2.2 Types of APIs - GraphQL
1. Let’s start with a story! What made Facebook create GraphQL?
Facebook created GraphQL because it wanted a better way for people to get the information they need from the Facebook website. With a traditional REST API, you might have to make several different requests to get all the information you need.
For example, if you wanted to see your mom’s latest post and all the comments on that post, you would have to make two separate requests to the REST API. This can be slow and use a lot of data on your phone.
With GraphQL, you can just make one request and ask for everything you need in one go. This makes things faster and more efficient, so you can see your mom’s post and all the comments on it right away.
Imagine you’re a kid and you want to see your mom’s latest post and all the comments on it. With GraphQL, you can just ask for that information in one go, and Facebook will give it to you right away. This makes things faster and more efficient, so you can see your mom’s post and all the comments on it more quickly.
2. How is GraphQL different from REST API?
GraphQL and REST API are both ways of talking to a computer. They both let you ask the computer questions and get answers. But they are different.
With a REST API, you can only ask the computer one question at a time. But with GraphQL, you can ask the computer many questions at once. For example, if you wanted to find out about a person, you could ask the computer for their name, age, and favourite colour all in one go. That’s like asking the computer one big question with lots of pieces.
GraphQL is a data query language developed by Facebook for use with APIs. It is different from REST APIs in that it allows clients to specify the exact data they need from a server, rather than getting a predefined set of data from an endpoint. For example, with a REST API, a client would make a GET request to an endpoint such as /users/1 to get all the data associated with user 1. With GraphQL, the client can specify exactly the data they need with a query such as:
This query would only return the name, email, and age of user 1, instead of all the data associated with it.
3. When the usage of GraphQL is preferred?
There are several situations where a company might prefer to use GraphQL over a traditional REST API. Here are a few examples:
- When they want to provide a more flexible and powerful API for their clients. GraphQL allows clients to specify exactly what data they need, so they can get exactly what they need without having to make multiple requests or download unnecessary data.
- When they want to improve the performance of their API. Because GraphQL allows clients to request only the data they need, it can be faster and more efficient than a REST API, which often sends a lot of data that the client may not need.
- When they want to make their API easier to use and understand. GraphQL has a clear and simple syntax that is easy for developers to learn and use, making it more accessible and user-friendly than some REST APIs.
- When they want to integrate their API with different front-end technologies and frameworks. Because GraphQL is not tied to any specific front-end technology, it can be used with a wide range of frameworks and libraries, making it more flexible and adaptable than some REST APIs.
In general, companies may prefer to use GraphQL over a REST API when they want to provide a more powerful, efficient, and user-friendly API for their clients.
4. Common product management interview questions related to GraphQL
How does GraphQL help improve the product development process?
GraphQL can help improve the product development process by providing a more flexible and powerful way to fetch data from the product’s API. This allows developers to easily get the data they need to build new features, without having to make multiple requests or download unnecessary data.
How does GraphQL support rapid iteration and experimentation in product development?
GraphQL supports rapid iteration and experimentation in product development by allowing developers to quickly and easily test new ideas and changes to the product’s API. Because GraphQL is not tied to any specific front-end technology, developers can experiment with different frameworks and libraries to quickly prototype and test new features.
How does GraphQL enable better collaboration between product managers, designers, and developers?
GraphQL enables better collaboration between product managers, designers, and developers by providing a clear and simple syntax that is easy for all team members to understand and use. This allows product managers to easily specify the data requirements for a new feature, designers to quickly create mockups and prototypes, and developers to implement the feature using the GraphQL API.
How can GraphQL help improve the user experience of a product?
GraphQL can help improve the user experience of a product by providing a faster and more efficient way to fetch data from the product’s API. This can make the product more responsive and interactive, and reduce the amount of data that needs to be downloaded, which can save on network resources and improve the performance of the product.
How can GraphQL be used to support third-party integrations and partnerships?
GraphQL can be used to support third-party integrations and partnerships by providing a standardized and flexible way for third-party developers to access the product’s data and features. This can make it easier for partners to integrate their own products and services with the product and can help to expand the product’s ecosystem and reach.