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Software Development with GraphQL's Data

Estefanía Teixeira

Table of Content

What is GraphQL?
Uses of GraphQL
Types of GraphQL
Example of GraphQL
Tools for GraphQL
Conclusion

GraphQL often comes to mind when discussing programming languages. It's a query and data management language for APIs. Also, it's in a runtime environment to perform queries with existing data. Thus, it's no surprise it takes part in many critical software development edges. The query language allows for reading, interpreting, and updating data. But do you want to know other points that converge and define this tool? It's time to start!

What is GraphQL?

When writing a GraphQL, the developer handles the data type definition. This type of determination can be type definition, typedef, or simple definition. Let's say we tell the server how to read that something is a car. Then, GraphQL goes into a state of interpretation. In this context, it creates a series of orders or steps. For instance, to handle data extraction and storage. Later, it tells the server the different types of data and their relation to each other. These commands receive the name resolvers. The purpose of this language is to tell the server the connection between different types of data.

Although it sounds very simple, this is its basic definition. Following the previous example, it's not only about telling the server that an element is a car. Other features make this language unique and necessary. Through this language, you can tell the server to read a car belonging to a particular user in a specific way. In this context, both car and user data are nodes. In a nutshell, it determines how you will relate the data you find.

What is GraphQL?

What are GraphQL APIs?

Defining the GraphQL API is simple, considering they are quite related. Also, they're in endless combinations. In the short term, an API is an interface that allows communications between two services. Its name comes from Application Programming Interface.

Moreover, it reunites all protocols and functions necessary for development processes. These processes include databases, online platforms, social networks, and operating systems.

Now it's essential to address the use of GraphQL to develop APIs. With simple requests, GraphQL gets responses with all the required fields. This collation also allows for improving network usage by reducing HTTP loads. Yet, the uses of this language depend on the final goal. Front-end developers use GraphQL to build queries and fetch specific data. But, back-end developers apply it to model data.

Is GraphQL a DBMS?

This is one of the most requested questions. Also, it's confusing within the development field. Yet, the answer is no, GraphQL is not a Database Management Software. The confusion comes as a misconception of the term. While GraphQL is a query language for API, it's not for a database. In a nutshell, it's a database-independent language. Furthermore, devs can use GraphQL with any database or even without a database.

Benefits of GraphQL

Devs can build a GraphQL back.end server without acknowledging the front-end side. With this tool, front-end devs can request info at any time. An example could be a list of users with their cars, profile pictures, and license plates.

During dev commands, it's possible to read databases on other platforms, like Rest API. Yet, GraphQL has a predominant relevance and speed over Rest API. That's because it makes it easier to choose the query fields. Thus, it consolidates a better learning curve. Also, GraphQL allows data collection from various sources with one API call.

Uses of GraphQL

One of the most asked questions is how GraphQL works. To this, the answer is quite simple. GraphQL allows the definition of a data structure. Moreover, it considers the return of said structure from the same server.

The functional cycle provides for regulating the amount of data returned. What's more, this feature has great relevance to the effectiveness of the web cache. Further, it can add a level of complexity that is not worth it with simple APIs. That's why flexibility and richness are often-used concepts to define this language.

GraphQL offers a type system and a type of introspection. Also, it has static validation, query language, and execution semantics. It can also support writing, reading, and data changes with real-time updates. This is often applied when using WebHooks.

Servers powered by GraphQL are available for a large count of languages. Among the most known, there are Java, JavaScript, Python, PHP, C#, and C++. What's more, it's compatible with Haskel, Pearl, Go, Scale, and Clover, to name a few.

Furthermore, various projects are available to ease the adoption of GraphQL:

  • Apollo. This platform has a client library better known as ApolloClient.
    Besides, it has a back-end framework known as ApolloServer.
  • Graphback. This is a command line client generated by Node.JS servers
  • Offix. It's an offline client that allows specific mutations and queries to GraphQL.
    This feature is possible even if access to the app is unenabled.
  • OpenAPI-to-GraphQL. This command line interface and library handle API translating.
    It includes OpenAPI or Swagger.

What are the uses for GraphQL?

Who created GraphQL?

This language was born for internal uses on Facebook in 2012 and launched to the public in 2015. Later, in 2018, the project went from Facebook to the GraphQL Foundation's hands. This organization is within the Linux Foundation.

