June 08, 2023


Choosing the best technology is the key to the success of a digital platform. If you want a platform for your business needs, choose a tech stack that can give the best shape to your business in the long run.

API plays an important role in the success of any digital platform. Whenever there is any need of building an API, there are many choices but you need to choose one that suits your needs perfectly. There are two popular names in this process, GraphQL and REST. You should be aware of when to use each of these two while creating APIs.

These technologies work by sending the HTTP requests and receiving the output. Both of these technologies are different and used to develop and scale any API.

What is GraphQL?

GraphQL is a query programming language used to get data from a server. It is the syntax used to define what you need while requesting data. With the help of this, you can get the data in a single request. It is self-documenting by nature, making it simple for users to send queries and obtain data.

You can access all the server's data with this. As you can simply change queries and establish relationships across different data kinds, GraphQL gives you control over the data. This open-source data query language for APIs was developed by Facebook.

When to use GraphQL?

You should use GraphQL data query language when you need control over the server data. With a single response, you can use this with a few requests. Moreover, it can be used to query the complex relationship between multiple data types.

Features of GraphQL

GraphQL has many features making it one of the most used query languages for API development. Here are some key features:

  • GraphQL is a statically typed language and there is no need to define variables when using this.
  • There is no feature for over-etching or under-fetching of data in this.
  • It can decouple the front end from the back end.
  • You can save bandwidth with the help of this query language.
  • Documentation is easy and it comes with no additional cost.
  • This language is HTTP-independent.

Advantages of using GraphQL

Here are some points why you should consider GraphQL for your needs:

  • It is product-centric and has a hierarchy.
  • Queries are encoded in the coded client-side and are human-readable.
  • It is easy to get personalised results and it can bring data with a single call.
  • GraphQL keeps documentation in sync with API changes.
  • You can find the schema in a proper format.
  • Queries in this are executed within the context of a predefined system.

Disadvantages of using GraphQL

Here are some things to keep in mind before using GraphQL:

  • There are very few resources on the backend part of the application.
  • If you are designing a complex app, design patterns are missing.
  • There can be performance problems with complex queries.
  • Users should have knowledge about the GraphQL Schema Definition Language for implementing this.
  • It uses a single endpoint instead of an HTTP caching technique.

Application of GraphQL

Here are some applications of GraphQL:

  • It is used for client frameworks.
  • It helps in improving the overall performance of the mobile app.
  • If there is any need to simplify the complex API, it can be used efficiently.
  • You can use it when there is any need to specify fields in a query.
  • If there is any need to aggregate data from multiple places, GraphQL API can be used.
  • It follows the facade pattern of the OOPS concept of mix and mash.
  • Developers can also use GraphQL as an abstraction.

What is REST API?

Web services are built using Representational State Transfer (RST), which adds style to this. It enables you to access data stored on a distant web server. With REST's assistance, users are able to add, remove, alter, add, or retrieve data. Requests are made via HTTP/HTTPS in the REST technique.

REST API is the ideal approach and solution when you need to access massive data files. Working with a variety of data types in this way is also practical since it can always provide the user with the precise data they require in response to a specific request.

When to use REST API?

You should use REST API when there is a need to access a large amount of data in a short time. It can work with multiple data types and every request returns the specific data that is needed. Moreover, these are widely used and faster to set up than GraphQL.

Features of REST API

REST API is designed to work with media components and files because of the many features that it comes with. Here are some of the features of REST API:

  • It has a uniform interface making it easy for developers.
  • REST services can be scaled with the demand and needs of the project.
  • Users can access resources in REST conveniently using the name.
  • It helps in storing frequently used information in the memory.
  • It can be served from multiple servers.
  • With simple patterns, it can quickly map with an API endpoint.

Advantages of using REST API

Here are some reasons why you should choose REST API:

  • It helps in scaling up the platform with ease.
  • It can be easily built and creating processes is also easy in REST.
  • Server migration is easy in this.
  • There is no need for routing information from the client side.
  • Users can try many project environments while developing.

Disadvantages of using REST API

Here are some reasons why not to choose REST API for your platform:

  • It is not possible to get limited fields with this.
  • REST has poor searching options for data and it comes with no framework guidance.
  • You can not possibly validate queries in this.
  • It is impossible to handle API and changes with the help of REST.
  • In the case of data retrieval requirements, there is a need to send a separate API request.
  • You can not manipulate nested structures in this.

Application of REST API

Here are some use cases of REST API:

  • REST is used when there are multiple different languages and environments in a platform.
  • It makes UI portable and has a uniform interface so users can use it across many devices.
  • It has a layered system which has many hierarchical layers.

Key Differences Between GraphQL and REST

GraphQL and REST APIs are being used but you need to choose one or both based on what your needs are. GraphQL is being used more widely nowadays over REST APIs. REST can over-fetch data and it can give results on multiple network requests.

GraphQL is developed by Facebook and is an application layer server-side technology. It can execute queries with existing data. REST API is an architectural style used to create web services. It defines a set of constraints.
It is comparatively new and the community is growing. The REST has an established large community.
The development speed is fast. The development speed is slow with REST.
The learning curve is not easy. The learning curve is moderate.
It is strongly typed and the endpoints are single. It has multiple endpoints and it is weakly typed.
All the resources are determined by the server. The size of the resources is determined by the server.
It comes with consistency across all platforms. There is no consistency across platforms.
It can be used with a schema. It can be used with endpoints.
The message format for mutation is always a string. The message format for mutation can be anything.
For validation of each query, it uses metadata. Metadata which is machine readable is not cacheable.
GraphQL needs API customisation. It has a flexible public API for new applications.

GraphQL vs REST: What to Choose for Your Business?

The choice between GraphQL and REST APIs depends on the needs and requirements of your project. You can use both of them as well. If you are confused about which API is best for your digital platform and which you should use for your platform development.

Here is a table to help you ease the process of what to choose for your website:

Factor GraphQL REST API
Efficiency and speed It has a fast speed but can be slow for multiple requests at the same time. It is faster and more efficient than GraphQL. It can also manage large amounts of data.
Data Control It offers more control over data. It offers limited data control.
Error handling It can be complicated to monitor issues and problems with this. It is better for error handling as it uses standard protocols that are easily monitored.
Bandwidth It saves bandwidth as clients can request the required data. It uses comparatively more bandwidth as there are multiple requests at the same time.
Cache In this API, every given query returns unique data and it is not preferred for web caching. In REST, caching is used as a response to every given request.
Set up & maintenance It is complicated to set up this API because it needs custom code and schema. In this, there are standard protocols for maintenance and it is easy to maintain.
Rapid prototyping GraphQL is used for rapid prototyping. REST is a better option for complex applications.

Use the Best Trends and Tech Stack for Your Business

Now that you know GraphQL has the edge when it comes to API use in development, you should use the best suitable tech stack for your business platform. There are many differences and similarities between these two technologies.

If you want to know which one can benefit your business the most, you should consult with our experts. We can help your business reach new heights with the most appropriate technologies. If you want our experienced developers to work on your project, contact us right away.

Load More