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Entity relations and inverse lookups

The term "entity relation" refers to the situation when an entity instance contains an instance of another entity within one of its fields. Type-wise this means that some entity (called the owning entity) has a field of a type that is some other, non-owning entity. Within the database, this is implemented as an (automatically indexed) foreign key column within the table mapped to the owning entity. A fieldName entity-typed field will map to a column named field_name_id.

One-to-one and one-to-many relations are supported by Typeorm. The "many" side of the one-to-many relations is always the owning side. Many-to-many relations are modeled as two one-to-many relations with an explicit join table.

An entity relation is always unidirectional, but it is possible to request the data on the owning entity from the non-owning one. To do so, define a field decorated @derivedFrom in the schema. Doing so will cause the Typeorm code generated by squid-typeorm-codegen and the GraphQL API served by squid-graphql-server to show a virtual (that is, not mapping to a database column) field populated via inverse lookup queries.

The following examples illustrate the concepts.

One-to-one relations

type Account @entity {
id: ID!
balance: BigInt!
user: User @derivedFrom(field: "account")
}

type User @entity {
id: ID!
account: Account! @unique
username: String!
creation: DateTime!
}

The User entity references Account and owns the one-to-one relation. This is implemented as follows:

  • On the database side: the account property of the User entity maps to the account_id foreign key column of the user table referencing the account table.
  • On the TypeORM side: the account property of the User entity gets decorated with @OneToOne and @JoinColumn.
  • On the GraphQL side: sub-selection of the account property is made available in user-related queries. Sub-selection of the user property is made available in account-related queries.
info

Unlike for the many-to-one case, the codegen will not add a virtual reverse lookup property to the TypeORM code for one-to-one relations. You can add it manually:

src/model/generated/account.model.ts
import {OneToOne as OneToOne_} from "typeorm"

@Entity_()
export class Account {
// ...
@OneToOne_(() => User, e => e.account)
user: User
}

If you are using this feature, please let us know at the SquidDevs Telegram channel.

Many-to-one/One-to-many relations

type Account @entity {
"Account address"
id: ID!
transfersTo: [Transfer!] @derivedFrom(field: "to")
transfersFrom: [Transfer!] @derivedFrom(field: "from")
}

type Transfer @entity {
id: ID!
to: Account!
from: Account!
amount: BigInt!
}

Here Tranfer defines owns the two relations and Account defines the corresponding inverse lookup properties. This is implemented as follows:

  • On the database side: the from and to properties of the Transfer entity map to from_id and to_id foreign key columns of the transfer table referencing the account table.
  • On the TypeORM side: properties to and from of the Transfer entity class get decorated with @ManyToOne. Properties transfersTo and transfersFrom decorated with @OneToMany get added to the Account entity class.
  • On the GraphQL side: sub-selection of all relation-defined properties is made available in the schema.

Many-to-many relations

Many-to-many entity relations should be modeled as two one-to-many relations with an explicitly defined join table. Here is an example:

# an explicit join table 
type TradeToken @entity {
id: ID! # This is required, even if useless
trade: Trade!
token: Token!
}

type Token @entity {
id: ID!
symbol: String!
trades: [TradeToken!]! @derivedFrom(field: "token")
}

type Trade @entity {
id: ID!
tokens: [TradeToken!]! @derivedFrom(field: "trade")
}