Schema Types


A GraphQL object type has a name and fields, but at some point those fields have to resolve to some concrete data. That's where the scalar types come in: they represent the leaves of the query.

These are the scalars provided by the GraphQL Specification.

GraphQL GraphQL.NET .NET
String StringGraphType string
Int IntGraphType int
Float FloatGraphType double
Boolean BooleanGraphType bool
ID IdGraphType int, long, string

Note that you can use a Guid with ID. It will just be serialized to a string and should be sent to your GraphQL Server as a string.

These are additional scalars provided by this project.

GraphQL GraphQL.NET .NET Format Remarks
BigInt BigIntGraphType BigInteger number
Byte ByteGraphType byte number
Date DateGraphType DateTime ISO-8601: yyyy-MM-dd
DateOnly DateOnlyGraphType DateOnly ISO-8601: yyyy-MM-dd .NET6 and higher
DateTime DateTimeGraphType DateTime ISO-8601, assume UTC
DateTimeOffset DateTimeOffsetGraphType DateTimeOffset ISO-8601
Decimal DecimalGraphType decimal number
Guid GuidGraphType Guid string
Half HalfGraphType Half number .NET5 and higher
Long LongGraphType long number
Milliseconds TimeSpanMillisecondsGraphType TimeSpan number
SByte SByteGraphType sbyte number
Seconds TimeSpanSecondsGraphType TimeSpan number
Short ShortGraphType short number
TimeOnly TimeOnlyGraphType TimeOnly ISO-8601: HH:mm:ss.FFFFFFF .NET6 and higher
UInt UIntGraphType uint number
ULong ULongGraphType ulong number
Uri UriGraphType Uri RFC 2396/2732/3986/3987
UShort UShortGraphType ushort number

Lists of data are also supported with any Scalar or Object types.

GraphQL GraphQL.NET .NET
[String] ListGraphType<StringGraphType> List<string>
[Boolean] ListGraphType<BooleanGraphType> List<bool>


Objects are composed of scalar types and other objects.


type Droid {
  name: String
  appearsIn: [Episode]


public class DroidType : ObjectGraphType<Droid>
    public DroidType()
        Name = "Droid";
        Description = "A mechanical creature in the Star Wars universe.";
        Field(d => d.Name, nullable: true).Description("The name of the droid.");
        Field<ListGraphType<EpisodeEnum>>("appearsIn").Description("Which movie they appear in.");


public class Droid
  public string Name { get; set; }
  public List<Episode> AppearsIn { get; set; }


Enumerations, or enums, define a finite set of discrete values. Like scalars, they represent a leaf in the query.


This enum defines the first three Star Wars films using GraphQL schema language:

enum Episode {


Consider the equivalent enum in .NET:

public enum Episodes
    NEWHOPE = 4,
    EMPIRE = 5,
    JEDI = 6

Compare the two implementations. GraphQL does not specify backing values for members of its enums. The name of each member is the value.


GraphQL.NET provides two methods of defining GraphQL enums.

  1. You can use EnumerationGraphType<TEnum> to automatically generate values by providing a .NET enum for TEnum.
  • The Name will default to the .NET type name, which you can override in the constructor.
  • The Description will default to any System.ComponentModel.DescriptionAttribute applied to the enum type.
  • The DeprecationReason will default to any System.ObsoleteAttribute applied to the enum type.
  • Apply a DescriptionAttribute to an enum member to set the GraphQL Description.
  • Apply an ObsoleteAttribute to an enum member to set the GraphQL DeprecationReason.

By default, the name of each enum member will be converted to CONSTANT_CASE. If you want to change this behavior, you can make it in two ways.

a. Inherit from EnumerationGraphType<TEnum> and override ChangeEnumCase method.

public class CamelCaseEnumerationGraphType<T> : EnumerationGraphType<T> where T : Enum
    protected override string ChangeEnumCase(string val) => val.ToCamelCase();

and then inheriting this class instead of EnumerationGraphType

public class MediaTypeEnum : CamelCaseEnumerationGraphType<MediaTypeViewModel>

b. Mark your .NET enum with one of the EnumCaseAttribute descendants (PascalCase, CamelCase, ConstantCase, AsIsCase or your own).

public enum CamelCaseEnum
[Description("The Star Wars movies.")]
[Obsolete("Optional. Sets the GraphQL DeprecationReason for the whole enum.")]
public enum Episodes
    [Description("Episode 1: The Phantom Menace")]
    [Obsolete("Optional. Sets the GraphQL DeprecationReason for this member.")]

    [Description("Episode 4: A New Hope")]
    NEWHOPE  = 4,

    [Description("Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back")]
    EMPIRE  = 5,

    [Description("Episode 6: Return of the Jedi")]
    JEDI  = 6

public class EpisodeEnum : EnumerationGraphType<Episodes>

When defining a field via an expression syntax as in the following example, GraphQL.NET will automatically map enumeration types to EnumerationGraphType<TEnum>, unless otherwise mapped via Schema.RegisterTypeMapping:

Field(x => x.MyEnum);
  1. You can also manually create the EnumerationGraphType. Advantages of this method:
  • The GraphQL enum need not map to a specific .NET enum. You could, for instance, build the enum from one of the alternate methods of defining discrete sets of values in .NET, such as classes of constants or static properties.
  • You can manually add descriptions and deprecation reasons. This may be useful if you do not control the source code for the enum.
  • Backing enum values may be of any type, primitive or not.
public class EpisodeEnum : EnumerationGraphType
    public EpisodeEnum()
        Name = "Episode";
        Description = "One of the films in the Star Wars Trilogy.";
        Add("NEWHOPE", 4, "Released in 1977.");
        Add("EMPIRE", 5, "Released in 1980.");
        Add("JEDI", 6, "Released in 1983.");

Note that although GraphQL has no use for backing values for enum members, GraphQL.NET uses them anyway. This allows for a more natural mapping to .NET enums or other collections of constants, and avoids coupling your business logic to GraphQL semantics. The backing values are strictly for use on the back end - the client will never see them.

