GraphQL is an open-source data query and manipulation language for APIs and a runtime for fulfilling queries with existing data. GraphQL was developed internally by Facebook in 2012 before being publicly released in 2015. 

GraphQL provides a complete and understandable description of the data in your API, gives you the power to ask for exactly what they need and nothing more, makes it easier to evolve APIs over time, and enables powerful developer tools.

Technical Specifications and Benefits of GraphQL

  • GraphQL provides an efficient, powerful and flexible approach to developing web APIs and has been compared with REST and other web service architectures.
  • GraphQL allows clients to define the structure of the data required and exactly the same structure of the data is returned from the server.
  • This prevents excessively large amounts of data from being returned, but at the same time has implications for how effective web caching of query results can be.
  • The flexibility and richness of the query language also adds complexity that may not be worthwhile for simple APIs.
  • GraphQL consists of a type system, query language and execution semantics, static validation and type introspection.
  • GraphQL supports reading, writing (mutating) and subscribing to changes to data (realtime updates).

Differences Between REST and GraphQL

  • In REST, you have to call multiple endpoints to fetch related resources. 
  • In GraphQL, there’s no difference between the fields on the Query type and the fields on any other type, except that only the query type is accessible at the root of a query.

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