Add GraphQL Edge Caching to Contentful

Add GraphQL Edge Caching to Contentful

Contentful is a headless content management system (CMS) for creating, managing, and distributing content across multiple platforms. Its user-friendly interface helps streamline content creation with a variety of tools.

As a comprehensive platform, Contentful helps developers create and manage structured content models with custom fields, relationships, and validations. Retrieving data through Contentful's API provides granular control and avoids over or under-fetching of content, helping to improve application performance.

Using the Contentful GraphQL API we can connect it to Grafbase to benefit from:

  1. Speed — Get even faster responses and lessen server load with Grafbase Edge Caching.
  2. Flexibility — Combine data from multiple APIs effortlessly using Grafbase Edge Gateway.
  3. Savings — Stay within your API limits and save money.
  4. Insights — Monitor your data in real-time with Grafbase Analytics.

In this guide, we will focus on improving the performance of the GraphQL API by implementing Grafbase's GraphQL Edge Caching on top of the Contentful GraphQL API.

You should already have a Contentful space setup with models and content to follow this guide.

Begin by executing the following command inside a new or existing project's directory:

npx grafbase init --template graphql-contentful

This command will generate a new folder grafbase in the root of your project.

Next, open the file grafbase/grafbase.config.ts and make any adjustments.

By default, Grafbase will:

  • Add Contentful as a data source
  • Cache all queries for 60 seconds
  • Enable public access to the Grafbase Edge Gateway
  • Forward Authorization header to Contentful
import { config, connector, graph } from '@grafbase/sdk'

const g = graph.Standalone()

const contentful = connector.GraphQL('Contentful', {
  url: g.env('CONTENTFUL_API_URL'),
  headers: headers => {
    headers.set('Authorization', { forward: 'Authorization' })
  },
})

// Disabling namespace may cause conflicts with other connectors
g.datasource(contentful, { namespace: false })

export default config({
  graph: g,
  cache: {
    rules: [
      {
        types: ['Query'],
        maxAge: 60,
      },
    ],
  },
  auth: {
    rules: rules => {
      rules.public()
    },
  },
})

Now update grafbase/.env with your CONTENTFUL_API_URL value. You can find this from your Contentful developer settings.

If you plan to add other data sources, you should enable the namespace to prevent schema conflicts.

If you'd prefer not to pass the Authorization header with requests from the client, you can also set the values to use an environment variable stored by Grafbase:

const contentful = connector.GraphQL('Contentful', {
  url: g.env('CONTENTFUL_API_URL'),
  headers: headers => {
    headers.set('Authorization', g.env('CONTENTFUL_API_KEY'))
  },
})

If you don't use header forwarding, make sure to add your CONTENTFUL_API_URL value to the file grafbase/.env:

CONTENTFUL_API_URL=
# Only if you set the Authorization header with a static value
# CONTENTFUL_API_KEY=

Finally, run the Grafbase development server by using the command below:

npx grafbase dev

You now have a GraphQL API running locally that acts as a proxy to Contentful! 🎉

You can execute any GraphQL query you normally would with Contentful using the new endpoint (locally): http://127.0.0.1:4000/graphql.

Grafbase Pathfinder can be found at http://127.0.0.1:4000 where you can explore the Grafbase Edge Gateway API and schema.

💡 Make sure to commit the grafbase folder with the rest of your application.

You can and should use the Grafbase CLI when building locally (or in a branch) to proxy your Contentful store but you will need to deploy to Grafbase to take advantage of GraphQL Edge Caching.

Follow these steps to deploy to production:

  • Signup for a Grafbase account
  • Create a new project
  • Connect and deploy your application where the grafbase was added
  • Make sure to add your CONTENTFUL_API_URL when deploying, unless you made it optional
  • Update your host (Netlify, Vercel, Fly, etc.) with the new GraphQL API endpoint that Grafbase supplied for your new project.

That's it!

Grafbase is programmed to autonomously deploy a fresh gateway each time it identifies a change to grafbase/grafbase.config.ts. Consequently, if you need to adjust any cache settings, including parameters like maxAge, staleWhileRevalidate, and mutationInvalidation, you're free to do so.

Grafbase will handle the rest of the process seamlessly. We'll explore extending the Contentful API with custom fields in another post.

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