What is Apollo?

Build a universal GraphQL API on top of your existing REST APIs, so you can ship new application features fast without waiting on backend changes.
Apollo is a tool in the Platform as a Service category of a tech stack.
Apollo is an open source tool with 7.4K GitHub stars and 912 GitHub forks. Here’s a link to Apollo's open source repository on GitHub

Who uses Apollo?

Companies
123 companies use Apollo in their tech stacks, including impraise, Swat.io, and Policygenius.

Developers
121 developers use Apollo.

Apollo Integrations

GraphQL, PostGraphile, graphql-yoga, FullStack Boilerplate, and Prisma are some of the popular tools that integrate with Apollo. Here's a list of all 9 tools that integrate with Apollo.

Why developers like Apollo?

Here’s a list of reasons why companies and developers use Apollo
Apollo Reviews

Here are some stack decisions, common use cases and reviews by companies and developers who chose Apollo in their tech stack.

Nick Rockwell
Nick Rockwell
CTO at NY Times · | 23 upvotes · 100.8K views
atThe New York Times
Apache HTTP Server
Kafka
Node.js
GraphQL
Apollo
React
PHP
MySQL

When I joined NYT there was already broad dissatisfaction with the LAMP (Linux Apache HTTP Server MySQL PHP) Stack and the front end framework, in particular. So, I wasn't passing judgment on it. I mean, LAMP's fine, you can do good work in LAMP. It's a little dated at this point, but it's not ... I didn't want to rip it out for its own sake, but everyone else was like, "We don't like this, it's really inflexible." And I remember from being outside the company when that was called MIT FIVE when it had launched. And been observing it from the outside, and I was like, you guys took so long to do that and you did it so carefully, and yet you're not happy with your decisions. Why is that? That was more the impetus. If we're going to do this again, how are we going to do it in a way that we're gonna get a better result?

So we're moving quickly away from LAMP, I would say. So, right now, the new front end is React based and using Apollo. And we've been in a long, protracted, gradual rollout of the core experiences.

React is now talking to GraphQL as a primary API. There's a Node.js back end, to the front end, which is mainly for server-side rendering, as well.

Behind there, the main repository for the GraphQL server is a big table repository, that we call Bodega because it's a convenience store. And that reads off of a Kafka pipeline.

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Adam Neary
Adam Neary
Engineer at Airbnb · | 22 upvotes · 69.3K views
atAirbnb
Apollo
GraphQL Playground
GraphQL
#Prisma
#BackendDrivenUI

At Airbnb we use GraphQL Unions for a "Backend-Driven UI." We have built a system where a very dynamic page is constructed based on a query that will return an array of some set of possible “sections.” These sections are responsive and define the UI completely.

The central file that manages this would be a generated file. Since the list of possible sections is quite large (~50 sections today for Search), it also presumes we have a sane mechanism for lazy-loading components with server rendering, which is a topic for another post. Suffice it to say, we do not need to package all possible sections in a massive bundle to account for everything up front.

Each section component defines its own query fragment, colocated with the section’s component code. This is the general idea of Backend-Driven UI at Airbnb. It’s used in a number of places, including Search, Trip Planner, Host tools, and various landing pages. We use this as our starting point, and then in the demo show how to (1) make and update to an existing section, and (2) add a new section.

While building your product, you want to be able to explore your schema, discovering field names and testing out potential queries on live development data. We achieve that today with GraphQL Playground, the work of our friends at #Prisma. The tools come standard with Apollo Server.

#BackendDrivenUI

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Zach Holman
Zach Holman
at Zach Holman · | 20 upvotes · 82.6K views
JavaScript
Rails
Apollo
React

Oof. I have truly hated JavaScript for a long time. Like, for over twenty years now. Like, since the Clinton administration. It's always been a nightmare to deal with all of the aspects of that silly language.

But wowza, things have changed. Tooling is just way, way better. I'm primarily web-oriented, and using React and Apollo together the past few years really opened my eyes to building rich apps. And I deeply apologize for using the phrase rich apps; I don't think I've ever said such Enterprisey words before.

But yeah, things are different now. I still love Rails, and still use it for a lot of apps I build. But it's that silly rich apps phrase that's the problem. Users have way more comprehensive expectations than they did even five years ago, and the JS community does a good job at building tools and tech that tackle the problems of making heavy, complicated UI and frontend work.

