to get started with GraphQL. Simply...

  1. Navigate to the Studio and log in.
  2. Under the Queries tab, select GraphQL.
  3. You'll see a list of GraphQL schemas available to explore. Choose one that you want to use, and a GraphQL query editor will pop up.
  4. Write your GraphQL queries! For a guide on writing GraphQL, see this resource.

Execute GraphQL Using APIs

You can also interact with our GraphQL APIs directly.

We have a single GraphQL API endpoint that you can use to execute GraphQL queries.

We also have a set of REST APIs that you can use to discover, manage, and edit existing GraphQL schemas. These APIs are not used to execute GraphQL, but rather to manage your schema and configuration.


We provide a single Execute GraphQL API endpoint that you can use to perform queries against any existing GraphQL schemas. If you need to manage existing schemas or discover new schemas, use our REST APIs (see the below section).

Once you have a GraphQL schema you'd like to use, simply write up your GraphQL query like you would normally. Make sure to specify the schema name in the header and the input query will be validated against the schema you reference. In addition, any queries against permissioned tables will need to be authorized with biscuits (just like if you queried them via the SQL API) - so specify biscuits in the request body where necessary.


The GraphQL REST APIs can be used to manage and discover GraphQL schemas.

To find out what schemas exist: simply call the Discover GraphQL schemas API. You can search for both public and subscription schemas.

To look at a GraphQL schema: use the Retrieve GraphQL schema API.

To create a new GraphQL schema:: use the Create GraphQL schema API. You'll need an existing database schema, but the GraphQL schema will be automatically generated on your behalf - all you need to do is provide a name for the GraphQL schema, a scope for visibility (e.g., choose PUBLIC if you want to include public tables only), and the database schema identifier.

If you need to regenerate a GraphQL schema: use the Update GraphQL schema API. You might need to use this if you add or remove a table (i.e., change your data model).

If you need to delete a GraphQL schema: use the Delete GraphQL schema API.