Working with Contentful and GraphQL

Working with Contentful and GraphQL

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.

Contentful's ecosystem of SDKs, libraries, and integrations allows building across various platforms and tools. Developers are empowered with the flexible and scalable content management solutions to deliver dynamic and personalized content.

In this guide, we will setup blog posts with Grafbase and Contentful. We will create the content model, connect Grafbase, and query our blog post data two ways.

To start building, signup or login to Contentful, then establish a content model.

Content Model

This blog content model will include fields for a short form title, date & time publish date, and long text body. Be sure to save the content model.

Content Model Fields

Now that the model has been created, go ahead and add some content.

Add Content

Inside a new or existing project, run the following command to create a new Grafbase backend with the Contentful Connector already configured:

npx grafbase init --template graphql-contentful

This will scaffold a new project that uses the @graphql connector with some pre-filled information about Contentful. The file grafbase/schema.graphql will contain the following:

extend schema
  @graphql(
    name: "Contentful"
    url: "https://graphql.contentful.com/content/v1/spaces/{{ env.CONTENTFUL_SPACE_ID }}/environments/{{ env.CONTENTFUL_ENVIRONMENT }}"
    headers: [
      { name: "Authorization", value: "Bearer {{ env.CONTENTFUL_API_TOKEN }}" }
    ]
  )

Next, edit your grafbase/.env file with variables for Contentful environment, API token, and Space ID. Add an API key through Contentful from Settings > API keys.

Now that you have published content and the Contentful API connection, run npx grafbase dev on the project and navigate to http://127.0.0.1:4000 to execute queries and mutations with Pathfinder.

To query for a specific published post, find the Entry ID on the published content under Info tab

Content Entry ID

In Pathfinder, run the following query with your entry ID to retrieve Contentful data

query Contentful {
  contentful {
    blogPost(id: "your-entry-id") {
      sys {
        id
      }
      title
      body
      publishDate
    }
  }
}

To query for all posts in the collection you will want to use the blogPostCollection query. You can also fetch the total number of records by including the total field:

query Contentful {
  contentful {
    blogPostCollection {
      total
      items {
        title
        publishDate
        body
      }
    }
  }
}

This yields a response that is easily transformed in a resolver or ready to populate your webpage!

{
  "data": {
    "contentful": {
      "blogPostCollection": {
        "total": 2,
        "items": [
          {
            "title": "how to write GraphQL queries like a pro",
            "publishDate": "2023-06-07T00:00:00.000+02:00",
            "body": "Here are some tips and tricks to writing queries and mutations. Whether you're getting started or looking to improve your skills, these pointers can help elevate your data fetching.\n- Use a data explorer like Grafbase Pathfinder\n- Design your schema thoughtfully\n- Implement proper error handling\n- Design queries with N+1 problem in mind, use batching\n- Use pagination for large data sets\n- Use variables to parameterize queries and mutations."
          },
          {
            "title": "3 things every GraphQL beginner needs to know",
            "publishDate": "2023-06-05T00:00:00.000+02:00",
            "body": "After years of developing with RESTful APIs, I've found some interesting aspects about learning how to use GraphQL.\n\n1. GraphQL API will always return 200 OK, even in case of errors, so be sure to read the response messages!\n2.  Not all directives are universal. Directives annotate schema and operational behavior and are marked with the @ symbol. There are only a handful included in the GraphQL specifications, and many GraphQL tools have custom directives. The built-in GraphQL directives are @include, @skip, @deprecated, and @specifiedBy\n3.  Query and mutation names do not have any meaning for the server. Initially, it did not seem obvious why these are named, as an anonymous query object is valid. The names are used for the client to identify responses. There are best practices and conventions around this! Use camelCase and name mutations with verb first, typically.\n\nWhat are some nuances about GraphQL you've noticed?"
          }
        ]
      }
    }
  }
}

Now you're ready to build with your content, connect other APIs, and extend Contentful's API with your own Grafbase Resolvers.

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