GraphQL VS REST: Where do you stand?

Developers truly relish the concepts of structured resource access and stateless servers and have made REST the preferred architecture for designing web APIs. Leveraging minimal bandwidth, REST has played an influential role in shaping the web development practices and paradigms of today. However, there were always some flexibility concerns associated with REST technology which came into the limelight as the technology evolved. Developers sought a newer upgrade that could help them fix the inflexibility of REST technology and placate the advanced accessibility needs of the clients. This need for improvement laid the foundation for GraphQL that is simply a Query Language based on multiple REST models and is designed to cope with the developer’s need for efficiency and flexibility.        

GraphQL VS REST: Major Differences and Similarities

The technicalities of GraphQL and REST are incredibly similar yet the end product is hugely divergent. Both of these API paradigms have analogous properties while the GraphQL relishes the benefits of some performance and programming upgrades such as efficiency and better flexibility. Designed to fix the limitations of REST, GraphQL has multiple elements of the REST technology deeply integrated into its catalog. GraphQL only has little changes in its structure yet these alterations totally revamp the web developers’ experience of structuring and consuming an application program interface (API).

Both these models work through a similar core principle revolving around the concept of resource and data retrieval. Both the APIs retrieve data by sending a GET request and with the aid of the JSON response. In REST, the resource shape and type are coupled into one another and resultantly the complete data block is retrieved. In the quest to augment efficiency and flexibility, GraphQL provides more concentrated results for the same resource and also gives the developer the luxury to prioritize and dictate data relevancy.

Where do Developers Stand?

From the developers’ point of view, GraphQL servers provide the required elements to efficiently design modern mobile and web applications. By simply loading only the relevant and desirable data, these servers eliminate the discrepancies involved with the traditional web development alternatives. Being more flexible and practical, GraphQL allows developers to build highly optimized mobile and web applications by reducing the data sprawling widely associated with the REST technology.

However, there are also some limitations associated with GraphQL as it’s still in its early phases of evolution and isn’t as evolved as the REST. For instance, it is complicated to cache the results in GraphQL using the HTTP caching while REST results can be easily cached. All in all, GraphQL is a great contemporary API paradigm for developers who require multiple endpoints and are working with complex UI/UX. On the other hand, developers who are seamlessly developing apps with REST without running into any flexibility and efficiency issues don’t necessarily need to take this particular transition. Not to forget, REST is an architectural style while GraphQL is a manipulation or an open-source data query language. Both APIs are hugely interrelated and developers need to assess their development needs before reaching the final verdict.