Obviously there's a lot of things happening here, so just saying "JavaScript isn't terrible" might encompass a huge amount of libraries and frameworks. But if you're like me, yeah, give things another shot- I'm somehow not hating on JavaScript anymore and... gulp... I kinda love it.

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Russel Werner
Russel Werner
Lead Engineer at StackShare · | 13 upvotes · 162.4K views
atStackShare
Redux
Apollo
React
GraphQL
#FrontEndFrameworks

Earlier this year we decided to go "all-in" on GraphQL to provide our front-end API. We needed a stable client library to power our React app. We decided to use Apollo Client for a few reasons:

1) Stability 2) Maturity 3) Heaps of features 4) Great documentation (with use cases) 5) Support for server-side rendering 6) Allowed us to stop using Redux and Mobx

Overall we've had great success with this library, along with a few minor hiccups and work arounds, but no show stoppers. If you are coming from Redux.js land, it takes a bit of time to settle into a new way of thinking about how your data is fetched and flows through your React app. This part has been the biggest learning curve of anything to do with GraphQL.

One of the downsides to Apollo Client, once you build a larger application, (past the size of most of the documented use cases and sample apps) the state management tends to get distributed through various places; and not just components. Apollo Client has a state management feature that relies on a normalised local cache. Mastering the knowledge of how this works is key to getting the most out of the library and to architecting your component hierarchy properly.

#FrontEndFrameworks

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Adam Neary
Adam Neary
Engineer at Airbnb · | 13 upvotes · 59.9K views
atAirbnb
Apollo
GraphQL
Visual Studio Code
Git
#GraphQLSchema

One of the joys I wanted to demonstrate in a GraphQL Summit talk I did is having so many helpful tools at my fingertips while building our product at Airbnb. This includes access to Git in Visual Studio Code, as well as the integrated terminal and tasks for running frequently-needed commands.

Of course, we also had some fun stuff to show for GraphQL and Apollo! The part that most people had not seen was the new Apollo GraphQL VS Code Extension. There is no need for me to copy over all juicy features from their marketing site (there are many!), but I will elaborate on one feature: Schema Tags.

If you are going to lint your queries against the schema you are working on, you will invariably be presented with the decision of “which schema?” The default may be your production schema (“current,” by convention), but as we discuss in the demo, if you need to iterate and explore new ideas, you need the flexibility of targeting a provisional schema.

Since we are using Apollo Engine, publishing multiple schemas using tags allows us this flexibility, and multiple engineers can collaborate on a single proposed schema. Once proposed schema changes for a service are merged upstream and those changes are naturally flowing down in the current production schema, we can flip back to “current” in VS Code. Very cool.

#GraphQLSchema

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Divine Bawa
Divine Bawa
at PayHub Ghana Limited · | 13 upvotes · 38K views
Apollo
Next.js
styled-components
React
graphql-yoga
Prisma
MySQL
GraphQL
Node.js

I just finished a web app meant for a business that offers training programs for certain professional courses. I chose this stack to test out my skills in graphql and react. I used Node.js , GraphQL , MySQL for the #Backend utilizing Prisma as a database interface for MySQL to provide CRUD APIs and graphql-yoga as a server. For the #frontend I chose React, styled-components for styling, Next.js for routing and SSR and Apollo for data management. I really liked the outcome and I will definitely use this stack in future projects.

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Apollo Alternatives & Comparisons

What are some alternatives to Apollo?
Helios
Helios is a Docker orchestration platform for deploying and managing containers across an entire fleet of servers. Helios provides a HTTP API as well as a command-line client to interact with servers running your containers.
GraphQL
GraphQL is a data query language and runtime designed and used at Facebook to request and deliver data to mobile and web apps since 2012.
Python
Python is a general purpose programming language created by Guido Van Rossum. Python is most praised for its elegant syntax and readable code, if you are just beginning your programming career python suits you best.
Heroku
Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.
Google App Engine
Google has a reputation for highly reliable, high performance infrastructure. With App Engine you can take advantage of the 10 years of knowledge Google has in running massively scalable, performance driven systems. App Engine applications are easy to build, easy to maintain, and easy to scale as your traffic and data storage needs grow.
See all alternatives

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