Sorting and Pagination

The sorting module is available for advanced data sorting and pagination. Data can be sorted within a column, via association, or with a dynamic query.


To order any Ecto schema, use the Explorer.SortingHelper.apply_sorting/3 function. This function requires three arguments:

  • The Ecto query to be sorted (query)

  • User-provided sorting parameters (sorting)

  • Default sorting parameters (default_sorting)

Sorting Parameters

Sorting parameters follow the type Explorer.SortingHelper.sorting_params/0, which can be one of the following tuples:

  • {ordering, column}

  • {ordering, column, binding}

  • {:dynamic, column, ordering, Ecto.Query.dynamic_expr()}


  • ordering can be :asc, :asc_nulls_first, :asc_nulls_last, :desc, :desc_nulls_first, or :desc_nulls_last.

  • column is an atom representing the column name to sort by.

  • binding is an atom denoting the association or binding to use for the column.


Pagination is handled by the Explorer.SortingHelper.page_with_sorting/4 function in conjunction with ordering. It uses the provided paging_options along with the sorting parameters to return a paginated query.

We use cursor based pagination because blockchain data may be quite large. After merging default and user provided sorting options we generate a dynamic query with a recursive condition for each column.

Blockscout employs cursor-based pagination for efficient handling of large blockchain datasets. This approach is facilitated by the Explorer.SortingHelper.page_with_sorting/4 function, which integrates sorting parameters with pagination options.

Cursor-Based Pagination

Cursor-based pagination is particularly suitable for blockchain data due to its potential size and frequent data updates. This method ensures that the same records are not retrieved more than once, even if new data is inserted between requests.

Pagination Implementation

The page_with_sorting function accepts the following arguments:

  1. The Ecto query object.

  2. Paging options that specify the cursor position and the page size.

  3. User-provided sorting parameters.

  4. Default sorting parameters.

By combining the default and user-provided sorting options, a dynamic query is constructed. This includes 'where' conditions that are applied recursively for each column involved in the sorting. This ensures that the pagination cursor moves accurately through the sorted records.

Using this function, developers can create paginated endpoints that respond quickly and consistently, even with the ever-growing amount of blockchain data.


@default_sorting [
  desc_nulls_last: :circulating_market_cap,
  desc_nulls_last: :fiat_value,
  desc_nulls_last: :holder_count,
  asc: :name,
  asc: :contract_address_hash


@doc """
Lists the top `t:__MODULE__.t/0`'s'.
@spec list_top(String.t() | nil, [
        | {:sorting, SortingHelper.sorting_params()}
        | {:token_type, [String.t()]}
      ]) :: [Token.t()]
def list_top(filter, options \\ []) do
  paging_options = Keyword.get(options, :paging_options, Chain.default_paging_options())
  token_type = Keyword.get(options, :token_type, nil)
  sorting = Keyword.get(options, :sorting, [])

  query = from(t in Token, preload: [:contract_address])

  sorted_paginated_query =
    |> apply_filter(token_type)
    |> SortingHelper.apply_sorting(sorting, @default_sorting)
    |> SortingHelper.page_with_sorting(paging_options, sorting, @default_sorting)

  filtered_query =
    case filter && filter !== "" && Search.prepare_search_term(filter) do
      {:some, filter_term} ->
        |> where(fragment("to_tsvector('english', symbol || ' ' || name) @@ to_tsquery(?)", ^filter_term))

      _ ->

  |> Chain.select_repo(options).all()

User-provided sorting is obtained from the query parameters of a REST API call through the tokens_sorting/1 function:

@spec tokens_sorting(%{required(String.t()) => String.t()}) :: [{:sorting, SortingHelper.sorting_params()}]
def tokens_sorting(%{"sort" => sort_field, "order" => order}) do
  [sorting: do_tokens_sorting(sort_field, order)]

def tokens_sorting(_), do: []

defp do_tokens_sorting("fiat_value", "asc"), do: [asc_nulls_first: :fiat_value]
defp do_tokens_sorting("fiat_value", "desc"), do: [desc_nulls_last: :fiat_value]
defp do_tokens_sorting("holder_count", "asc"), do: [asc_nulls_first: :holder_count]
defp do_tokens_sorting("holder_count", "desc"), do: [desc_nulls_last: :holder_count]
defp do_tokens_sorting("circulating_market_cap", "asc"), do: [asc_nulls_first: :circulating_market_cap]
defp do_tokens_sorting("circulating_market_cap", "desc"), do: [desc_nulls_last: :circulating_market_cap]
defp do_tokens_sorting(_, _), do: []

This function converts query parameters into sorting parameters understood by the sorting module.

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