Resolving Enumerations

Fields typed as enumerations are resolved by returning the backing value of one of the enum members. Lists of enumerations are resolved by returning collections of enum members. In the below examples, notice the identical implementations of the appearsIn field for both human graph types. In both implementations, the client receives the GraphQL enum member names in response to queries on the appearsIn field.

If the field resolves a value which cannot be mapped to one of the enum's legal values, GraphQL.NET will trigger a Processing Error.

public class HumanString
    //i.e. "NEWHOPE", "EMPIRE", "JEDI"
    public string[] AppearsIn { get; set; }

public class HumanStringType: ObjectGraphType<HumanString>
    public HumanStringType()
        Name = "HumanString";
        Field<ListGraphType<EpisodeEnum>>("appearsIn").Description("Which movie they appear in.");

public class HumanInt
    //i.e. 4, 5, 6
    public int[] AppearsIn { get; set; }

public class HumanIntType: ObjectGraphType<HumanInt>
    public HumanIntType()
        Name = "HumanInt";
        Field<ListGraphType<EpisodeEnum>>("appearsIn").Description("Which movie they appear in.");

Enumeration Arguments

Enumerations can be used as arguments in GraphQL queries. Consider a query which gets the humans appearing in a specific film:

query HumansAppearingIn($episode: Episode!){
    humans(appearsIn: $episode){

# example query variables:
# {
#   "episode":"NEWHOPE"
# }

When GraphQL.NET receives an enum member name as a query argument, the queried field's ResolveFieldContext stores the backing value associated with the enum member name in its arguments list. The GraphQL.NET query type which handles the example query may be implemented as:

    public class StarWarsQuery : ObjectGraphType<object>
        public StarWarsQuery()
            Name = "Query";

                .Argument<NonNullGraphType<EpisodeEnum>>("appearsIn", "An episode the human appears in.")
                .Resolve(context => 
                    // episode = 4
                    var episode = context.GetArgument<int>("appearsIn");

                    // Alternatively, get the argument as an enum. episodeFromEnum = Episodes.NEWHOPE
                    var episodeFromEnum = context.GetArgument<Episodes>("appearsIn");

                    // full implementation would access data store to get humans by episode.
                    return default(Human);

Schema-First Enumeration Types

If you have defined your schema with the schema-first syntax, the backing value of each of the enumeration values will default to a string matching the name of the enumeration value. If you wish to use a C# enumeration type instead, configure the type as demonstrated in one of the following examples:

var schema = Schema.For(definitions, c =>
    // example 1: define the "Animal" schema enumeration type to use the C# type Animal

    // example 2: define the "AnimalType" schema enumeration type to use the C# type Animal

    // example 3: define the "Animal" schema enumeration type to use the C# type Animal
    c.Types.For("Animal").Type = typeof(Animal);

Type Mapping

When specifying a field using the shortcut syntax Field(x => x.Parent), which does not specify a specific graph type, GraphQL.NET will first look at the data model to see if it has an [InputType] or [OutputType] attribute specified on it indicating the graph type to use for the data model. For instance, you can specify the graph type for a Widget class in the following manner:

public class Widget

If no attribute is specified on the type, it will search a list of CLR mappings to graph type classes. All of the intrinsic and supplemental scalar graph types included with GraphQL.NET will be searched, and lists are handled automatically as well.

You can also specify additional mappings during the schema initialization, which will be searched when the schema is initialized. These mappings can be for input objects, output objects, or scalars. A single CLR type can be mapped separately for both input and output objects.

You can override default mappings of built-in scalars by registering your own mapping. To add a mapping, call the RegisterTypeMapping method on the Schema. Below is a sample of how to add mappings:

public class MySchema
    public void MySchema()

        // For output graphs, map the 'User' data model class to the output object graph type 'UserGraphType'
        this.RegisterTypeMapping<User, UserGraphType>();

        // For input graphs, map the 'User' data model class to the input object graph type 'UserInputGraphType'
        this.RegisterTypeMapping<User, UserInputGraphType>();

        // For input or output graphs, map the 'Vector' class/struct to the scalar graph type 'VectorGraphType'
        this.RegisterTypeMapping<Vector, VectorGraphType>();

        // Override Guid default mapping to use the custom scalar graph type 'MyGuidGraphType'
        this.RegisterTypeMapping<Guid, MyGuidGraphType>()

There is no limitation on the CLR type of registered mappings -- for instance, scalar graph types can map to .NET objects or value types such as structs. However, mapping a list type such as byte[] is not supported, as the GraphQL.NET infrastructure will change this into a list graph type automatically and only search the registered mappings for a registration for byte.

In order to implement these type mappings, GraphQL.NET will build the field or argument using a pseudo-type of either GraphQLClrOutputTypeReference<T> or GraphQLClrInputTypeReference<T>. These are resolved automatically during schema initialization. If you are writing your own field builders, you may use these pseudo-graphtype classes as placeholders for .NET-type-mapped fields or arguments.

Type references

If you are writing your own dynamic schema-builder or field-builder code, you may have a need to have a placeholder graph type that is resolved during schema initialization. There are three type reference types available for this purpose:

  • GraphQLTypeReference can be used as a placeholder for another named graph type within the schema.
  • GraphQLClrOutputTypeReference<T> can be used as a placeholder for a CLR-mapped output graph type.
  • GraphQLClrInputTypeReference<T> can be used as a placeholder for a CLR-mapped input graph type.

These type references will be resolved during schema initialization. Please refer to the source code for implementation and usage details.