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What is 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.
GraphQL is a tool in the Query Languages category of a tech stack.
GraphQL is an open source tool with 12.5K GitHub stars and 902 GitHub forks. Here’s a link to GraphQL's open source repository on GitHub

Who uses GraphQL?

Companies
981 companies reportedly use GraphQL in their tech stacks, including Facebook, Instagram, and medium.com.

Developers
6166 developers on StackShare have stated that they use GraphQL.

GraphQL Integrations

Gatsby, Apollo, Prisma, LoopBack, and Hasura are some of the popular tools that integrate with GraphQL. Here's a list of all 54 tools that integrate with GraphQL.

Why developers like GraphQL?

Here’s a list of reasons why companies and developers use GraphQL
Private Decisions at about GraphQL
Private to your company

Here are some stack decisions, common use cases and reviews by members of with GraphQL in their tech stack.

Luke Hamilton
Luke Hamilton
Sr. Engineer at StackShare · | 6 upvotes · 2K views
Prisma
Prisma
GraphQL
GraphQL
PostgreSQL
PostgreSQL
Prisma Cloud
Prisma Cloud

I used Prisma for creating a ready-to-use GraphQL API in front of my PostgreSQL database. It allowed me to get up and running very quickly because I didn’t need to worry about writing the logic that interacts with the database. You simply define your data model using the GraphQL schema definition language and then use the Prisma CLI tool to deploy your changes. Based on your data model Prisma will generate a ready-to-use GraphQL API with CRUD functionality. Additionally the API includes filtering, sorting and pagination out of the box. You can then use Prisma Cloud to manage your data.

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Collins  Ogbuzuru
Collins Ogbuzuru
Front-end dev at Evolve credit · | 9 upvotes · 17.4K views
GraphQL
GraphQL
Prisma
Prisma
AWS Lambda
AWS Lambda

We are starting to build one shirt data logic, structure and as an online clothing store we believe good ux and ui is a goal to drive a lot of click through. The problem is, how do we fetch data and how do we abstract the gap between the Front-end devs and backend-devs as we are just two in the technical unit. We decided to go for GraphQL as our application-layer tool and Prisma for our database-layer abstracter.

Reasons :

GraphQL :

  1. GraphQL makes fetching of data less painful and organised.

  2. GraphQL gives you 100% assurance on data you getting back as opposed to the Rest design .

  3. GraphQL comes with a bunch of real-time functionality in form of. subscriptions and finally because we are using React (GraphQL is not React demanding, it's doesn't require a specific framework, language or tool, but it definitely makes react apps fly )

Prisma :

  1. Writing revolvers can be fun, but imagine writing revolvers nested deep down, curry braces flying around. This is sure a welcome note to bugs and as a small team we need to focus more on what that matters more. Prisma generates this necessary CRUD resolves, mutations and subscription out of the box.

  2. We don't really have much budget at the moment so we are going to run our logic in a scalable cheap and cost effective cloud environment. Oh! It's AWS Lambda and deploying our schema to Lambda is our best bet to minimize cost and same time scale.

We are still at development stage and I believe, working on this start up will increase my dev knowledge. Off for Lunch :)

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Seun Kola
Seun Kola
CTO at Virtualrobe Limited · | 7 upvotes · 13.3K views
GraphQL
GraphQL
React
React
Prisma
Prisma
Apollo
Apollo

Using GraphQL for queries and mutation on React app and Prisma database is so cool, easy and fast to learn. i often use Apollo client to integrate both ends. Most times working has a frontend developer and trying to build a MVP product quickly requires tools that require less setup on both production and development in order to test functionalities, and using GraphQL for queries surpasses Rest queries for me because of the flexibility in requesting the data you actually need and not requesting the whole dataset everytime.

But in all, Rest is still the king since most public api support its CRUD processes more than GraphQL but lot of top companies are using it and am definitely using it for various project including my recent pet project(Delivery buddy - A platform that allows pair-to-pair delivery service).

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Obsaa Abdalhalim
Obsaa Abdalhalim
CEO, Founder at Kafali PAY inc. · | 1 upvotes · 56.2K views
React Native
React Native
NativeBase
NativeBase
redux-saga
redux-saga
Apollo
Apollo
GraphQL
GraphQL
Node.js
Node.js
PostGraphile
PostGraphile
PostgreSQL
PostgreSQL
PubNub
PubNub
Dwolla.js
Dwolla.js
Zube
Zube
GitHub
GitHub
Yarn
Yarn
npm
npm
AWS Elastic Beanstalk
AWS Elastic Beanstalk

React Native NativeBase redux-saga Apollo GraphQL Node.js PostGraphile PostgreSQL PubNub . @PLAID Dwolla.js . Zube GitHub Yarn npm AWS Elastic Beanstalk

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Zach Holman
Zach Holman
Apollo
Apollo
GraphQL
GraphQL
Relay
Relay

Apollo is my favorite open source project.

Two things you need to worry about when making a statement like that: is the tool good, and how is the tool being built?

From a tool perspective... yeah, Apollo is great. I'm convinced that GraphQL is the way forward for me, and Apollo's just a great way to tackle it. Even beyond that, it just offers a good mentality to how you should build your database-backed app. I've used Relay in the past, back before they made a bunch of changes with Relay Modern (which all seem positive!), but switching to Apollo is just night-and-day. They've been doing better in the last 12 months or so at making smart abstractions in the React Apollo library, to the point where I'd just get these monster all-red pull requests where I can delete all my cruddy code and replace it with far fewer lines of their great abstractions.

But from a build perspective... Apollo fares even better, I think. By this, I mean their project inertia, their progress, their ability to ship stable code — but still ship meaningful new functionality, too. They're not afraid to move their ideas in other directions (integrating with React Native, for example). Kills me to see projects that are just heads-down on their little world as the world passes them by, and so far... yeah, Apollo's been on top of it.

Anyway, big fan. It's really changed how I write frontend code, and I feel hella confident while working with it.

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Divine Bawa
Divine Bawa
at PayHub Ghana Limited · | 14 upvotes · 205.7K views
Node.js
Node.js
GraphQL
GraphQL
MySQL
MySQL
Prisma
Prisma
graphql-yoga
graphql-yoga
React
React
styled-components
styled-components
Next.js
Next.js
Apollo
Apollo

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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Public Decisions about GraphQL

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

Node.js
Node.js
GraphQL
GraphQL
MongoDB
MongoDB

I just finished the very first version of my new hobby project: #MovieGeeks. It is a minimalist online movie catalog for you to save the movies you want to see and for rating the movies you already saw. This is just the beginning as I am planning to add more features on the lines of sharing and discovery

For the #BackEnd I decided to use Node.js , GraphQL and MongoDB:

  1. Node.js has a huge community so it will always be a safe choice in terms of libraries and finding solutions to problems you may have

  2. GraphQL because I needed to improve my skills with it and because I was never comfortable with the usual REST approach. I believe GraphQL is a better option as it feels more natural to write apis, it improves the development velocity, by definition it fixes the over-fetching and under-fetching problem that is so common on REST apis, and on top of that, the community is getting bigger and bigger.

  3. MongoDB was my choice for the database as I already have a lot of experience working on it and because, despite of some bad reputation it has acquired in the last months, I still believe it is a powerful database for at least a very long list of use cases such as the one I needed for my website

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Nick Rockwell
Nick Rockwell
CTO at NY Times · | 30 upvotes · 872.1K views
atThe New York TimesThe New York Times
MySQL
MySQL
PHP
PHP
React
React
Apollo
Apollo
GraphQL
GraphQL
Node.js
Node.js
Kafka
Kafka
Apache HTTP Server
Apache HTTP Server

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 · | 28 upvotes · 659.9K views
atAirbnbAirbnb
GraphQL
GraphQL
GraphQL Playground
GraphQL Playground
Apollo
Apollo
#BackendDrivenUI
#Prisma

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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Robert Zuber
Robert Zuber
CTO at CircleCI · | 17 upvotes · 470K views
atCircleCICircleCI
Next.js
Next.js
React
React
Storybook
Storybook
TypeScript
TypeScript
Emotion
Emotion
GraphQL
GraphQL
Apollo
Apollo
Jest
Jest
Percy
Percy
Cypress
Cypress

We are in the process of adopting Next.js as our React framework and using Storybook to help build our React components in isolation. This new part of our frontend is written in TypeScript, and we use Emotion for CSS/styling. For delivering data, we use GraphQL and Apollo. Jest, Percy, and Cypress are used for testing.

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Russel Werner
Russel Werner
Lead Engineer at StackShare · | 17 upvotes · 237.4K views
atStackShareStackShare
GraphQL
GraphQL
React
React
Apollo
Apollo
Redux
Redux
#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 · | 16 upvotes · 622.7K views
atAirbnbAirbnb
Git
Git
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code
GraphQL
GraphQL
Apollo
Apollo
#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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GraphQL's Features

  • Hierarchical
  • Product-centric
  • Client-specified queries
  • Backwards Compatible
  • Structured, Arbitrary Code
  • Application-Layer Protocol
  • Strongly-typed
  • Introspective

GraphQL Alternatives & Comparisons

What are some alternatives to GraphQL?
gRPC
gRPC is a modern open source high performance RPC framework that can run in any environment. It can efficiently connect services in and across data centers with pluggable support for load balancing, tracing, health checking...
Falcor
Falcor lets you represent all your remote data sources as a single domain model via a virtual JSON graph. You code the same way no matter where the data is, whether in memory on the client or over the network on the server.
React
Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.
graphql.js
Lightest GraphQL client with intelligent features. You can download graphql.js directly, or you can use Bower or NPM.
MongoDB
MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
See all alternatives

GraphQL's Followers
6586 developers follow GraphQL to keep up with related blogs and decisions.
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