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Optimizing N+1 database queries using Dataloaders
You are looking at the docs for an older version (v0.17.33). The latest version is v0.17.49.

Dataloaders consolidate the retrieval of information into fewer, batched calls. This example demonstrates the value of dataloaders by consolidating many SQL queries into a single bulk query.

The Problem

Imagine your graph has query that lists todos…

query { todos { user { name } } }

and the todo.user resolver reads the User from a database…

func (r *todoResolver) User(ctx context.Context, obj *model.Todo) (*model.User, error) {
	res := db.LogAndQuery(
		"SELECT id, name FROM users WHERE id = ?",
	defer res.Close()

	if !res.Next() {
		return nil, nil
	var user model.User
	if err := res.Scan(&user.ID, &user.Name); err != nil {
	return &user, nil

The query executor will call the Query.Todos resolver which does a select * from todo and returns N todos. If the nested User is selected, the above UserRaw resolver will run a separate query for each user, resulting in N+1 database queries.


SELECT id, todo, user_id FROM todo
SELECT id, name FROM users WHERE id = ?
SELECT id, name FROM users WHERE id = ?
SELECT id, name FROM users WHERE id = ?
SELECT id, name FROM users WHERE id = ?
SELECT id, name FROM users WHERE id = ?
SELECT id, name FROM users WHERE id = ?

Whats even worse? most of those todos are all owned by the same user! We can do better than this.


Dataloaders allow us to consolidate the fetching of todo.user across all resolvers for a given GraphQL request into a single database query and even cache the results for subsequent requests.

We’re going to use graph-gophers/dataloader to implement a dataloader for bulk-fetching users.

go get -u github.com/graph-gophers/dataloader

Next, we implement a data loader and a middleware for injecting the data loader on a request context.

package storage

// import graph gophers with your other imports
import (

type ctxKey string

const (
	loadersKey = ctxKey("dataloaders")

// UserReader reads Users from a database
type UserReader struct {
	conn *sql.DB

// GetUsers implements a batch function that can retrieve many users by ID,
// for use in a dataloader
func (u *UserReader) GetUsers(ctx context.Context, keys dataloader.Keys) []*dataloader.Result {
	// read all requested users in a single query
	userIDs := make([]string, len(keys))
	for ix, key := range keys {
		userIDs[ix] = key.String()
	res := u.db.Exec(
		"SELECT id, name
		FROM users
		WHERE id IN (?" + strings.Repeat(",?", len(userIDs-1)) + ")",
	defer res.Close()
	// return User records into a map by ID
	userById := map[string]*model.User{}
	for res.Next() {
		user := model.User{}
		if err := res.Scan(&user.ID, &user.Name); err != nil {
		userById[user.ID] = &user
	// return users in the same order requested
	output := make([]*dataloader.Result, len(keys))
	for index, userKey := range keys {
		user, ok := userById[userKey.String()]
		if ok {
			output[index] = &dataloader.Result{Data: user, Error: nil}
		} else {
			err := fmt.Errorf("user not found %s", userKey.String())
			output[index] = &dataloader.Result{Data: nil, Error: err}
	return output

// Loaders wrap your data loaders to inject via middleware
type Loaders struct {
	UserLoader *dataloader.Loader

// NewLoaders instantiates data loaders for the middleware
func NewLoaders(conn *sql.DB) *Loaders {
	// define the data loader
	userReader := &UserReader{conn: conn}
	loaders := &Loaders{
		UserLoader: dataloader.NewBatchedLoader(userReader.GetUsers),
	return loaders

// Middleware injects data loaders into the context
func Middleware(loaders *Loaders, next http.Handler) http.Handler {
	// return a middleware that injects the loader to the request context
	return http.HandlerFunc(func(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
		nextCtx := context.WithValue(r.Context(), loadersKey, loaders)
		r = r.WithContext(nextCtx)
		next.ServeHTTP(w, r)

// For returns the dataloader for a given context
func For(ctx context.Context) *Loaders {
	return ctx.Value(loadersKey).(*Loaders)

// GetUser wraps the User dataloader for efficient retrieval by user ID
func GetUser(ctx context.Context, userID string) (*model.User, error) {
	loaders := For(ctx)
	thunk := loaders.UserLoader.Load(ctx, dataloader.StringKey(userID))
	result, err := thunk()
	if err != nil {
		return nil, err
	return result.(*model.User), nil

Now lets update our resolver to call the dataloader:

func (r *todoResolver) User(ctx context.Context, obj *model.Todo) (*model.User, error) {
	return storage.GetUser(ctx, obj.UserID)

The end result? Just 2 queries!

SELECT id, todo, user_id FROM todo
SELECT id, name from user WHERE id IN (?,?,?,?,?)

You can see an end-to-end example here.