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Cross Dataset References - Quickstart

A step-by-step guide to getting started with Shared Content with Cross-Dataset References in your Sanity Studio.

A powerful tool in your Shared Content toolbox is the crossDatasetReference schema type. This article provides a step-by-step walkthrough of how to get started using it in the studio. For more background on cross-dataset references, please refer to the more in-depth introductory article and the schema type reference.

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Prerequisites and presumptions

This article presumes that:

  • You have access to two different datasets within a single project you’d like to connect
  • That both of those datasets belong to projects on an enterprise plan and have the shared content feature enabled
  • That the studios you intend to use to interact with these datasets are updated to v2.34.2 or later
  • That you have some prior experience with Sanity and are familiar with concepts such as the studio, datasets, and projects

For the remainder of this guide, we’ll refer to the dataset that will be doing the referencing as the referencing dataset, and to the dataset that has the document type that will be referred to as the referenced dataset.

Let’s go!

Setting up the schema

  • Navigate once more to the project folder for the studio you intend to use with your referencing dataset. Run sanity start again to start up the dev server. (Or, more likely, just keep it running unless you shut it down earlier.)
  • Open the project folder in your favorite code editor, and navigate to the location where you want your new crossDatasetReference field to show up. You can make a new schema, or make some room in one you’ve already written.
  • Once you’ve decided where you want your field, add the following code, substituting the placeholder values for your own.
{
  title: 'Reference to documents in a another dataset',
  name: 'myCoolField',
  type: 'crossDatasetReference',
  dataset: '<name-of-other-dataset>',
  to: [
    {
      type: '<blogPostInTargetDataset>',
      preview: {
        select: {
          title: 'title',
          media: 'heroImage',
        },
      },
    },
  ],
}
  • Let’s go through the code line by line:
    • The title and name fields, you may give whatever values you’d like. name is required, title is optional, as always.
    • The type is required and must be crossDatasetReference.
    • dataset is required and should be given the appropriate values from your referenced dataset.
    • The to field should have an array of the document types you’d like to be able to reference in your referenced dataset. You can have multiple types defined, but only from one dataset per field.
      • Each entry in the to array is an object specifying the type of documents we’re interested in and which of its fields we should use for search and previews, as defined by the preview field.
    • These are the required fields for any crossDatasetReference field, but there are several more! Read all about them here!
  • Save your work, and navigate to the appropriate content type in your studio. You should see something like this:

Querying cross-dataset references

// Results include the name of the origin dataset
{
  _type: 'crossDatasetReference',
  _ref: 'id-of-reference-document',
  _dataset: 'name-of-dataset',
}

Cross-dataset references work similarly to regular references, except that dereferencing is unidirectional. You can read more about this in the main article on cross-dataset references, but in short, it means that expanding references using the -> operator works as you'd might expect, but using other methods such as the references() function will not work.

// Dereferencing using -> works as normal
*[_type == 'crossDatasetReferringDocument']{
	 // Expand entire referenced document
   personFromDatasetB->,
	 // Expand projection of certain fields
  "personDetails": personFromDatasetB->{
    name, 
    jobTitle,
    awards->name
  }
}
// This is a NOT SUPPORTED query
*[_type == 'crossDatasetReferringDocument']{
	 // Expand entire referenced document
   personFromDatasetB->,
	 // Expand projection of certain fields
  "personDetails": personFromDatasetB->{
    name, 
    jobTitle,
    "awards": *[_type == "awards" && references(^._id)] // <== here the reference function will not work for a cross-dataset reference
  }
}

Further reading:

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