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Apollo vs MobX: What are the differences?


In the world of web development, there are several state management solutions available, two of which are Apollo and MobX. These tools are widely used to handle application state and provide easy ways to manage and manipulate data. Although they serve a similar purpose, there are key differences between Apollo and MobX that make them unique in their own ways.

  1. Integration with GraphQL: Apollo is a state management solution that is specifically designed to work seamlessly with GraphQL, a query language for APIs. It provides built-in support for GraphQL queries, mutations, and subscriptions, making it easier for developers to consume and manage data from a GraphQL server. On the other hand, MobX is a general-purpose state management library that can be used with any data source, including REST APIs and local data.

  2. Reactive vs Observable: Apollo uses a reactive programming model, where changes in data trigger automatic updates in the user interface. It leverages GraphQL's built-in behavior of tracking and updating changes efficiently, resulting in a smoother user experience. MobX, on the other hand, uses an observable pattern to track changes in state. Developers need to explicitly mark observables and define reactions to update the UI when changes occur.

  3. Normalized Caching: Apollo comes with a powerful caching mechanism that allows developers to normalize and store the fetched data in a normalized form. This means that multiple queries can share the same data, reducing redundant network requests and improving performance. MobX, on the other hand, does not provide a built-in caching mechanism and relies on developers to implement caching strategies manually.

  4. Community and Ecosystem: Both Apollo and MobX have active developer communities and are widely adopted in the industry. However, Apollo has a larger ecosystem and community support due to its close integration with GraphQL. It has a rich set of tools, libraries, and resources available for developers to leverage. MobX, while still popular, may have relatively fewer resources and integrations compared to Apollo.

  5. Learning Curve: Apollo introduces additional GraphQL concepts such as schemas, resolvers, and queries, which may require developers to learn new concepts and patterns. This learning curve can be steeper compared to MobX, which follows a more traditional and familiar approach to state management. Developers familiar with React and JavaScript may find it easier to adapt to MobX.

  6. Server-side Rendering (SSR) Support: Apollo has built-in support for server-side rendering (SSR) out of the box. It provides APIs and tools to fetch data on the server and pass it to the client for rendering. MobX, on the other hand, does not have built-in SSR support and may require additional configuration and setup to enable server-side rendering.

In summary, Apollo and MobX have key differences that set them apart. Apollo excels in its tight integration with GraphQL, normalized caching, and server-side rendering support, while MobX offers a simpler learning curve, broader compatibility with different data sources, and a more familiar approach to state management. The choice between Apollo and MobX ultimately depends on the specific needs and requirements of the project.

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Pros of Apollo
Pros of MobX
  • 12
    From the creators of Meteor
  • 8
    Great documentation
  • 3
    Open source
  • 2
    Real time if use subscription
  • 26
    It's just stupidly simple, yet so magical
  • 18
    Easier and cleaner than Redux
  • 15
  • 13
    Automagic updates
  • 13
    React integration
  • 10
    Computed properties
  • 8
    ES6 observers and obversables
  • 7
    Global stores
  • 3
    Flexible architecture the requeriment
  • 1
    Has own router package (mobx-router)

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Cons of Apollo
Cons of MobX
  • 1
    File upload is not supported
  • 1
    Increase in complexity of implementing (subscription)
  • 1

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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.

What is MobX?

MobX is a battle tested library that makes state management simple and scalable by transparently applying functional reactive programming (TFRP). React and MobX together are a powerful combination. React renders the application state by providing mechanisms to translate it into a tree of renderable components. MobX provides the mechanism to store and update the application state that React then uses.

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What are some alternatives to Apollo and MobX?
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Relay Framework
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