Querying data

The contents of a source can be interrogated using a Query. Orbit comes with a standard set of query expressions for finding records and related records. These expressions can be paired with refinements (e.g. filters, sort order, etc.).

Custom query expressions can also be developed, as long as all the sources participating can understand them.

Query expressions

The QueryExpression interface requires one member:

The other members of a QueryExpression are specific to the op.

The following standard query expressions are defined in @orbit/data:

interface QueryExpression {
op: string;
interface FindRecord extends QueryExpression {
op: 'findRecord';
record: RecordIdentity;
interface FindRelatedRecord extends QueryExpression {
op: 'findRelatedRecord';
record: RecordIdentity;
relationship: string;
interface FindRelatedRecords extends QueryExpression {
op: 'findRelatedRecords';
record: RecordIdentity;
relationship: string;
interface FindRecords extends QueryExpression {
op: 'findRecords';
type?: string;
sort?: SortSpecifier[];
filter?: FilterSpecifier[];
page?: PageSpecifier;

Supporting interfaces include:

export type SortOrder = 'ascending' | 'descending';
export interface SortSpecifier {
kind: string;
order: SortOrder;
export interface AttributeSortSpecifier extends SortSpecifier {
kind: 'attribute';
attribute: string;
export type ComparisonOperator = 'equal' | 'gt' | 'lt' | 'gte' | 'lte';
export interface FilterSpecifier {
op: ComparisonOperator;
kind: string;
export interface AttributeFilterSpecifier extends FilterSpecifier {
kind: 'attribute';
attribute: string;
value: any;
export interface PageSpecifier {
kind: string;
export interface OffsetLimitPageSpecifier extends PageSpecifier {
kind: 'offsetLimit';
offset?: number;
limit?: number;


The Query interface has the following members:

Although queries can be created “manually”, you’ll probably find it easier to use a builder function that returns a query.

To use a query builder, pass a function into a source’s method that expects a query, such as query or pull. A QueryBuilder that’s compatible with the source should be applied as an argument. You can then use this builder to create a query expression.

Standard queries

You can use the standard @orbit/data query builder as follows:

// Find a single record by identity
store.query(q => q.findRecord({ type: 'planet', id: 'earth' }));
// Find all records by type
store.query(q => q.findRecords('planet'));
// Find a related record in a to-one relationship
store.query(q => q.findRelatedRecord({ type: 'moon', id: 'io' }, 'planet'));
// Find related records in a to-many relationship
store.query(q => q.findRelatedRecords({ type: 'planet', id: 'earth' }, 'moons'));

The base findRecord query can be enhanced significantly:

// Sort by name
store.query(q => q.findRecords('planet')
// Sort by classification, then name (descending)
store.query(q => q.findRecords('planet')
.sort('classification', '-name'));
// Filter by a single attribute
store.query(q => q.findRecords('planet')
.filter({ attribute: 'classification', value: 'terrestrial' })
// Filter by multiple attributes
store.query(q => q.findRecords('planet')
.filter({ attribute: 'classification', value: 'terrestrial' },
{ attribute: 'mass', op: 'gt', value: 987654321 })
// Filter by related records
store.query(q => q.findRecords('moons')
.filter({ relation: 'planet', record: { type: 'planet', id: 'earth' }})
// Filter by multiple related records
store.query(q => q.findRecords('moons')
.filter({ relation: 'planet', record: [{ type: 'planet', id: 'earth' }, { type: 'planet', id: 'jupiter'}]})
// Paginate by offset and limit
store.query(q => q.findRecords('planet')
.page({ offset: 0, limit: 10 }));
// Combine filtering, sorting, and paginating
store.query(q => q.findRecords('planet')
.filter({ attribute: 'classification', value: 'terrestrial' })
.page({ offset: 0, limit: 10 }));

findRelatedRecords vs findRecords.filter({ relation: …, record: … })

If you’re using the default settings for JSONAPISource, findRelatedRecords and findRecords.filter(...) produce very different URLs.

const relatedRecordId = { type: 'planet', id: 'earth' };
// This fetches from: /planets/earth/moons
store.query(q => q.findRelatedRecords(relatedRecordId, 'moons'));
// This fetches from: /moons?filter[planet]=earth
store.query(q => q.findRecords('moon')).filter({ relation: 'planet', record: relatedRecordId });

Besides the different urls findRelatedRecords does not support sorting, filtering, or pagination. If you want that functionality, findRecords and filter on the relation.

Query options

Options can be added to queries to provide processing instructions to particular sources and to include metadata about queries.

For example, the following query is given a label and contains instructions for the source named remote:

store.query(q => q.findRecords('contact').sort('lastName', 'firstName'), {
label: 'Find all contacts',
sources: {
remote: {
include: ['phone-numbers']

A label can be useful for providing an understanding of actions that have been queued for processing.

The sources: ( ${sourceName}: sourceSpecificOptions } pattern is used to pass options that only a particular source will understand when processing a query. In this instance, we’re telling a source named remote (let’s say it’s a JSONAPISource) to include include=phone-numbers as a query param. This will result in a server response that includes contacts together with their related phone numbers.

Querying a store’s cache

Note that store.query is asynchronous and thus returns results wrapped in a promise. This may seem strange at first because the store’s data is “in memory”. In fact, if you want to just “peek” into the contents of the store’s memory, you can issue the same queries synchronously against the store’s Cache. For example:

// Results will be returned synchronously by querying the cache
let planets = store.cache.query(q => q.findRecords('planet').sort('name'));

By querying the cache instead of the store, you’re not allowing other sources to participate in the fulfillment of the query. If you want to coordinate queries across multiple sources, it’s critical to make requests directly on the store.