Feature Request: Update After @auth Validation

Thanks @aman-bansal. I am looking forward to it!

One of the great uses of this thing for me will be field validation as I spoke of above. It will solve so many problems you guys don’t even realize.

It seems neo4j uses something called bind for their after-update validation. Every other graphql implementation I found pretty much has internal mechanisms for these checks outside of graphql.

You guys have to remember that Dgraph does not have any internal contraint testing like Cypher and SQL can do.

Please do not let this be the last GraphQL feature you guys program for a while.

While this is the biggest one (arguably tied with nested filters), there are a few core graphql features that you will have to have. I am not talking about needs for some, but needs for MOST.

For Your Reading Pleasure and Reference…

Recently Finished

You have already started coding…

Extremely Important!!!

Must Haves


  • Error Codes / Messages in GraphQL
  • 2021 Roadmap - not sure I know what is up-to-date on here and what is not

Which are these SQL Equivalents

  • Many-to-Many Joins
  • NOW() Timestamps
  • SQL Triggers - Before AND After
  • SQL Composite Key

You can see a pattern of what was forgetten in GraphQL, because other Databases handle these problems internally, unlike Dgraph.

Other GraphQL Implementions to Get Ideas From

Plenty more like Contentful, but these 3 are the most widely used…

I think that is it. These are regular features in other databases that solve MANY problems, not just for a few.

@mrjn - If you truly want to compete with PostgreSQL This is how you do it.

@amaster507 - Let me know if I forgot something.

@aman-bansal - Please read through these so you understand what is truly missing in Dgraph GraphQL

I am not trying to make a general feature list, but GraphQL is also the Middleware for everything in Dgraph, this list is everything, and can be done in 6 months and be done with it.

That’s all she wrote.



I’d like to add to this list.
Full interface support

It’s really a pain currently that this is not working.

Also all the lambda improvements which would finally make it usable in production:

And last but not least: Please get rid of the polling mechanism for subscriptions and implement an event driven subscription system instead!

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@aman-bansal - Any progress on this? Even if it is going to be another 10 weeks, that would be fine. I think it is just more important that you guys communicate what you’re working on until this person starts in I guess a few weeks…

Please let us know where everything stands and on 21.09 (21.10 now?).




@aman-bansal - Are you guys still working on this or 21.09?

@MichelDiz Could you ask the team to please give us an update? The lack of communication and updates on here is ridiculous!



@MichelDiz +1 For please having a chat with the team. It’s really an unpleasant experience since latest 21.03. release and it’s getting more annoying day to day.

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Hey guys, I was on leave for past 2 weeks thats why couldn’t respond. I am working on this feature and it will be available on next major release not 2109.

With respect to 2109 we have been continuously working on making it stable. 2109 contains major changes in terms of roaring bitmaps and this introduces some bugs which are hard to generate but could lead to data corruption. We are doing some rigourous testing and we wanted to be 100% sure that it wont lead to that state thats why this much delay. We are really sorry about that. I am hopeful that by the end of this month, we will have the GA public release for 2109.


@aman-bansal - Since you guys are taking a big longer than expected for 21.09, do you think you could go ahead and add this update-after feature to it? There are no GraphQL features in 21.09 (I consider the null thing a bug fix), and this feature alone would go along way to appease your users.

It is so powerful it opens so many doors to so many things, and should be quite easy to implement.



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Are you still working on this!!? If it is not going to be in the next minor release, when could we expect this? When is the next major release, 2023?

This is such a big deal as it leaves a huge security hole. There are no limits to what a user can put in the database. This effects securing fields, securing timestamps, securing roles, and preventing a user from updating other people’s records!

This is not complex like nested filters, and should be relatively easy to implement.

@mrjn @aman-bansal - Basic Communication guys please.


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@aman-bansal - I know you guys have been busy with v21.12, but I just want to make sure it is still being worked on, and there are some new things I realized you need to consider:

  • The update-after-auth directive needs to validate the complete data set of data from what the database WOULD look like after the update – it should not just validate the incoming data like add does.
    a. That means it should be a compilation of the current data merged with the update data.
    b. This also means the field-level auth capability and input validation will not work in certain situations, which means we need to rethink that as well.
  • This also means it could be a hell of a lot more complicated if it were to work how an update-after directive should work.

I can give two major examples of what this will solve:

  1. I should not be able to change the user who owns a posts (as there is no way to stop that in an update)
    • I can own the post, but I shouldn’t be able to change the owner to someone else
  2. I should not be able to change the role of a user
    • I can own my User node, but I shouldn’t be able to change my own role to Admin
    • Right now, it is possible to do role based authorization by creating an intermediary root node - see here for an example, so this is important

What it does NOT solve

  • Input Validation
  • Field Restriction

I still need input validation as a separate feature, but more importantly I need field restriction. Let’s say I want to prevent the user from updating the timestamp, because this will be done automatically by DGraph…

Example 1:

{ not: { has: updatedAt } }

This will not work as expected. If updatedAt already exists in the database, this rule will fail even if updatedAt is not in the input.

Example 2:

If I have a schema:

type Post {
  name: String!
  likes: [User]

My @auth directive can stop unauthorized users from updating my Post, and update-after-auth will prevent me from assigning the post to some random user, but what if I want any user to be able to like the post? There is no way to ONLY allow likes to be able to be updated, even with update-after-auth as it should work. This is VERY COMMON need, which renders the mutations pointless.

Possible Solutions


As we can see @auth and Input Validation can overlap, but they’re really two separate features.

  1. Field Authorization (depends on user / role / group)
    a. By Field Value – we already have this with add and update rules, just not update-after rule — solves the owner and role problem, just based on the final database record
    b. By Field Name – this is really field restriction. We will be able to stop certain values from being added, but not certain fields from being edited at all.
  2. Field Validation (same for everyone)
    a. By Field Value - Regex, Min, Max
    b. By Field Name – hasOnly, hasAll, @disable directive, query for everyone, perhaps similar to firebase rules


We really need three different features in this order of importance:

  1. Update After Rule
  2. Field Level Auth Rule (for Field Restriction) — add, update, update-after, delete, query
  3. Field Validation — This is more or a data integrity issue than a security issue, so NOT as important as #1 and #2

That being said, if we base the update-after rule on the input values, and not the completed data set, it sort of solved all 3 problems… but is that how it should work?

Either way, in order for us users to avoid extraneous lambda maintenance, and make the current state of DGraph GraphQL usable for a real app, we definitely need #1 (update-after-rule) and #2 (field-level-auth), hands down. Field Validation should be added one-day when the major missing features are in DGraph Cloud.

Please let me know your thoughts and current status of this…

Thank you!


I think you have a misunderstanding here. The add auth rules do look at the data as it would look after applied. The linked topic is referring to using info from the JWT as input variables in a mutation.

I think I was saying that add doesn’t need to check what the record will look like after the commit, since it is new data, so same thing. But you’re right, even better, if the add record merges with nested nodes that already exists, it does matter.

In that case, it should be an easy fix to add the update-after the way that it should work, since the code should use the same validation function as add does.

My point is that we need both the update-after auth fix, AND field-leve-auth for field restrictions to fix the @auth problems, or we can’t properly secure many situations.

Unless @aman-bansal has another idea for this?


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