Since its birth, GraphQL has followed the life cycle proposed by its creator, Lee Byron. Byron's primary goal is to present this language on all web pages. This language maintains an excellent approximation with the development of web APIs. By 2018, GraphQL Schema Language (SDL) became a specific term.

Who uses GraphQL?

Curious netizens are also wondering who uses GraphQL. The language has several large enterprises using it across many environments. Their main purposes are to power mobile, web, and API apps. Some recognized companies are PayPal, Twitter, Coursera, and Starbucks. Other platforms include Rakuten, Shopify, and Magento.

Types of GraphQL

GraphQL is a typed language. Currently, system types get sorted by different data types. These types act like a contract between the user and the server. Let's review some popular GraphQL data types

Scalar

This type of GraphQL stores single values' primitive data. The scalar data offers int, float, string, and boolean classifications. The main element to determine a scalar type is the datatype_ field. Consequently, the snippet that returns string values is :greeting:

Object

It's the most common and represents a group of fields. Each field within an object type is assigned to another type. As a result, this allows nested typologies. Its composition has scalar and object types.

Query

This type of GraphQL is often used to get data. Within it, a query sent from a client application passes to GraphQL. Then, the latter uses the SDL to determine a query.

List

This branch represents arrays of values ​​for a specific type. Here, the lists' definitions include modifiers. Also, these modifiers include scalar, object, and enumeration GraphQL.

Mutation

These are mutations moved to the server to develop, update or delete data. It handles identifying the entry points for the different data manipulation operations.

Enumeration

It has significant similarities with the scalar type. It’s a valuable option when dealing with the value of a field that needs to have a list of options.

Non-Nullable

Scalar types can be set to null. In a nutshell, this type has two options: to return a specific value or to have no value at all. It’s possible to add an exclamation mark to a particular type to override a default value and specify a field. This type of mechanism ensures a value response in the returned results.

Each type handles the definition of type sets. In all cases, these types deal with possible queried data. Once GraphQL accesses the queries, it validates and executes them.

What are the types of GraphQL systems?

Example of GraphQL

The best way to learn about this language is by looking at a series of sample queries and responses. We'll be showing this below as an example of a GraphQL project.

1. In the first step, GraphQL requests an API to give specific fields. These fields respond to the query formulation and requests.

{
  me {
	name
  }
}

2. Next, a GraphQL API will return the result in a JSON format.

{
  "me": {
	"name": "Dorothy"
  }
}

3. The user can also apply the use of arguments and be part of the query.

{
  human (id: "1000") {
	name
	location
  }
}

4. And, finally, the result is:

{
  "data": {
	"human": {
  	"name": "Dorothy",
  	"location": "Kansas"
	}
  }
}

GraphQL allows users to define reusable elements and determine various variables. Suppose a dev team wants to request a series of identifications and records. Using GraphQL, creating a single query with one API call is possible. If you're a GitHub user, a faster way to get a more convenient experience is to use GraphQL Explorer from GitHub.

Tools for GraphQL

There are sets of framework-based npm elements that help create GraphQL solutions. Also, some tools serve to improve quality development. Among these are:

Besides the mentioned tools, there are specific tools for GraphQL with Python. Its most popular libraries are Ariadne, Strawberry, and Graphene. Yet, these tools are not only useful when developing servers. At the same time, they’re able to use it within browsers. For example, simulation of a backend through the development or testing process.

Conclusion

This language has a series of tools that interfere with API development. It channels fast, has natural operations, and is independent of database access. Also, it's capable of supporting a large number of clients and languages. While GraphQL has many uses, it seeks to optimize data requesting and receiving.

We hope you liked this article! Also, we expect it to clarify any doubts. As we know, with software products, success and agile minds go hand in hand. So, we can start asking ourselves: is GraphQL the future?


The list of uses for GraphQL keeps going. Its data structure possibilities seem to have no limit. Also, its ability to organize data creates tangible and valuable outcomes for businesses, developers, and final users. This opportunity matches perfectly with today's data-driven market and business state. Step ahead on the game! Your venture can explore its data in never-seen ways with the help of our specialized development team. You can look at our showcase and blog content to learn more about our team, approach, and work. Are you ready to take the lead? Let's shape the future together!

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