From REST to GraphQL: 3 Reasons to Make the Switch

REST, GraphQl, APIs, API, technology, web, webhosting, websites

REST is known in the industry as somewhat of a standard in relation to API design. It operates as a set of guidelines in lieu of being the enforced standard. It is easy to understand, well-researched, and unobtrusive. This makes it a reliable and solid option for many businesses. However, it is important to take into account that precisely because REST is so easy, it has its setbacks. These issues have come to light more recently as we have seen the diversity of API clients increase. As a result, GraphQL appears to be increasing in both popularity and promise.    

What are the Benefits of GraphQL?

Each client has their own set of requirements and expectations. Additionally, they are no longer limited to the web and mobile devices. In fact, there is a myriad of smart devices, developer platforms, and voice-controlled interfaces that businesses presently use. As you can imagine, it can become quite tricky for your API to work efficiently for a group of clients with different requirements. However, with GraphQL, you will be better equipped to meet your client’s needs. One of the greatest capabilities of GraphQL is that it supplies its clients with the ability to stipulate data requirements using a query language, transferring the complexities to the client in lieu of the server.

1. Complex Queries  

REST is a bit of a letdown when it comes to performing complex queries, it offers no instruction, leaving it to the developer to decipher. More specifically, you might possess an API that lists your products—and you need them filtered by names; in this instance, a query parameter could be employed:

  • GET /products?name=Apple


Perhaps you need multiple characteristics filtered? The following syntax is presented:

  • GET /products?name=Apple|Orange

When dealing with groups of conditions, developers are forced to invent their own query syntax depending on the API. As the name implies, GraphQL is designed for this resolve as it is a query language. It saves clients’ time as they must only absorb GraphQL to dictate their data requirements.

2. Versioning

Amending or removing a field name can cause a breaking change when using REST. This often equates to disapproving the API, maintaining the previous version until this can be revised. GraphQL enables the user to create a new field with ease. Eradicating functionality is as simple as indicating the field as deprecated, and it remains active. This also does away with the necessity for utilizing version numbers.

3. Proficiency

Locating data in a REST API requires a new HTTP request. For instance, if you are trying to find information on a process along with the product reviews, you would have to submit two separate requests:

GET /products/1

GET /products/1/reviewa

Your alternative would be to structure a syntax that requests reviews from API:

GET /products/1?include=reviews


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