Products

Solutions

Resources

Search for API Security Tests

/

/

GraphQL Introspection

GraphQL Introspection

In this section you will learn about GraphQL Introspection with examples.

In this section you will learn about GraphQL Introspection with examples.

GraphQL Introspection
GraphQL Introspection
GraphQL Introspection

Luke Stephens

Luke Stephens

Luke Stephens

What is GraphQL Introspection?

In GraphQL, introspection is the ability to query which resources are available in the API. The GraphQL schema defines these resources as types, fields, queries, and mutations. Introspection allows clients to discover the schema programmatically, meaning developers can query the GraphQL API to learn about what queries are supported, the types of data they return, and the kind of operations that can be performed.

Understanding GraphQL Introspection

  • Self-Documenting: GraphQL APIs are self-documenting. The introspection system enables clients to ask the GraphQL server to describe its own schema. This means the documentation is always up-to-date with the code.

  • Type Exploration: Introspection queries can be used to explore the types defined in the schema, along with their fields and the types of those fields.

  • Query Autocompletion: Tools that consume GraphQL APIs can use introspection to provide features like auto-completion, error highlighting, and tooltips, which helps in building queries.

How Does GraphQL Introspection Work?

  1. Introspection Query:

    A special set of queries in GraphQL are used for introspection. These queries can fetch details about the schema itself, without any knowledge of the schema ahead of time.

{
  __schema {
    types {
      name
    }
  }
}
  1. Server Processes Query:

    The GraphQL server processes this introspection query and returns information about the schema including types, queries, mutations, and more.

  2. Response with Schema Information:

    The server responds with details about the available types in the schema, their fields, and the type of object each field returns.

{
  "data": {
    "__schema": {
      "types": [
        // ... list of types
      ]
    }
  }
}

Use of GraphQL Introspection

  • Building Tools: Introspection powers tools like GraphiQL and other GraphQL IDEs, which use introspection to provide developers with interactive schema exploration and query construction capabilities.

  • Generating Code: Introspection can be used to generate client-side type definitions and query builders automatically, ensuring that client applications are type-safe and match the schema on the server.

  • Schema Validation: Introspection can be used in continuous integration (CI) pipelines to validate that changes to the schema do not break existing queries and operations.

Limitations and Security Considerations

While introspection is incredibly useful, it can also provide a detailed roadmap for potential attackers. It's important to consider the implications of exposing the API structure, especially in production:

  • Disable in Production: Some GraphQL services choose to disable introspection in production environments to hide the API's internal structure.

  • Permission-Based: You can implement permission checks that allow only authenticated users, or users with specific roles, to perform introspection queries.

Example of GraphQL Introspection

An example introspection query to get details about the Book type might look like this:

{
  __type(name: "Book") {
    name
    description
    fields {
      name
      type {
        name
        kind
      }
    }
  }
}

And the corresponding response could be:

{
  "data": {
    "__type": {
      "name": "Book",
      "description": "A single book object with details",
      "fields": [
        {
          "name": "title",
          "type": {
            "name": "String",
            "kind": "SCALAR"
          }
        },
        // ... other fields
      ]
    }
  }
}

On this page

Protect your APIs from attacks now

Protect your APIs from attacks now

Protect your APIs from attacks now

Explore more from Akto

Blog

Be updated about everything related to API Security, new API vulnerabilities, industry news and product updates.

Events

Browse and register for upcoming sessions or catch up on what you missed with exclusive recordings

CVE Database

Find out everything about latest API CVE in popular products

Test Library

Discover and find tests from Akto's 100+ API Security test library. Choose your template or add a new template to start your API Security testing.

Documentation

Check out Akto's product documentation for all information related to features and how to use them.