GraphQL versus REST API: When to Prioritize Modern Language over Immortal Classics?

GraphQL was developed by Facebook in 2012. Today it’s used by the most popular web and mobile applications such as Airbnb, Pinterest, Twitter or Yelp. Why? Because it’s modern, efficient and thanks to a large community of developers it’s quickly moving forward. What is its biggest advantage and when to prefer it over the traditional Rest API? We will look at all of this in this blog.

The 3 main advantages of GraphQL…

So let’s get straight to the point. The most important advantage of this currently very popular language is undoubtedly its accuracy. GraphQL allows developers to define the specific queries they want to get from the API. After that, only the data that is really needed for the application will be returned to them. This allows for faster data transfer, more efficient use of server resources and improves the overall performance of the application.

In addition, GraphQL supports a simple and flexible API interface. Developers can easily add or edit queries and further define the data to be returned. This makes it a very useful tool for large and complex applications with different information transfer requirements.

Last but not least, there’s the possibility to work with multiple services at the same time. GraphQL combines data from different sources and returns them as a single result. Developers can easily work with different databases and get the result as one object.

… and one important challenge

Naturally, with a number of advantages also come certain problems, or, as they’re called in management language, challenges. With GraphQL, it’s necessary to make more effort when designing an API schema. In addition, it must be carefully tested in order to be effective and fully used in the application. Developers therefore need more time to plan and design its operation, which must be carefully taken into account in the timetable for the development of the application.

When to prefer GraphQL over the traditional REST API?

REST API is still a used classic, with which you won’t hurt anything in most cases. However, if you think it’s time for a change, we recommend GraphQL. Especially when you need…

  1. …to save the server: REST API works on the principle of request and response. When a query is sent to the server, an entire object is returned, even if only some of its parts are required. GraphQL, on the other hand, can get only the necessary data from the server. So if you want to reduce the load on the server and not overload it with currently unimportant data, GraphQL is the right way.
  2. …to fix more efficiently: GraphQL supports defining types for the data available in the API. This allows stronger typing and will help you identify and correct API errors more quickly.
  3. …regularly expand the API schema: With GraphQL, you can add new items to the API schema and extend API functions without having to change the existing API. As a result, you can easily add new features to your apps and improve them without affecting existing functionality.
  4. …develop quickly: GraphQL has a simpler syntax and logic than REST API. This means that you can create and edit queries faster, reducing application development time.
  5. …development assistance: GraphQL has an active and ever-growing community of users behind it. They contribute to its development and provide support and solutions to problems. So if you don’t know what to do with development, they’ll be happy to help you. In addition, thanks to them, a new version of the language comes out almost all the time, so you can always look forward to further improvements and hacks.

Would you like to know more about GraphQL?

Then we would like to invite you to an event which will take place on March 22, 2023 at 17:00 in Technicom. Two developers, Mišo and Ady, will introduce you to the use of GraphQL in practice and you’ll be able to ask about everything you’re interested in. So if you want to get started with GraphQL or want to expand your knowledge of this language, we look forward to seeing you! Link to FB event: