What exactly is GraphQL?

GREETY | January 10, 2023

What exactly is GraphQL?

GraphQL is a new API standard was invented and developed by Facebook. GraphQL is intended to improve the responsiveness, adaptability, and developer friendliness of APIs. It was created to optimize RESTful API calls and offers a more flexible, robust, and efficient alternative to REST. It is an open-source server-side technology that is now maintained by a large global community of companies and individuals. It is also an execution engine that acts as a data query language, allowing you to fetch and update data declaratively. GraphQL makes it possible to transfer data from the server to the client. It allows programmers to specify the types of requests they want to make.

GraphQL servers are available in a variety of languages, including Java, Python, C#, PHP, and others. As a result, it is compatible with any programming language and framework.

Client-Server Architecture of GraphQL

For a better understanding, the client-server architecture of GraphQL is depicted above

  • No JSON is used to write the GraphQL query. A GraphQL query is transmitted as a string to the server then when a client sends a 'POST' request to do so.
  • The query string is received by the server and extracted. The server then processes and verifies the GraphQL query in accordance with the graph data model and GraphQL syntax (GraphQL schema).
  • The GraphQL API server receives the data requested by the client by making calls to a database or other services, much like the other API servers do.
  • The data is then taken by the server and returned to the client as a JSON object.

Here are some major GraphQL characteristics:

  1. Declarative query language, not imperative, is offered.
  2. It is hierarchical and focused on the product.
  3. GraphQL has excellent type checking. It denotes that inquiries are carried out inside the framework of a specific system.
  4. GraphQL queries are encoded in the client rather than the server.
  5. It has all the attributes of the OSI model's application layer.

GraphQL has three essential parts:

  • Query
  • Resolver
  • Schema

1. Query:
The client machine application submitted the Query as an API request. It can point to arrays and support augments. To read or fetch values, use a query. There are two key components to a query:

a) Field: A field merely signifies that we are requesting a specific piece of information from the server. The field in a graphQL query is demonstrated in the example below.

    query {
        employee { empId  ename }

    "data": {
        "employee”: [ {
            "empId": 1, 
            "ename": "Ashok"
        }, {  
            "id": "2",  
            "firstName": "Fred"  
        …] }

In the above In the GraphQL example above, we query the server for the employee field along with its subfields, empId and ename. The data we requested is returned by the GraphQL server.

b) Arguments: As URL segments and query parameters, we can only pass a single set of arguments in REST. A typical REST call to obtain a specific profile will resemble the following:

    GET /api'employee?id=2 Content-Type: application JSON
        "empId": 3, 
        "ename": "Peter."

2. Resolver:
Resolvers give instructions on how to translate GraphQL operations into data. They define resolver routines that convert the query to data.

It shows the server the location and method for fetching data for a certain field. Additionally, the resolver distinguishes between API and database schema. The separated information aids in the modification of the database-generated material.

3. Schema:
The heart of GraphQL implementation is a schema. It explains the features that the clients connected to it can use.

The benefits of using GraphQL in an application are summarized below.

  1. It is more precise, accurate, and efficient.
  2. GraphQL queries are simple and easy to understand.
  3. Because it uses a simple query, GraphQL is best suited for microservices and complex systems.
  4. It makes it easier to work with large databases.
  5. Data can be retrieved with a single API call.
  6. GraphQL does not have over-fetching or under-fetching issues.
  7. GraphQL can be used to discover the schema in the appropriate format.
  8. GraphQL provides extensive and powerful developer tools for query testing and documentation.
  9. GraphQL automatically updates documentation in response to API changes.
  10. GraphQL fields are used in multiple queries that can be shared and reused at a higher component level.
  11. You have control over which functions are exposed and how they operate.
  12. It is suitable for rapid application prototyping.

GraphQL can be used in all types of mobile and web applications across industries, verticals, and categories that require data from multiple sources, real-time data updates, and offline capabilities. Here is some application that benefits greatly from GraphQL development:

  1. It offers Relay as well as other client frameworks.
  2. GraphQL assists you in improving the performance of your mobile app.
  3. It can reduce the problem of over fetching to reduce server-side cloud service and client-side network usage.
  4. It can be used when the client application needs to specify which fields in a long query format are required.
  5. GraphQL can be fully utilized when adding functionality to an existing or old API.
  6. It is used to simplify complicated APIs.
  7. The mix-and-match façade pattern, which is popular in object-oriented programming.
  8. When you need to combine data from multiple sources into a single API.
  9. GraphQL can be used as an abstraction on an existing API to specify response structure based on user requirements.

In this blog, I’ve attempted to explain the significance of GraphQL it is a new technology that allows developers to create scalable APIs that are not constrained by the limitations of REST APIs. It allows developers to use an API to easily describe, define, and request specific data. Please let us know what you think of GraphQL. Do you have any further questions? Please do not hesitate to contact us. We will gladly assist you.

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