Rest or GraphQL

REST (or REpresentational State Transfer) is a well known approach for building web services that tries to utilize the most out of the HTTP protocol of the web.

GraphQL is a specification developed by Facebook which describes the new API syntax for accessing backend data. It enables clients to define the exact data they need, oftentimes allowing for a more efficient communication.

Benefits

REST

01

Embrace HTTP

GraphQL’s flexible query language allows to define the exact data that the client needs. This can often prevent both under- and over-fetching.

02

Hypermedia

Microservices allow each service to be independently scaled to meet the demand for the application feature it supports. Accurately measure the cost of a feature, and maintain availability if a service experiences a shift in demand.

03

Elastic

Because REST embraces full HTTP protocol possibilities, it allows for multiple different data formats, and even embedded well constrained DSLs (for example Elasticsearch API)

GraphQL

01

The client may specify exactly what data 
is needed

GraphQL’s flexible query language allows to define the exact data that the client needs. This can often prevent both under- and over-fetching.

02

Mobile and web clients can use the same endpoint

Microservices allow each service to be independently scaled to meet the demand for the application feature it supports. Accurately measure the cost of a feature, and maintain availability if a service experiences a shift in demand.

03

Data described in the type system

GraphQL schema language allows for detailed service definitions out-of-the box. This enables the frontend and backend teams to work independently and confidently in a contract-first approach

When to use

REST

When a modern, stateless and scalable web services

If there’s a need for decoupling server code from the client side

When distributing work across specialized teams is crucial

GraphQL

Service will be used in different use cases requiring different amounts of data.

Service will be used by different client applications with different needs for data.

It’s important to have a well-defined, typed and detailed schema.

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