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RapidAPI, MongoDB answer the call for GraphQL support

As developer demand for GraphQL continues to grow, vendors such as MongoDB and RapidAPI are adding support for the API query language in their core products.

As developer demand for GraphQL continues to heat up, more and more vendors are heeding the call and providing support for the API query language in their product lines.

Both MongoDB and RapidAPI have introduced GraphQL support in their products. MongoDB has added support for GraphQL in its Atlas database, which means developers can work on MongoDB documents with GraphQL in their JavaScript applications via Stitch, MongoDB's serverless platform. Stitch helps developers implement application logic and integrate with cloud services and microservices, as well as build APIs.

GraphQL lets users query an API endpoint and get only the fields they want, rather than receiving the full payload of that endpoint, which is what you get with an HTTP request. This can boost application performance, said Nicolas Raboy, a senior developer advocate at MongoDB, in a blog post.

"Until now, being able to use GraphQL in your applications required a dedicated web service that contained schema information, resolve functions with database logic, and other middleware logic to sit between the database and the client facing application," Raboy said.

It's an advancement that developers should welcome, according to one observer.

Of late, the industry has focused too much on REST APIs as the main thing.
Randy HeffnerAnalyst, Forrester

"Of late, the industry has focused too much on REST APIs as the main thing," said Randy Heffner, an analyst at Forrester. "The request/reply model that is primary to REST APIs is a critical foundation but not enough; there are numerous other interaction styles in the landscape of business -- such as events, data view, data sync, process, remote views and file transfer. So, instead of an API strategy, enterprises should think about a 'digital bonding' strategy."

Randy HeffnerRandy Heffner

GraphQL is an important tool in the broad toolbox for digital bonding, Forrester's term for extending API strategies beyond just REST-only APIs to encompass GraphQL and possibly other models.

RapidAPI aims for speed with GraphQL support

Meanwhile, with the addition of GraphQL APIs, developers can choose between GraphQL and REST APIs on the RapidAPI marketplace and then find and manage both types of APIs using a single SDK, API key and dashboard, said Iddo Gino, RapidAPI's CEO and founder.

"I think that the biggest benefit of GraphQL is in areas where you have a lot of data and a lot of very structured data, being able to pull and query that data more easily in a single request versus having to do a lot of back and forth requests," Gino said.

The RapidAPI Marketplace is used by more than a million developers, according to Gino. For API creators, the platform provides onboarding for publishing APIs, as well as interactive documents that enable users to test an API from a browser and begin using it. The platform also provides API management so users can monitor performance metrics.

RapidAPI may find an eager audience for the new GraphQL support. According to a recent developer survey on "The State of JavaScript," of the 20,000 JavaScript developers surveyed, 21% said they had used GraphQL and would use it again. But it's not a cure-all, according to Heffner.

"To have the option of using GraphQL is an important bit of industry movement," he said. "GraphQL is a great tool in the toolbox, but only one among many, not a killer be-all/end-all -- the way some talk about it."

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