Monthly Downloads: 1,800
Programming language: Elixir
License: MIT License
Latest version: v0.5.0

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Inquisitor Build Status

Easily build composable queries for Ecto.

Inquisitor is built and maintained by DockYard, contact us for expert Elixir and Phoenix consulting.


Adding Inquisitor to a project is simple:

defmodule MyApp.PostController do
  use Inquisitor

  def index(conn, params) do
    posts =
      |> build_query(conn, params)
      |> Repo.all()

    json(conn, posts)

After use Inquisitor build_query/3 is added to the MyApp.PostController. It takes a queryable variable, the conn, and the params as arguments.

This sets up a key/value queryable API for the Post model. Any combination of fields on the model can be queried against. For example, requesting [GET] /posts?foo=bar&baz=qux could create the query:

SELECT p0."foo", p0."baz" FROM posts as p0 WHERE (p0."foo" = $1) AND (p0."baz" = $1);

$1 and $2 will get the values of "bar" and "qux",


By default, Inquisitor is an opt-in library. It will not provide any querying access to any key/value pair. The params list will be iterated over and a no-op function is called on each element. You must add custom query handlers that have a higher matching order on a case by case basis.

If you'd like to add a catch-all for any key/value pair you can override the default:

def build_query(query, attr, value, _conn) do
  Ecto.Query.where(query, [r], field(r, ^String.to_existing_atom(attr)) == ^value)

However, this is not recommended. Instead you should create a @whitelist module attribute that contains all of they keys you wish to allow access to:

@whitelist ["title", "bio"]

def build_query(query, attr, value, _conn) when attr in @whitelist do
  Ecto.Query.where(query, [r], field(r, ^String.to_existing_atom(attr)) == ^value)

This will handle matching keys in the whitelist and all unmatched keys will fall back to the pass-through without affecting the query.

Adding custom query handlers

Use build_query/4 to add key/value pair handlers:

defmodule MyApp.PostsController do
  use Inquisitor

  def index(conn, params) do
    posts =
      |> build_query(params)
      |> Repo.all()

    json(conn, posts)

  def build_query(query, "inserted_at", date, _conn) do
    Ecto.Query.where(query, [p], p.inserted_at >= ^date)

Handing fields that don't exist on the model

The keys you query against don't need to exist on the model. Revisiting the date example, let's say we want to find all posts inserted for a given month and year:

def build_query(query, attr, value, _conn) when attr == "month" or attr == "year" do
  Ecto.Query.where(query, [e], fragment("date_part(?, ?) = ?", ^attr, e.inserted_at, type(^value, :integer)))

Usage Outside of Phoenix Controllers

To use inside a module other than a Phoenix Controller, you'll need to import Ecto.from/1 otherwise you may see an error like cannot use ^value outside of match clauses.

Note: we use warn: false to suppress an incorrect warning generated by Elixir thinking from is unused.

defmodule MyApp.PlainModule do
  import Ecto.Query, only: [from: 1], warn: false
  use Inquisitor


We collect all Inquisitor plugins that extend its behavior:


We are very thankful for the many contributors.


This library follows Semantic Versioning

Want to help?

Please do! We are always looking to improve this library. Please see our Contribution Guidelines on how to properly submit issues and pull requests.


DockYard, Inc. © 2016


Licensed under the MIT license

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the inquisitor README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.