Instant GraphQL API for Postgres with Hasura

Hasura is a GraphQL engine that provides GraphQL api on fly within 10 min

What is Hasura ?

  • It’s opensource and has good community support.
  • Hasura is a GraphQL engine that creates a GraphQL api from the PostgreSQL database schema.
  • We can use exising database or use a new one
  • Powerful authorization engine
  • Can safely be used by frontend apps directly.

Running the Hasura GraphQL engine on Docker

Docker is a containarization tool that helps containerizing the app. We use docker to get started with the GraphQL.

Installing docker on ubuntu

  • To install the docker on ubuntu using snap package manager, Just run the below command.
sudo snap install docker

Docker compose file for Hasura

version: '3.6'
    image: postgres:12
    restart: always
    - db_data:/var/lib/postgresql/data
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: pgsecret
    image: hasura/graphql-engine:latest
    - "4400:8080"
    - "postgres"
    restart: always
      HASURA_GRAPHQL_DATABASE_URL: postgres://postgres:[email protected]:5432/postgres
      HASURA_GRAPHQL_ADMIN_SECRET: "hasurasecret"
  • HASURA_GRAPHQL_ADMIN_SECRET is for security. We need pass the header x-hasura-admin-secret to access the endpoint.

  • Let’s create the containers for Hasura GraphQL engine and PostgreSQL database with the below command.

docker-compose up -d
  • We should be on the same directory where the docker compose file resides to make it work.
  • To confirm docker is running Hasura GraphQL and PostgreSQL run the command docker ps. It will show the output like below.
[email protected]:~$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                          COMMAND                  CREATED              STATUS                  PORTS                    NAMES
2fede48be420        hasura/graphql-engine:latest   "graphql-engine serve"   About a minute ago   Up Less than a second>8080/tcp   ubuntu_graphql-engine_1
31c1193074f6        postgres:12                    "docker-entrypoint.s…"   About a minute ago   Up 7 seconds            5432/tcp                 ubuntu_postgres_1

From the above output we can see that both the containers are running. We can access the Hasura GraphQL Engine at Now, you will see the screen like below.

Hasura GraphQL

Login to Hasura GraphQL engine with password hasurasecret. We configured it using HASURA_GRAPHQL_ADMIN_SECRET environment variable. We can see the screen like below after successfully login to it.

Hasura GRaphQL console

Note: Docker compose is a tool for defining and running multi-container Docker applications. To know more about it visit official website.

Creating the database schema

  • We don’t have any tables and data in the database so, let’s create the database schema from the Hasura Dashboard itself.
  • We can find the DATA on top navigation menu. Just click on it, it will take us to database schema page. Click on “Add Table” button to create a table like below.

Hasura Create Table

  • Let’s consider the scenario of author and article. Author can write an article and article can associate with at most one author.

Database tables

postgres=# \d+;
                                                Table ""
 Column |  Type   | Collation | Nullable |              Default               | Storage  | Stats target | Description 
 id     | integer |           | not null | nextval('author_id_seq'::regclass) | plain    |              | 
 name   | bpchar  |           | not null |                                    | extended |              | 
    "author_pkey" PRIMARY KEY, btree (id)
Referenced by:
    TABLE "article" CONSTRAINT "article_author_id_fkey" FOREIGN KEY (author_id) REFERENCES author(id) ON UPDATE CASCADE ON DELETE CASCADE
Access method: heap

postgres=# \d+ public.article;
                                                       Table "public.article"
  Column   |       Type        | Collation | Nullable |               Default               | Storage  | Stats target | Description 
 id        | integer           |           | not null | nextval('article_id_seq'::regclass) | plain    |              | 
 title     | character varying |           | not null |                                     | extended |              | 
 content   | text              |           | not null |                                     | extended |              | 
 author_id | integer           |           | not null |                                     | plain    |              | 
    "article_pkey" PRIMARY KEY, btree (id)
Foreign-key constraints:
    "article_author_id_fkey" FOREIGN KEY (author_id) REFERENCES author(id) ON UPDATE CASCADE ON DELETE CASCADE
Access method: heap

Mutation Query on Hasura GraphQL Engine

Let’s create a query to insert the data into the author table.

Hasura Mutation Query


mutation Author{
  insert_author_one(object: {name: "Tesla"}){


curl '' -H 'content-type: application/json' -H 'x-hasura-admin-secret: hasurasecret' -H 'Origin:' --data '{"query":"mutation Author{\n  insert_author_one(object: {name: \"Einstein\"}){\n    id\n  }\n}","variables":null,"operationName":"Author"}'



retrieve query on Hasura GraphQL Engine

Let’s insert the data into the database manually through the Hasura GraphQL dashboard. We need to configure the relationships before writing the query for related objects.

Hasura Relationships

Now, we are ready. Let’s write the query

query authors_articles {
  author {


curl '' -H 'content-type: application/json' -H 'x-hasura-admin-secret: hasurasecret' -H 'Origin:' -H 'Connection: keep-alive' --data '{"query":"query authors_articles {\n  author {\n    id\n    name\n    articles{\n      id\n      title\n    }\n  }\n}\n","variables":null,"operationName":"authors_articles"}'


  "data": {
    "author": [
        "id": 1,
        "name": "Tesla",
        "articles": [
            "id": 1,
            "title": "tesla book"
        "id": 2,
        "name": "Einstein",
        "articles": []

Hasura GraphQL engine made it very simple to create the GraphQL api with less effort and more functionality. That’s it folks, We can do more with Hasura GraphQL engine.


Thank you for reading the Agiliq blog. This article was written by Anjaneyulu Batta on May 4, 2020 in GraphQLPostgreSQL .

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