3 Key Distinctions Between GraphQL and REST API

If you’re wondering about the potential advantages of using GraphQL instead of REST API, it is important to understand the differences between the two to decide which is more suitable for your requirements. GraphQL is a query language designed for APIs, enabling clients to request specific data from servers. This ensures that clients can access the data that they need without needing numerous requests for different data types. Furthermore, GraphQL allows clients to execute complicated queries with multiple levels of nesting, making it ideal for obtaining data from several sources.

On the other hand, REST API is an architectural approach that constructs web services. It is commonly used to create APIs that can be accessed over the internet. REST APIs are more straightforward to create and use than GraphQL. However, the disadvantage is that clients usually have to request separate data since the data is organised in a linear structure.

GraphQL works well with microservices since it enables clients to ask microservices for specific data without multiple requests. As a result, it is easier to create efficient and flexible applications. Overall, GraphQL has numerous advantages over REST API, particularly for complex scenarios and microservices. Therefore, it is important to evaluate and compare both options before choosing the best fit for your application.

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APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are a valuable asset that allow distinct software components, including the operating system, microservices, and third-party applications, to communicate and interact with each other. The four most popular protocols for API interaction are Remote Procedure Call (RPC) APIs, WebSocket APIs, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) APIs, and Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs. Employing APIs enable organizations to generate powerful, efficient and resilient systems with security.

For creating Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture is an effective strategy. In this method, the client sends requests for data to the server, and the responses are transmitted back to the client using RESTful API. To accomplish this, the client sends query URLs, whereas the server responds in a textual format, rather than graphical.

If you’re interested in developing application programming interfaces, our full-stack API engineers can provide you with more information on this and other technical areas.

Compared to other API data query languages, GraphQL is a versatile and efficient option. Developers can gain access to data from multiple sources with a single GraphQL query. This substantially simplifies access to data developers need in an efficient and organized manner.

Retrieving data using either GraphQL or Rest API is possible. This guide will juxtapose and differentiate the two APIs for an informed decision.

What does it really mean to define REST API?

For the creation of web services, the Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture style is commonly utilised. REST APIs provide a simple method of making HTTP requests to online services. Clients submit URLs as requests to the server, which then processes and returns corresponding responses.

An HTTP request usually contains four elements: method, endpoint, body, and header. The URL, also known as the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), identifies the resource being requested in the endpoint of the request. The header can provide caching, authentication, and A/B testing metadata. Lastly, the request body describes the payload of the request.

Under the Representational State Transfer (REST) design, client and server communication involves using the five standard HTTP verbs: GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, and PATCH. These methods are employed to create, delete, read, and update database records, enabling effective data management.

What is GraphQL?

GraphQL, an open-source query language, provides a powerful means of retrieving and updating information through application programming interfaces (APIs). This declarative approach is designed for use with pre-existing data sources and an alternative to standard Representational State Transfer (REST) API calls, benefitting developers by enabling optimised API calls and more precise control over the data.

Programmers gain control over data transfer format between the client and the server via GraphQL. It consists of three primary elements: a schema, resolve functions and queries. The schema outlines the structure of the data and permissible operations. Resolve functions are in charge of processing the incoming queries and retrieving requested data from the server. Lastly, queries enable clients to obtain necessary data by sending requests.

Field hierarchies and type descriptions of data stores can be defined with GraphQL schemas. Additionally, these schemas offer a complete set of queries and changes to enable data manipulation and retrieval by clients. To seamlessly integrate data into a graph format, one must fully understand how to construct resolve functions and utilise queries.

Key differences between GraphQL and REST API include:

  • Compare and Contrast GraphQL and Traditional REST API in terms of Usability.

    GraphQL enables clients to easily make inquiries to the API and receive precise answers without providing extra data, resulting in highly predictable query outcomes that enhance usability. The API versions are not required in GraphQL, thus making the whole process streamlined.

    On the other hand, it can be difficult to anticipate outcomes of requests to different endpoints with Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs that make use of HTTP and Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI). REST APIs do not mandate a specific versioning protocol and therefore, service providers have the freedom to choose the versioning method that is most suitable for their particular requirements.
  • Security is Crucial while Comparing GraphQL and REST API

    The RESTful Application Programming Interface (API) uses the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) for communication and is protected by Transfer Layer Security (TLS) to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the data during transmission across computer systems. Additionally, web tokens in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format provide additional safety measures for data flow across browsers.

    GraphQL security features are relatively new and immature, unlike REST API. Developers have to create their own authentication and authorization approaches and use existing GraphQL capabilities such as data validation to safeguard their systems.
  • Speed Comparison Between GraphQL and Traditional REST API

    With GraphQL, developers can send a single API call and receive multiple pieces of data, with no concern for over- or under-fetching of information. This is achievable due to GraphQL’s flexibility in specifying the structure of the request, which is then reflected in the server’s response.

    In contrast, REST APIs have rigid data formats that may not provide accurate outcomes initially. As queries often require multiple requests for retrieving the required data and presenting relevant information, it consumes time.

What are the benefits of using GraphQL?

  • GraphQL queries are processed within specific infrastructures.
  • Keeps consistency between API documentation and implementation intact.
  • GraphQL’s static typing alleviates the need for developers to define variables.
  • GraphQL prioritises product hierarchy and utilises a top-down organisational structure.
  • GraphQL is well-suited for query batching and caching.
  • Enables rapid iteration on potential software.
  • The query syntax is easy to comprehend.
  • Works utilises multiple data sources.
  • Grant access to the Application Layer capabilities of the OSI model.
  • Enables lawful schema discovery.
  • Allows for changes to an API over time without necessitating a formal versioning system.
  • Frequently used sections/areas.

What is the purpose of a REST API?

  • Scalability flexibility for software.
  • Generates explicit instances of the process.
  • Provides consistent guidelines for project development.
  • Several options for working on projects are accessible.
  • The client computer does not require any routing data.
  • It is possible to create Application Programming Interfaces that are customised for individual users. Visit https://www.works.so/hire-remote-developers/node-js-api-developers to hire remote Node.js API developers.
  • Separates the server and client elements.
  • Utilises various data types such as HTML, JSON, and plain text.


When developing an API product or retrieving data from online sources, there are benefits and drawbacks to using both GraphQL and Representational State Transfer (REST) Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). REST APIs are useful for securing and caching web services, while GraphQL offers a modern and efficient approach, allowing users to obtain the desired data with a single request. Visit https://www.works.so/hire-remote-developers/prestashop-developers to hire remote PrestaShop developers.

When choosing between the Representational State Transfer (REST) Application Program Interface (API) and GraphQL, developers should thoroughly examine the project requirements, the scope of the API, and other relevant factors. Making an informed decision is critical to ensure that the API is appropriate for the job.

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  1. Is GraphQL compatible with microservices?

    With GraphQL, it is possible to describe your data as graphs, making it easier for other programs to communicate with each other.
  2. What programming languages are compatible with a REST API?

    Usually, applications that utilise a REST API are developed using Ruby on Rails, Python, and JavaScript.
  3. Is GraphQL scalable?

    As its individual components can be treated independently from one another, GraphQL is indeed considered scalable.

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