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Federation 2 quickstart

Part 1 - Project setup

Hello! This tutorial gets you up and running quickly with an 2 .

Related resources:

  • Our in-depth Apollo Federation course goes into greater detail on fundamental federation concepts. It walks through creating a from scratch, along with federating an existing monolith graph.
  • Our Federation 2 demo app on GitHub is distinct from the project you create in this tutorial. It demonstrates many powerful Federation 2 features.

Federation concepts

Before we set up our project, let's quickly cover what is.

In a federated architecture, multiple APIs are composed into a single federated . The individual APIs are called subgraphs, and they're composed into a supergraph:

Supergraph (A + B + C)
Subgraph A
Subgraph B
Subgraph C

Usually, each corresponds to a different service in your backend. The is then represented by another service called a graph router, which routes each incoming to the appropriate set of and returns the combined result.

The 's schema is the combination of each 's schema, plus some special federation-specific metadata.

This architecture enables clients to data from all simultaneously, just by the . It also enables different teams to own independent parts of a unified .

Supergraph schema composition

As a best practice, your does not compose its own . Instead, a separate process composes the schema and provides it to the . This helps improve reliability and reduce downtime when you make changes to a .

There are multiple ways to compose a from :

  • Via managed federation in Apollo Studio (we'll start with this)
  • On our local machine with the (we'll do this in Part 3)

Using is strongly recommended for production environments. Meanwhile, composing with can be useful for local development and CI environments.

Now that we have a high-level understanding of federation concepts, let's jump in!

Example subgraphs

This tutorial uses two Apollo-hosted (named Locations and Reviews) from an imaginary space tourism application called FlyBy. Here are their URLs and schemas for reference:

1. Set up Apollo tools

This quickstart uses a couple of Apollo tools to get the most out of federation:

  • Apollo Studio, a cloud platform for monitoring, managing, and collaborating on your
    • You DON'T need a paid Studio plan to complete this quickstart or use features!
  • The Rover CLI, a command-line interface for interacting with and their schemas

Let's set these up first!

Sign up for Apollo Studio

Before we can use with Apollo Studio, we need a Studio account. Let's create one if you don't have one yet.

Complete the first two steps of Get started with Apollo Studio (Create your account and Create your first graph), then return here.

  • Make sure the Studio you create is a that uses Federation 2!
  • For future steps, you'll need the ID of the you create. Make sure to have it available.

Install the Rover CLI

Rover is Apollo's CLI for managing all kinds of , including and . We'll use it throughout this quickstart.

Even if you already have installed, you should update your version now by completing this step.

Install the latest release with the appropriate command for your system:

MacOS / Unix-like
curl -sSL | sh
iwr '' | iex

After installing, run rover in your terminal with no to confirm that it installed successfully. Verify that the printed version number matches the latest release (if it doesn't, you might need to manually delete a previous outdated installation).

Authenticate Rover with Studio

We'll use the to publish our to Studio. To do that, we first need to authenticate with Studio.

Complete the first two steps of Configuring Rover (Obtain an API key and Provide the API key to Rover), then return here.

2. Create a router project directory

As mentioned in Federation concepts, your federated is represented by a graph router that routes queries to various . For this tutorial, we'll use some Apollo-hosted example services as our subgraphs, and we'll set up the Apollo Router in front of them.

The Apollo Router is a high-performance, precompiled Rust executable that acts as the for a .

Alternatively, Apollo Server can act as your , as in The graph router. This tutorial uses the because it's the recommended default for all new (for details, see Choosing a router library).

On your development machine, first create a new directory for your project. Then inside that directory, run the following to install the :

curl -sSL | sh

This installs the router executable in your project directory. You can try running it with the following command:


If you do, you'll get a startup error message like the following:

That's because we aren't currently providing a to the ! We'll fix that soon.

3. Obtain your subgraph schemas

To compose our , Apollo Studio needs the following information about each of our :

  • The 's schema
  • The URL of the 's endpoint (which must be accessible by the )

Fortunately, we have all of this information! Let's collect it in our project.

Do the following in your project's root directory:

  1. Create a new file called locations.graphql and paste the following schema into it:

  2. Create a new file called reviews.graphql and paste the following schema into it:

💡 In most federated graphs, each lives in the codebase for its associated subgraph. Because we're using remotely hosted example subgraphs in this tutorial, we're saving these subgraph schemas in our project for convenience.

We have a Studio account, we've installed , and our project directory is ready! Next, we'll start composing our supergraph schema in Studio.

Composition in Apollo Studio
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