# Middleware

Caliban allows you to perform additional actions at various levels of a query processing, via the concept of Wrapper. Using wrappers, you can:

# Wrapper types

There are 6 basic types of wrappers:

  • OverallWrapper to wrap the whole query processing
  • ParsingWrapper to wrap the query parsing only
  • ValidationWrapper to wrap the query validation only
  • ExecutionWrapper to wrap the query execution only
  • FieldWrapper to wrap each field execution
  • IntrospectionWrapper to wrap the introspection query only

Each one requires a function that takes a ZIO or ZQuery computation together with some contextual information (e.g. the query string) and should return another computation.

Let's see how to implement a wrapper that times out the whole query if its processing takes longer than 1 minute.

import caliban._
import caliban.CalibanError._
import caliban.Value._
import caliban.wrappers.Wrapper._
import zio._

val wrapper = new OverallWrapper[Any] {
  def wrap[R](
    process: GraphQLRequest => ZIO[R, Nothing, GraphQLResponse[CalibanError]]
  ): GraphQLRequest => ZIO[R, Nothing, GraphQLResponse[CalibanError]] =
    (request: GraphQLRequest) =>
              List(ExecutionError(s"Query was interrupted after 1 minute:\n${request.query}"))

You can also combine wrappers using |+| and create a wrapper that requires an effect to be run at each query using EffectfulWrapper.

To use your wrapper, call GraphQL#withWrapper or its alias @@.

val api = graphQL(...).withWrapper(wrapper)
// or
val api = graphQL(...) @@ wrapper

# Pre-defined wrappers

Caliban comes with a few pre-made wrappers in caliban.wrappers.Wrappers:

  • maxDepth returns a wrapper that fails queries whose depth is higher than a given value
  • maxFields returns a wrapper that fails queries whose number of fields is higher than a given value
  • maxCost returns a wrapper that fails queries when the estimated cost of execution exceeds a given value
  • queryCost returns a wrapper which adds an extension field that includes the cost of executing the query
  • timeout returns a wrapper that fails queries taking more than a specified time
  • printErrors returns a wrapper that prints errors
  • printSlowQueries returns a wrapper that prints slow queries
  • logSlowQueries returns a wrapper that logs slow queries via ZIO's built-in logging
  • onSlowQueries returns a wrapper that can run a given function on slow queries
  • metrics returns a wrapper that adds field-level metrics (count & duration) to the schema

In addition to those, Caliban also ships with some non-spec but standard wrappers

  • caliban.wrappers.ApolloTracing.apolloTracing returns a wrapper that adds tracing data into the extensions field of each response following Apollo Tracing (opens new window) format.
  • caliban.wrappers.Caching.extension returns a wrapper that computes the total cache policy for a query and stores it in the extensions of the response. The result can then be used by http adapters to set the appropriate cache headers in the response.
  • caliban.wrappers.ApolloPersistedQueries.apolloPersistedQueries returns a wrapper that caches and retrieves query using a hash using the Apollo Persisted Queries (opens new window) format.

They can be used like this:

val api =
  graphQL(...) @@
    maxDepth(50) @@
    timeout(3 seconds) @@
    printSlowQueries(500 millis) @@
    apolloTracing() @@

# Wrapping the interpreter

All the wrappers mentioned above require that you don't modify the environment R and the error type which is always a CalibanError. It is also possible to wrap your GraphQLInterpreter by calling wrapExecutionWith on it. This method takes in a function f and returns a new GraphQLInterpreter that will wrap the execute method with this function f.

It is used internally to implement mapError (customize errors) and provide (eliminate the environment), but you can use it for other purposes such as adding a general timeout, logging response times, etc.

val i: GraphQLInterpreter[MyEnv, CalibanError] = ???

// change error type to String
val i2: GraphQLInterpreter[MyEnv, String] = i.mapError(_.toString)

// provide the environment
val i3: GraphQLInterpreter[Any, CalibanError] = i.provide(myEnv)

// add a timeout on every query execution
val i4: GraphQLInterpreter[MyEnv, CalibanError] =
    _.timeout(30 seconds).map(
      _.getOrElse(GraphQLResponse(NullValue, List(ExecutionError("Timeout!"))))

# Customizing error responses

During various phases of executing a query, an error may occur. Caliban renders the different instances of CalibanError to a GraphQL spec compliant response. As a user, you will most likely encounter ExecutionError at some point because this will encapsulate the errors in the error channel of your effects. For Caliban to be able to render some basic message about the error that occured during query execution, it is important that your error extends Throwable.

