During my job search, I realized that many firms shared one major trait: the use of GraphQL. At first sight, I figured it was another database management language, but that was not the case. It does, however, function mostly in the backend. Contrary to popular perception, GraphQL has nothing to do with databases or SQL.
What is GraphQL?
GraphQL, which was created by Facebook in 2012, is a query language that works closely with APIs. It may be used as a stand-alone backend language, but it also works well with languages like Ruby on Rails. ** Because Rails is where I learned the majority of my backend skills, I’ll be comparing the two in this blog. GraphQL is advantageous in that it allows you to retrieve only the data you require from the API, resulting in faster loading times. As a result, it works well with mobile applications and is becoming increasingly popular among mobile cross-platform apps.
GET queries can still be used to retrieve data, and GraphQL makes use of these HTTP requests to retrieve data from single endpoints. Over-fetching and under-fetching difficulties are reduced as a result of the client’s ability to specify which data is returned. It’s easy to traverse unneeded data to fetch the desired data in schema relationships, however, REST requires a little more work to reach the fetch related resources.
Why is it important?
Why would we want to use GraphQL when we already have REST, which works perfectly well? While this is true, the rise of mobile applications has also aided in the growth of GraphQL’s popularity. Because GraphQL only downloads the data it requires, it’s the ideal partner in crime for mobile apps that require rapid response times. As the popularity of mobile apps grew, so did the number of front-end frameworks available. REST’s lack of flexibility made developing accompanying APIs more difficult. Furthermore, most modern apps contain a lot of layered data, which might make data retrieval challenging. There is no need to fetch data that isn’t required. As a result, Facebook began developing GraphQL as a solution to this challenge, which became an open-source project in 2015.
However, there are some parallels between REST and GraphQL. When using an HTTP get request to retrieve data, the requested data is returned as JSON data. Both GraphQL and REST make use of server-side functions, as well as the ability to tell whether an API is reading or writing data.
The IDE for GraphQL is pretty great because it allows you to test your API and endpoints to make sure your schema is accurate, as well as execute queries and changes on your API.