6. Connecting graphs to Apollo Studio10m

Essential GraphQL developer tooling

Great work! We have a running GraphQL server that interacts with data from multiple sources. Now before we jump over to the client side, let's turn on some powerful tooling.

Apollo Studio is a cloud platform that helps you with every phase of GraphQL development, from prototyping to deploying to monitoring.

Studio's core features are free for everyone. All of the features in this tutorial are free features.

Create an Apollo account

Skip this if you already created an account to use the Apollo Studio Explorer.

Create your first graph

In Apollo Studio, each graph has a corresponding GraphQL schema. For your first graph, we'll use the schema of the server you just finished building.

  1. From your Studio homepage, click New Graph in the upper right.
  2. Provide a name for your graph.
  3. We are working with a single GraphQL server for this tutorial, so set the Graph Architecture to Monolith.

The default graph architecture is a Supergraph composed of underlying subgraphs (i.e., GraphQL APIs). Check out our hands-on Voyage series to learn more.

  1. Click Next. A dialog appears instructing you to register your schema. We'll do that in the next step.

Connect your server

Apollo Server can communicate directly with Apollo Studio to register its schema and push useful performance metrics. This communication requires a graph API key. Let's obtain one for our graph.

From your Studio homepage, click your newly created graph. This displays the same dialog that appeared after you created it:

Copy all of the environment variable definitions in the block at the bottom of the dialog (the value of APOLLO_KEY is your graph API key).

Set environment variables

You provide your graph API key to Apollo Server by setting it as the value of the APOLLO_KEY environment variable.

Create a .env file in start/server by making a copy of start/server/.env.example. Then paste the environment variables from the dialog in studio:


Graph API keys are secret credentials. Never share them outside your organization or commit them to version control. Delete and replace API keys that might be compromised.

Load environment variables

The dotenv package provides support for reading environment variables from the .env file.

Navigate to start/server/src/index.js and you'll see we've already a line configuring dotenv for you:


Restart your server

After you restart your server with npm start, return to your Studio homepage. After fifteen seconds or so, Studio will receive your server's schema and you can view its full details. (If you don't see any update, try refreshing the page!)


Try out free Studio features

Connecting your server to Apollo Studio activates a variety of powerful features:

The Explorer

As shown earlier in the tutorial with Sandbox, the Apollo Studio Explorer provides a comprehensive view into your schema, including all documentation strings you include in it. Use it to build queries and execute them on your server.

Studio Explorer tab

Schema changelog

Open the Changelog tab to view a full revision history of the schema versions your server pushes over time:

Schema Changelog

This changelog helps you identify exactly when a particular type or field was added or removed, which is crucial when diagnosing an issue.

Operation metrics

Apollo Server pushes metrics data to Studio for each GraphQL operation it executes. This data includes a breakdown of the timing and error information for each field that's resolved as part of the operation.

Apollo Server does not push GraphQL operation results to Studio. For more information, see Data privacy and compliance.

Open the Operations tab to view performance data based on the last 24 hours of your server's operation traces:

Studio Operations tab

Organizations with a paid Studio plan can view metrics for the last 90 days or more, depending on the plan. For more information on paid Studio features, see the Studio documentation.

Now that our server is connected to Studio, let's start building a client to execute some queries!