For more meaningful error handling, GraphQL spec allows for an extension (opens new window) object in the error response. This object may include, for instance, code information to model enum-like error codes that can be handled by a front-end. In order to generate this information, one can use the mapError function on a GraphQLInterpreter. An example is provided below in which we map a custom domain error within an ExecutionError to a meaningful error code.

import caliban.ResponseValue.ObjectValue

sealed trait ExampleAppEncodableError extends Throwable {
    def errorCode: String
case object UnauthorizedError extends ExampleAppEncodableError {
    override def errorCode: String = "UNAUTHORIZED"

def withErrorCodeExtensions[R](
  interpreter: GraphQLInterpreter[R, CalibanError]
): GraphQLInterpreter[R, CalibanError] = interpreter.mapError {
  case err @ ExecutionError(_, _, _, Some(exampleError: ExampleAppEncodableError), _) =>
    err.copy(extensions = Some(ObjectValue(List(("errorCode", StringValue(exampleError.errorCode))))))
  case err: ExecutionError =>
    err.copy(extensions = Some(ObjectValue(List(("errorCode", StringValue("EXECUTION_ERROR"))))))
  case err: ValidationError =>
    err.copy(extensions = Some(ObjectValue(List(("errorCode", StringValue("VALIDATION_ERROR"))))))
  case err: ParsingError =>
    err.copy(extensions = Some(ObjectValue(List(("errorCode", StringValue("PARSING_ERROR"))))))

# Wrapping the GraphQL

If you need to implement new functionality that involves not just changes to execution but also to the underlying schema you can use the higher-level GraphQLAspect which allows full control of the resulting GraphQL that it wraps.

Here is such an example that is part of the federation package which makes a schema available to be used as a sub-graph in a federated graph:

def federate[R](original: GraphQL[R]): GraphQL[R] = {
  import Schema._

  case class Query(
    _service: _Service,
    _fieldSet: FieldSet = FieldSet("")

  graphQL(RootResolver(Query(_service = _Service(original.render))), federationDirectives) |+| original

lazy val federated: GraphQLAspect[Nothing, Any] = 
  new GraphQLAspect[Nothing, Any] {
    def apply[R1](original: GraphQL[R1]): GraphQL[R1] =

# Cost Estimation

The queryCost and maxCost wrappers as well as their variants can be used to estimate the cost of a query, however they require a bit more set up to work properly.

These wrappers are in the CostEstimation object which also comes with a special directive that can be used out of the box to instrument your schema for cost analysis.

Given a schema in which different fields have different costs to execute, either because they require additional network or computing resources, or database access, or they have some other dependency that makes them expensive to compute. You can add the CostDirective to your resolver like so:

import caliban.schema.Schema.auto._
import caliban.schema.ArgBuilder.auto._
import caliban.wrappers.CostEstimation
import caliban.wrappers.CostEstimation._

case class SpokenLineArgs(offset: Int, limit: Int)

case class Character(
  name: String,
  // Compute a realtime list of all the spoken lines for this character
  @GQLCost(100, multipliers = List("limit"))
  spokenLines: SpokenLineArgs => UIO[List[String]]

case class Query(
  @GQLCost(5) characters: UIO[List[Character]],

def allCharacterNames: UIO[List[String]] = ZIO.succeed(???)
def getLines(name: String, offset: Int, limit: Int): UIO[List[String]] = ???

val api = graphQL(RootResolver(Query(
  characters = allCharacterNames.flatMap { 
    names => ZIO.foreach(names) { name =>
      val character = Character(
        spokenLines = args => getLines(name, args.offset, args.limit)

val apiWithCost = api @@ 
  queryCost @@ // or queryCost(f: Field => Double) to specify your own field cost estimation
  // or queryCostWith(f: Field => Double)(p: Double => URIO[R, Any]) to also specify a side effect after computing the total cost
  // or queryCostZIO(f: Field => URIO[R, Double]) if your field calculation returns an effect
  // or maxCostOrError(maxCost)(f: Double => ValidationError) to specify a different error
  // or maxCostZIO(maxCost)(f: Field => URIO[R, Double]) if your field calculation returns an effect

In the above example we have provided a couple different examples. For instance, we can add the directive to both types and to fields. In this case the field resolver will override the type cost, however if there is no field cost then the type cost will be used. We may also specify a "multipliers" argument when using arguments. This will match the argument names and use numeric argument values to multiply the base value. In the above case this means that a query that specifies a limit of 10 for the spokenLines field will have the base field cost multipled by 10 resulting in a total cost of execution of 1000

# OpenTelemetry Tracing

Caliban ships with support for OpenTelemetry tracing via integration with zio-telemetry (opens new window) in the caliban-tracing package.

In order to use tracing, first add caliban-tracing to your built.sbt.

"com.github.ghostdogpr" %% "caliban-tracing" % "2.6.0"

Then add it to your schema as any other wrapper:

import caliban.tracing.TracingWrapper
import zio.telemetry.opentelemetry.Tracing

val api: GraphQL[Any] = ???
val tracedApi = api @@ TracingWrapper.traced

This will now make sure that any effect (ZIO or ZQuery) is measured as its own span, which makes it easy to spot potential optimizations (such as sequential loading) in your schema.

More or less like this:

query         |----------------------------------------------|
field a         |-------|
field b                  |-------|
nested field                      |-----------------------|
nested field a                      |-------------------|
nested field b                      |-------------------|

which makes it easy to spot that e.g field a and field b could be resolved in parallel.