GraphQL or Bust
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GraphQL or Bust

To Use it Or Not to Use It? That is The Question.

About the Book

GraphQL, the data modeling language developed by Facebook, has been making ripples throughout the economy since its inception in 2013. GraphQL or Bust helps determine the position of GraphQL within the API ecosystem. We explore things like the benefits of using GraphQL, the differences between it and REST, nuanced security concerns, extending GraphQL with additional tooling, licensing issues, GraphQL-specific consoles, making a transition to GraphQL from an existing web API, and much more.

GraphQL presents a sea change in how API providers enable access to their data, and can bring high usability benefits to consumers. Smart API owners put emphasis into treating their services as a product; this means improving the developer experience and fine-tuning the user onboarding mechanism. As GraphQL enables an unparalleled ability to display API endpoints and test call behaviors, as well as an operational boost in aggregating API responses, it could very well be the tool API owners are searching for to improve their developer experiences. 

But we aren't quick to bandwagon on any new technology without first opening the floor to debate. So, over the past year we exhausted many subjects on the blog, throwing GraphQL into the security ring, judging the process of migrating a REST API to GraphQL, vetting any outsanding licensing issues, and searching for GraphQL APIs in practice today as evidence of its use. We've compared it to other methods of linking API calls, charted industry best practices, and looked at the growing spectrum of GraphQL tooling.

In this volume we've aggregated nearly all of the GraphQL knowledge that has been shared on the Nordic APIs blog and at our conferences. Being a relatively new technology, some may still have questions about it, and we hope to answer those questions as well as open avenues of discussion around new concerns.

The truth is your current systems likely won't "bust" without GraphQL. The title for this eBook represents the fervent community adoption we've seen quickly embrace the technology.

*All proceeds from the sale of this eBook will be donated to the Salvation Army in Sweden.

About the Author

Nordic APIs
Nordic APIs

In 2013, Nordic APIs was formed to help organizations become more innovative, lean, and efficient. Nordic APIs has grown into one of only a handful of all-­API-­related event series held anywhere in the world. After hosting more than a dozen events, the community has grown to include hundreds of international thought leaders. Through the global reach of its blog, Nordic APIs is connected to 10's of thousands of API practitioners from around the world. Visit for more information.

Table of Contents

  • Preface: Introduction to GraphQL
  • Is GraphQL The End of REST Style APIs?
    • Defining REST and its Limitations
    • The End Of The Status Quo
    • Conclusion
  • 5 Potential Benefits of Integrating GraphQL
    • What is GraphQL
    • 1 - More Elegant Data Retrieval
    • 2 - More Backend Stability
    • 3 - Better Query Efficiency
    • 4 - GraphQL Is a Specification
    • 5 - GraphQL Improves Understanding and Organization
    • Who Uses It
    • Conclusion: Assess
  • How to Wrap a REST API in GraphQL
    • What is GraphQL?
    • Defining a Schema
    • Alternatives to this Method
    • To Wrap or Not to Wrap
    • Conclusion: Wrap or Recode
  • Best Practices for A Healthy GraphQL Implementation
    • Dogma vs Practices
    • Conclusion
  • Security Concerns to Consider Before Implementing GraphQL
    • GraphQL - A Summary
    • Implied Documentation vs. Actual Documentation
    • Unified Failures
    • Data and Server Transaction Volumes
    • Information Hiding and Chattiness
    • Authorization and GraphQL
    • Measured Optimism
  • 7 Unique Benefits of Using GraphQL in Microservices
    • Clearly Separated Data Owners
    • Data Load Control Granularity
    • Parallel Execution
    • Request Budgeting
    • Powerful Query Planning
    • Service Caching
    • Easy Failure Handling and Retries
    • Case Study of Microservices In Action: How GraphQL Benefits Yelp
    • Final Thoughts
  • Comparing GraphQL With Other Methods to Tether API Calls
    • What Do We Mean By Tethering API Calls?
    • Benefits of Tethering API Calls
    • Drawbacks of Tethering API Calls
    • Use Cases
    • Alternatives — GraphQL
    • Conclusions
  • The Power of Relay: The Entry Point to GraphQL
    • What’s the Difference Between GraphQL and Relay?
    • What is Relay?
    • The Good
    • The Bad
    • A REST Replacement
    • Conclusion
  • 10 GraphQL Consoles in Action
    • GraphiQL: GraphQL API Explorer
    • 1: GraphQL Hub
    • 2: Brandfolder
    • 3: Buildkite
    • 4: EHRI
    • 5: GDOM
    • 6: GitHub
    • 7: HIV Drug Resistance Database
    • 8: Helsinki Open Data
    • 9: melodyCLI
    • 10:
    • 11: Microsoft
    • Does Increased Usage Validate GraphQL?
    • Tips on Making GraphQL / GraphiQL Awesome
    • More Resources:
  • 10 Tools and Extensions For GraphQL APIs
    • List of 10+ Tools & Extensions for GraphQL APIs
    • 1: GraphiQL
    • 2: GraphQL Voyager by
    • 3: GraphCMS
    • 4: GraphQL Docs by
    • 5: GraphQL Faker
    • 6: Swagger to GraphQL
    • 7: GraphQL IDE
    • 8: GraphQL Network
    • 9: Graphcool
    • 10: Optics by Apollo
    • Final Thoughts
    • Resources
  • What The GraphQL Patent Release Means For the API Industry
    • Background
    • Developers Express Concern
    • Out of the Frying Pan…
    • Is This a Concern?
    • Oil and Water
    • Final Thoughts
    • Stay Connected
  • Nordic APIs Resources
  • Endnotes

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