Don't pass huge monolithic objects to helper functions

Avoid passing around huge, monolithic objects around to helper functions. Only pass what the function really needs.

Bad Example

// A GraphQL 'context' object
interface Context {
  request: Request;
  headers: Headers;
  settings: AppSettings;
  loaders: DataLoaders;
  zipkinTracer: Tracer;
  // ...
  // ...
  // ... lots more items
  // ...

async function getFormattedName(context: Context, id: number): string {
  // Fetch the user object
  const user = await context.loaders.user.load(id);

  // e.g. returns "H. Simpson"
  return `${user.firstName.slice(0, 1)}. ${user.lastName}`;

getFormattedName(context, 4);


function getFormattedName(user: User): string {
  // e.g. returns "H. Simpson"
  return `${user.firstName.slice(0, 1)}. ${user.lastName}`;

getFormattedName(await context.loaders.user.load(4));


In the first example, we pass a GraphQL 'context' object, which may contain tens or hundreds of other unrelated key/values. But our getFormattedName function only needed to call one function nested within.

Passing the entire object is bad because:

  • It's harder to unit test getFormattedName - you'd need to conjure up a whole context object in the right structure.
  • Generally speaking, we expose getFormattedName to lots of other unrelated stuff we don't care about. It has to crawl through the context object, and call the context.loaders.user.load method, violating the single responsibility principle

(We could even simplify the signature of getFormattedName further, so as to not take in the whole user object - e.g. getFormattedName(firstName, lastName).)