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5 Reasons that You should use GraphQL for your API

By Jimmy Hung
June 30, 2021
6 min read
5 Reasons that You should use GraphQL for your API

We’ve all been there. You’re at a party and someone asks you what you do for work. You tell them that you build APIs, but then they ask “What’s an API?” If this is the first time in your life that someone has asked this question, don’t worry! GraphQL is here to help. It’s essentially an interface with which front-end developers can get data from the back-end without having to make requests for each individual resource separately - it’s just one simple request away. So if you want to save yourself from being embarrassed in social situations or looking like a fool when talking shop with other engineers, read on for five reasons why GraphQL should be your API of choice!

GraphQL is a data querying language designed for APIs

A new data querying language has been created to make interacting with APIs more efficient and easier. This programming language is called GraphQL, which stands for “Graph Query Language”. It allows developers the ability to define exactly what they need from an API as opposed to requesting everything at once as a regular HTTP query would do. The end product of this process will be faster loading times when dealing with these queries because you’re only retrieving your desired information without being burdened by extraneous details that might not even apply.

A new type of data querying language was developed in order to streamline development time on applications using APIs (Application Programming Interface).

GraphQL is a new querying language for APIs that will streamline what developers request from these API endpoints.

Developer experience, cost-effectiveness, and the growing community are three reasons you should consider using GraphQL for your API.

It was created by Facebook and is open source

GraphQL is the brainchild of what amounted to what might be considered a rebellion against REST, an old but established data querying language.

Facebook created GraphQL in response to what it perceived as over-complication on the developer end and limitations due to what can’t be done with REST API’s - Facebook found that developers were spending too much time developing their app because they had no idea what was going to come back when requesting information from an endpoint.

This new type of query streamlines requests by eliminating extraneous details and returning only desired results while also ensuring accuracy for what you need.

Unlike traditional queries which return all possible responses within an API call, graphql allows you the ability to specify exactly what fields are required without having to guess what data is going to be returned.

This allows developers to know what information will show up before they even request it, which in turn saves time on the developer end and prevents unwanted errors with REST APIs.

GraphQL was created by Facebook and is open source so there are many different resources available online that can help not only give an explanation but walk through building a schema from scratch as well!

GraphQL queries are sent to the server, not parsed on the client side like RESTful endpoints

The graphql specification is what many developers will have to use if they want a web front-end that can be used by mobile clients.

GraphQL queries are sent to the server, not parsed on the client side like RESTful endpoints as these types of APIs generally fetch data in one JSON request and then process it all together. This allows fast response times for users and more control over what requests get made from their app or website. The downside of this is that development time might take longer because you need to build out a schema first before making any code changes so there needs to be some planning put into what kind of information should go where and how those fields tie together with each other along with which methods would actually be what would determine what information is actually requested.

One pro about GraphQL, when compared to traditional RESTful APIs, is that what it does for you can be customizable to what the user needs. For example, a RESTful API might group all their information into folders and categories while GraphQL lets you decide what fields are needed based on how much of each piece of data would be used versus what just sits there unused because they don’t need it.

A really cool feature about GraphQL is that if your app or website has too many requests then they will automatically break down those requests into smaller pieces so no one request gets overloaded which means more time spent coding less time waiting in frustration when everything crashes at once!

You can use GraphQL to perform complex operations with a single query

One of the things that make GraphQL really great is its simplicity. It can take what would be a long list of REST API endpoints and turn them into one simple query, which makes it easier to manage what you’re doing with your data. You don’t need to know what each endpoint does or what parameters are needed for each request - just write what’s necessary in order to retrieve exactly what you want!

It also has some powerful features like grouping all their information into folders and categories while graphql lets you decide what fields are needed based on how much of each piece of data would be used versus what just sits there unused because they don’t need it.

If we were using our own APIs then this means more time spent on the backend and less time what actually needs to be done with the data.

The syntax of GraphQL is much more intuitive than RESTful endpoints because it uses JSON-like syntax instead of XML or other verbose formats

GraphQL is a query language for APIs and has many benefits over RESTful endpoints. One of the most important advantages is that it lets you specify exactly what data you need instead of getting all kinds of information back. This can be done by categorizing your queries into folders that group similar types together, or grouping fields in an optimal way.

It also uses JSON-like syntax without any XML verbosity so code written using GraphQL will be much more succinct than traditional API requests! The use of intuitive keywords like “select” to get only specific pieces of data means that developers will have less time spent on the backend dealing with unnecessary things while they work on other tasks related to their product strategy.

The downside is not having direct access to a database or many other advanced features, but GraphQL has been said to be perfect for those who already have an API that they need querying.

Selecting data using keywords like “select” means you can spend less time on the backend dealing with unnecessary things while working on your product strategy-related tasks. The downside is not having direct access to databases and many other advanced features; however, it’s been reported as being ideal for people who already have an API they need querying.

Genres of Queries:

Folders/Groupings - A way of grouping queries into folders that group similar types together so developers know where in their codebase to find certain functions relevant to these fields of work. For instance, a company might have a folder for “Functions Related to How We Ship Orders” and another one called “Customer Support.”

Nested Fields - A way of organizing related data into nested structures, so you can use more than one field in your query. This also allows developers to make queries that span different kinds of fields without repeating themselves with the same sub-query syntax over and over again. For example:

{
 books 
 { 
  title author 
 } 
} 

This could be used to find all the information about an individual book, or it could just be used as means of grouping together titles by author name.

Selectors - The ability to select which pieces of data come back from GraphQL when requesting records through either filter (a boolean) or a selector function. For example, you can ask for all fields in the database with a specific string value

Detailed Example of RESTful JSON Endpoints vs. GraphQL’s Syntax

RESTful JSON endpoint:

GET /api/v0.42?include=books&limit=30&offset=20

GraphQL query:

{ 
 books(publisher:"Penguin")
  {
   title author
  } 
}
  • The first two lines return data from API v0.42. The third line adjusts where we want to start getting records from (from 20 instead of 0) as well as how many records we want returning (limit: 30).

  • The last line shows a request for all books published by Penguin.

The syntax of GraphQL is much more intuitive than RESTful endpoints because it uses JSON-like syntax instead of XML or other verbose formats. This makes client-side development with React Native, TypeScript, AngularJS, etc., very easy to implement since the language structure matches what’s being used on the frontend. As you can see from this example below, when requesting data in a restful endpoint using GET, we have to use complex HTML like “include” and “limit”. On the other hand, with GraphQL’s query format, as seen here

{ 
  books(
   publisher: "Penguin"
  )
 }

it’s a lot more readable and straightforward.

GraphQL is a newer API protocol created in 2012 by Facebook as an alternative to RESTful endpoints. One of the key features that sets GraphQL apart from other protocols is its ability to be used without any additional setup on the frontend caching servers like Akamai, CDNs, or Cloudflare which are required when using RESTful APIs.

GraphQL is the newest data querying language on the block and it’s making waves in the API world. It was designed by Facebook to solve many RESTful endpoints problems, like verbose syntax that can be difficult for developers who aren’t familiar with XML or other formats. The best part about GraphQL? You don’t have to parse queries client-side; they are sent directly to the server which makes complex operations easy peasy! Check out this article for more info on how you can use GraphQL today!


Tags

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Jimmy Hung

Jimmy Hung

Free Software Enthusiast

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