Is there a way to force disconnect an absinthe graphql subscription from the server side?

The Phoenix app I’m working on creates subscriptions to the changes on a document as long as that document is “public”. If someone changes their document to “private”, though, I don’t want those subscriptions to continue receiving updates.

I know how to prevent new subscriptions from being created on the private document, but I’m not sure how to disable pre-existing ones?

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You need to assign an ID to every socket that corresponds to a particular user. Then you can do this:

MyAppWeb.Endpoint.broadcast(socket_id, "disconnect", %{})

To assign the ID to the socket, find the module where you do this:

use Absinthe.Phoenix.Socket,
  schema: MyAppWeb.Schema

It is probably in lib/my_app_web/channels/user_socket.ex.

In that “socket” module, you write your ID callbacks like this:

  @impl true
  def id(%{
        assigns: %{
          absinthe: %{
            opts: [
              context: %{current_user: current_user}
      do: socket_id_for_user(current_user)

  def id(_socket), do: nil

  def socket_id_for_user(%{id: id}), do: "user_socket:#{id}"

Now you just have to make sure this current_user assign is on your socket.

First, go to your router and put this line in any pipelines that need it (usually just the :api pipeline, sometimes the :browser pipeline):

    plug :fetch_current_user

In your router (or in an imported module, whichever you prefer), write this function:

  def fetch_current_user(conn, _opts) do
    # I don't know how you do auth so get your user your own way.
    # For me, it usually involves finding their session token in the DB.
    user = get_user_from_conn(conn)

    context = if is_nil(user), do: %{}, else: %{current_user: user}

    |> Absinthe.Plug.assign_context(context)

You may want to do other stuff in this function.
If you use phx_gen_auth you are probably putting the user_token in private assigns, for example.

The main problem you have now is that if you are sending your log-out mutation over this socket, you will have closed it before you can send a response. Very fun problem.


If I’m reading this right, this will work to force disconnect from the now-private subscriptions, but I assume it will also disconnect from any still-valid subscriptions on the same socket connection as well? Do you know if the client-side try to reconnect immediately or if there need to be explicit code to tell it to try re-subscribing to the other subscriptions?

Yes you read it correctly, it will terminate the entire socket.

You could alternatively do this after your resolve in log_out_mutation:

middleware(fn res, _ ->
  | context: Map.delete(res.context, :current_user),
    state: :resolved

if you want to remove the current_user assign and keep the socket.
However, I don’t think this will kill existing subscriptions. I don’t know how to do that.

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personally, I find it much easier to sleep at night knowing sockets are terminated every time someone logs out. It’s up to the client to recreate an unauthenticated subscription, if it wants that.

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