From our Uber rides to the movies we watch on Netflix, every app that we use on a daily basis works by exchanging data between various interconnected systems. For many years, this exchange of data happened through a communication mechanism called RESTful APIs. In recent years, a new standard called GraphQL has risen to prominence as an alternative.
But what is GraphQL and what should developers know before adopting it? That’s the big question being explored at the Explorer Series 2.0 webinar featuring VP of Engineering at :Different Engineering, Hasitha Liyanage alongside Technical Lead at Gapstars, Dinisha Tennakoon. Explorer Series 2.0 is a series of webinars conducted by Gapstars about technology trends in Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and the wider world in general.
GraphQL is a query language and server-side runtime for APIs. It prioritizes giving clients exactly the data they request and no more. Serving as an alternative to REST, it allows developers to construct requests that pull data from multiple data sources in a single API call. By design, it aims to help developers create fast and flexible APIs that can be easily maintained. As Hasitha puts it, “GraphQL simplifies back end development greatly for developers.”
Diving deeper into a popular advantage of GraphQL, Dinisha explained, “With REST, an issue is that you end up calling for a lot more data than you need. This becomes an issue as applications grow larger and have to support more users. Whereas with GraphQL you only get the exact data you need. This adds up to massive savings for large applications.” Hence several household apps like Netflix have begun adopting it.
For developers curious about moving to GraphQL and unlocking its full benefits, the Explorer Series 2.0 webinar will help guide you through rethinking your API design.
During the webinar, Dinisha discussed the bootstrapping angle of GraphQL. Meanwhile, Hasitha explored the nitty-gritty of how applications can utilise it to scale up to meet the demands of more users. Together, they covered how to think about performance, stability, and architecture for long-term growth. To learn more about building scalable applications, click here to watch the recording of the Explorer Series 2.0 webinar.
Exploring How to Build Scalable Apps with GraphQL at the Explorer Series 2.0 was originally published in Gapstars on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.