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NestJS + Neo4j + GraphQL Setup

· 5 min read
Huakun Shen
Website Owner

GitHub Repo:

I haven't found a good update-to-date example of using Neo4j with NestJS and GraphQL. So I decided to write one myself.

Neo4j's graphql library has updated its API, some examples I found online were outdated ( This demo uses v5.x.x.

GraphQL Schema

type Mutation {
signUp(username: String!, password: String!): String
signIn(username: String!, password: String!): String

# Only authenticated users can access this type
type Movie @authentication {
title: String
actors: [Actor!]! @relationship(type: "ACTED_IN", direction: IN)

# Anyone can access this type
type Actor {
name: String
movies: [Movie!]! @relationship(type: "ACTED_IN", direction: OUT)

# Only authenticated users can access this type
type User @authentication {
id: ID! @id
username: String!
# this is just an example of how to use @authorization to restrict access to a field
# If you list all users without the plaintextPassword field, you will see all users
# If you list all users with the plaintextPassword field, you will only see the user whose id matches the jwt.sub (which is the id of the authenticated user)
# in reality, never store plaintext passwords in the database
plaintextPassword: String!
@authorization(filter: [{ where: { node: { id: "$jwt.sub" } } }])
password: String! @private

NestJS Server Configuration

GraphQL Module

A GraphQL module can be generated with bunx nest g mo graphql.

Here is the configuration. In new Neo4jGraphQL(), authorization key is provided for JWT auth. Queries can be restricted by adding @authentication or @authorization to the type.

One important thing to note is the custom auth resolvers. Neo4jGraphQL auto-generate types, queries, mutations implementations for the types in the schema to provide basic CRUD operations, but custom functions like sign in and sign up must be implemented separately. Either as regular REST endpoints in other modules or provide a custom resolver to the Neo4jGraphQL instance.

Usually in NestJS, you would add resolvers to the providers list of the module, but in this case, the resolvers must be added to the Neo4jGraphQL instance. Otherwise you will see the custom queries defined in schema in the playground, but they always return null.

imports: [
driver: ApolloDriver,
useFactory: async () => {
export const neo4jDriver = neo4j.driver(
neo4j.auth.basic(NEO4J_USERNAME, NEO4J_PASSWORD)

const typedefPath = path.join(RootDir, "src/graphql/schema.gql");
export const typeDefs = fs.readFileSync(typedefPath).toString();

const neoSchema = new Neo4jGraphQL({
typeDefs: typeDefs,
driver: neo4jDriver,
resolvers: authResolvers, // custom resolvers must be added to Neo4jGraphQL instead of providers list of NestJS module
features: {
authorization: {
key: "huakun",

const schema = await neoSchema.getSchema();
return {
plugins: [ApolloServerPluginLandingPageLocalDefault()],
playground: false,
context: ({ req }) => ({
token: req.headers.authorization,
providers: [],
export class GraphqlModule {}

The resolver must be provided to Neo4jGraphQL constructor. It must be an object, so NestJS's class-based resolver won't work.

You must provide regular apollo stype resolvers. See for similar example.

export const authResolvers = {
Mutation: {
signUp: async (_source, { username, password }) => {
return createJWT({ sub: users[0].id });
signIn: async (_source, { username, password }) => {
return createJWT({ sub: });

Read the of this repo for more details. Run the code and read the source code to understand how it works. It's a minimal example.

Codegen is used to generate TypeScript types and more from the GraphQL schema.

Usually you provide the graphql schema file, but in this demo, the schema is designed for neo4j and not recognized by the codegen tool.

You need to let Neo4jGraphQL generate the schema and deploy it to a server first, then provide the server's endpoint to the codegen tool. Then the codegen tool will introspect the schema from the server and generate the types.

Make sure the server is running before running codegen

cd packages/codegen
pnpm codegen

The generated files are in the packages/codegen/src/gql folder.

Sample operations can be added to packages/codegen/operations. Types and caller for operations will also be generated.

Read the documentation of codegen for more details.

Examples is always provided in the packages/codegen folder.

This is roughly how the generated code it works:

You get full type safety when calling the operations. The operations documents are predefined in a central place rather than in the code. This is useful when you have a large project with many operations. Modifying one operation will update all the callers. And if the type is no longer valid, the compiler will tell you.

The input variables are also protected by TypeScript. You won't need to guess what the input variables are. The compiler will tell you.

import { CreateMoviesDocument } from "./src/gql/graphql";

async function main() {
const client = new ApolloClient({
uri: "http://localhost:3000/graphql",
cache: new InMemoryCache(),
mutation: CreateMoviesDocument,
variables: {
input: [
actors: {
create: [
node: {
name: "jacky",
title: "fallout",
.then((res) => {