GraphQL is, as the QL suggests, a query language. It is not a thing or a product, but rather a methodology, a standard or a definition. It works similarly to an API or Application Programming Interface, communicating between the front and backend of a system. However, it stands apart from typical or “Restful” APIs.
How different is it and why do we use it? Cyrex likes to keep at the top of the game, in line with the most up to date efficient, and advanced methodologies and software. With GraphQL, there are a few key reasons why.
Increased performance, simply faster
To sum up the main benefit of GraphQL for our clients, it is simply faster. It requests less and moves less data as a result of delivering far more precise returns.
GraphQL allows a tighter and more refined return on requests from the database that it draws from. As an example, say a social media platform’s API has five endpoints. It allows you to fetch all users, fetch a single user’s data, create a new user, update an existing user, or delete an existing user.
In this example, fetching all users or a single user’s data can result in a significant load. When requesting information on a single user, you will get everything. Every post they make, every action, it is all sent back in the response. Your request will gather them all.
With GraphQL, instead of several endpoints for each individual functions, it collates all information into one central location. And when pulling and querying data from this location, such as searching a single user, you will not pull every single piece of information on them. The benefit of GraphQL provides only what you’re looking for based on your request. This means a more accurate result with less data overall, therefore shorting retrieval and load times.
Don’t forget to stay flexible
For the clients we provide this for, they will never have to worry about flexibility. Due to its nature as a query language, a methodology and not a product, updating is easy. No matter how your needs may change or what new functionality may be required, GraphQL is easily adapted.
No additional endpoints are required to accommodate new requests or to fetch specific data – thanks to the nature of GraphQL, the data is altogether.
With the simple request and no new coding, we simply include a new field and expose it to the current schema your system is working off. And as easy as that, it is ready to go. It puts you in full control of your change management.
As always, the backend is still fully in control of what is being delivered. So, regardless of the method of storing data, you are fully in control of what can or can’t be accessed by any typical user.
Documentation, documentation, please!
For those working on the backend, you will be familiar with the fastidious requirements of documentation. Each functionality must be documented and laid out.
Cyrex uses GraphQL for all of our web APIs and have been grateful for its speed and efficiency but most importantly for its ease of access regarding documentation.
GraphQL is efficient in this regard, operating in a way that it is documentation by design. It bridges the gap between the communication of API documents.