Ever since the introduction of GraphQL by Facebook, REST APIs have been pushed into the back seat, mostly due to the fact that the GraphQL API improves in the REST architecture by fixing many of its problems. However, GraphQL brings several problems of its own to the table, anyone who is familiar with coding will know that for every fix that a program provides, it bring an equal or greater number of problems as well. Since GraphQL is not perfect, it still has not entirely replaced the REST architecture, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each architecture.
REST APIs are pretty much the standard architecture to go to for companies working on launching developer platforms, what made REST superior to protocols such as COBRA and SOAP is the fact that it does not require developers to have knowledge about libraries or special initialization. A great thing about REST is that it is designed to be HTTP friendly, this allows for easier programming and greater compatibility between different entities on the web. REST’s “tighter” architecture allows it to be simpler to use in contrast to other APIs, and at the same time it also has the ability to provide loose data contracts.
A bad thing about REST is its server driven selection which basically requires a developer to write a long and confusing line of code if they want to execute a specific command, GraphQL improves on this by making the required query smaller and cleaner. GraphQL also makes API’s less “chatty” by giving servers the ability to aggregate data into a one query, meaning that clients will not need to enter multiple fetch commands to access a certain piece of data.
GraphQL also has a more powerful tools than the REST API, allowing for more detailed query analytics. While the GraphQL makes APIs much easier to interact with, it also has several problems, such as the inability to follow HTTP’s caching specs, this means that developers need to oversee proper caching implementation by themselves. Another drawback of GraphQL is that that its arbitrary requests are exposed; a company will have no control over interactions between queries and third parties.
Also, GraphQL’s query structure is quite rigid and neither can it offer monitoring of HTTP specs like REST. Overall; GraphQL is new and therefore exciting, however it is not the perfect API that is going to replace the REST architecture. Both of these APIs have their own advantages and disadvantages that make them suitable for being used in different ways. We cannot say that the GraphQL is going to be taking over REST, however one can hope for improvements of the GraphQL in the near future as it continues to undergo further development.