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org.apache.sling.graphql.samples.website/README.md

Apache Sling GraphQL demo website

This is a work in progress demo of the Sling GraphQL Core.

It demonstrates both server-side GraphQL queries, used for content aggregation, and the more traditional client-side queries, using the same GraphQL schemas and data fetching Java components for both variants. Handlebars templates are used for rendering content, either on the server or client side depending on the website sections.

Besides the page rendering code there's not much: GraphQL schema and query definitions and a few Java classes used for aggregating or enhancing content and for content queries.

For now there's no pagination of query results, just arbitrary limits on the number of results returned.

The entry point for the demo website (after starting this as described below) is http://localhost:8080/content/articles

GraphQL and Handlebars, on both the server and client sides

The articles and navigation pages are rendered using server-side Handlebars templates, which retrieve the aggregated JSON content of the current page by making an internal request to the current path with a .json extension.

That aggregated JSON content is generated using server-side GraphQL queries so that a single request provides all the page content and navigation.

Those .json URLs are also accessible from the outside if client-side rendering is preferred.

The search page at /content/search.html uses client-side GraphQL queries and client-side Handlebars rendering (along with JQuery for glue) to demonstrate using the same tools on the server or client side, with minimal differences between both modes.

With this we get the best of both worlds: server-side queries and rendering for the article pages, so that they make sense for Web search engines for example, and client-side queries and rendering for the more dynamic “search” single-page application example.

Handlebars was selected for this example as it's easy to learn and easy to implement on both the server and client sides. As usual with Sling, everything is pluggable so it can be replaced with your favorite rendering engine if desired.

A small amount of Java code is used to implement the content querying and aggregation extensions. Writing that code requires only minimal knowledge of Sling. So far that code only uses the Sling Resource and ResourceResolver APIs to collect and aggregate content.

This sample currently also includes the HandlebarsScriptEngine implementation, used for server-side rendering. We might move it to its own Sling module later if there's interest, for now it implements just the minimum required for this sample.

Client-side GraphQL queries

Client-side queries work using an external GraphiQL client (or any suitable client) that talks to http://localhost:8080/graphql.json

Here's an example query:

{
    navigation {
        search
        sections {
            path
            name
        }
    }
    article(withText: "virtual") {
        path
        title
        seeAlso {
        path
        title
        tags
        }
    }
}

Besides fixing the DataFetchers to use the correct context Resource, setting this up only required activating the GraphQLServlet (using an OSGi config in the Feature Model that starts this demo) and adding the below schema file. Everything else is shared between the server-side and client-side query variants.

# /apps/samples/servlet/GQLschema.jsp
type Query {
  ## fetch:samples/articlesWithText
  article (withText : String) : [Article]
}

<%@include file="/apps/samples/common/GQLschema.jsp" %>

How to run this

This is early days, some assembly is required:

Then start the demo Sling instance using

rm -rf launcher/ conf/
java -jar ${THE_CORRECT_PATH}/org.apache.sling.kickstart-0.0.3-SNAPSHOT.jar \
-s src/main/resources/features/feature-sling12.json \
-af src/main/resources/features/feature-graphql-example-website.json 

And open the above mentioned start page.

Under the hood

The scripts and source code mentioned below are found in the source code and initial content of this demo module.

For either server or client-side queries, the GraphQL core retrieves a schema for the current Sling Resource by making an internal request with the .GQLschema extension. You can see those schemas by adding that extension to the article and navigation pages. They are generated using the standard Sling request processing mechanism, so very flexible and resource-type specific if needed.

The server-side GraphQL queries are defined in json.gql scripts for each resource type, and executed in the context of the current Sling Resource. Here's the current article/json.gql query as an example:

{ 
  navigation {
    sections {
      path
      name
    }
  }
  article 
  { 
    title
    tags
    seeAlso {
      path
      title
    }
    text
  }
}

Based on that script's name, according to the usual Sling conventions it is used by the Sling GraphQLScriptEngine to execute the query and return the JSON document that provides everything needed to render the page in one request. You can see those JSON documents by adding a .json extension to the article and navigation pages.

In our examples, this JSON document includes navigation information (paths to content sections, next/previous article etc.) and processed content like the seeAlso links. Those links are fleshed out by the SeeAlsoDataFetcher Java class, as the raw content doesn't provide enough information to render meaningful links. Such DataFetcher services are then active for both server-side and client-side GraphQL queries.

The search single-page-app uses the same GraphQL queries, executed from the client side, along with client-side Handlebars rendering. See the search.html and graphql.js source files under src/main/resources/SLING-INF/initial-content for details.

For this demo, the .rawjson extension is configured to provide the default Sling JSON rendering, for comparison or troubleshooting purposes.