With the increased usage of mobile, the companies have started switching their business online and are keen on developing business apps to capture a larger portion of the market. Hence, the demand for developing mobile applications has increased tremendously. Thus, parallelly the usage of APIs has also shown an amplified growth. With the increase in usage of mobile apps, the requirement to de-link the back end of the respective applications with the front end has also increased. Developing and launching apps have become easier with the help of APIs. For example, the Shipping API in the e-commerce apps helps to facilitate the shipping provisions of the product to the customer’s registered address.
Although in the market there are several options to browse, let’s talk about the phones which are really popular because of their features- REST API which was later shadowed by GraphQL. First, we will look into the details of REST as it is considered the best API for designing apps and web pages since the last decade. Shipping API integration helps in facilitating the ship and return policy, online delivery policy, and other shipping-related features of the business applications.
WHAT IS REST?
Before the emergence of REST, several other protocols were used like CORBA, RPC, SOAP but it used to have several complexities due to which they had very rigid contracts with their clientele, and clients had to upgrade completely even if the minor change was made. And thus, REST emerged as an option that stands for Representational State Transfer. The paradigm of REST depends upon a predefined set of stateless operations which allows users to access and then manipulate the data accordingly. Companies Hire Dedicated Developers in order to get the desired output from the chosen platform.
Due to REST architecture, the applications are now coupled very loosely and whenever any change is required as per the business or organization, then it is easily implemented. Thus, it makes the overall development of apps and web applications quite easier.
REST was explained by a computer scientist named Roy Fielding in the year 2000. It uses POST, DELETE, PUT, GET which are the standard CRUD HTTP verbs.
Below mentioned are some of the advantages and disadvantages of REST,
- It supports different formats of data like JSON, HTML, plain TEXT.
- It is quite old and has been used for decades so is considered comparatively mature.
- It is capable enough to handle different types of calls.
- Flexibility to decouple the architectures of client and server which improvises scalability that helps in easy expansion of the applications.
- As the server is stateless it does not store any information about the users who are using the API.
- The interface is not uniform, which means the way of interacting with the given server changes every time.
- There is no standardized or defined method of structuring the REST APIs.
- To fetch all the data at a time is not possible and requires multiple rounds of requests.
- It is quite prone to under-fetching and over-fetching of the data.
WHAT ID GraphQL?
GraphQL refers to a query language to work with APIs and enables the clients to make the HTTPS requests and then receive the responses accordingly. As the name suggests, here the data context is represented in the form of a graph. GraphQL came into existence as more flexibility and efficiency was required and it covers several shortcomings of REST.
Through GraphQL, users can easily send a single request to fetch the data from several resources. It also facilitates defining a clear relationship between the different queries and increases the inter-connection between objects. Also, it enables the users to specify the format in which they want their data to be received. As everything have its pros and cons and so the GraphQL, below mentioned are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this language,
- It helps the users to provide only the data which is required which means it controls both, over-fetching, and under-fetching of the data.
- Consequently, the process of development is faster than in the REST.
- The definite structure facilitates the users to explain the requests, initiate the automatic completion within the pre-defined environment and generate the API documents by default.
- The schema which refers to the presence of a good type system, reduces the efforts required in final implementation of the queries.
- Front and Back-end development supports developing the API parallel.
- It uses the pattern of dynamic introspection to query the system and get the detailed information about the respective schema.
- It enables advanced analytics at the back-end.
- Extensive support and regular adaptation is lacking in GraphQL.
- Does not possess the built-in caching capabilities.
- If the request is successful or not, it always sends an HTTPS status code of 200, this complicates the API monitoring and error reporting.
MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE GraphQL and REST:
- GraphQL uses the architecture which is client-driven, while REST uses a server-driven architecture.
- There is no API versioning in GraphQL and REST supports multiple versions of API.
- GraphiQL is the only tool used for documentation while REST uses different automation tools like API Blueprint and Open API.
- GraphQl is a query language used for resolving the problems occurring during integrating the APIs. While REST is an architectural style used as standard for designing the APIs.
- GraphQL makes it complicated to handle HTTP status codes to check the errors. While REST uses the HTTP status codes to look for the errors easily.
- GraphQL is deployed on HTTP through a single endpoint which provides the full capabilities while REST is deployed on the set of URLs where each exposes the single source.
COMPARISON BETWEEN REST AND GRAPHQL:
Now, let’s compare these two on the basis of certain factors which help the users to make the correct decision for making the selection which is totally apt and suits their requirements. Below are the parameters on which the two are being compared:
If we compare these factors, then obviously REST is way ahead of GraphQL as it is quite old and is matured in the experience. REST has a large number of users since it’s been used for a long time and there is a huge community to support them. GraphQL is very new comparatively and is still gaining the number of users to strengthen its community.
As per the latest survey in 2020, 82% of the API practitioners use REST-based API while 19% of the users are using GraphQL. But with time GraphQL is increasing its popularity due to its benefiting features.
REST APIs lead to over-fetching and under-fetching which means the endpoint delivers excess data than required or cannot return a significant amount of data. These inadequacies lead to taking a larger amount of time to get the required information from the server. This overall leads to sluggish development of mobile apps and web applications.
GraphQL controls this data fetching and uses a flexible style to retrieve the data as per the requirement. These processes overall expedite the overall performance of the project. Sometimes REST APIs also perform better in such cases where caching is required to accelerate the APIs.
GraphQL has to get back to the sources to get the required information. While in REST API, the built-in HTTP caching mechanism return the responses which are cached in a faster way. So, here both have their own advantage so one can select which suits their requirement in the next possible manner.
GraphQL allows you to send requests to the API and then get the required results. The queries return the expected results which increase the utility. While the behavior of REST keeps on varying as per the URI and HTTP method. In terms of versioning, REST lacks clear guidelines for the versioning but in GraphQL, the documentation has now become advanced and proper setup is maintained. Also, it follows a very straightforward approach for the versioning process.
Thus, when compared then GraphQL will be on the upper hand as it requires less effort in integrating the service inquiries from remote locations.
Here REST is supposed to have a more secure pathway. It uses different authentication tools like HTTP authentication of HTTP, where the crucial data is sent on the structure of JSON. GraphQL is not very mature in terms of security measures. GraphQL can assist their users in the security process, but the users have to take responsibility for their own security and they have to complete the procedures. This obviously creates issues and rare authentication checks which creates issues and slows down the process of development.
The above points give a clear statement that both of them have their own pros and cons and the users have to make their selection depending on their requirement. For example, if one is not looking for any advanced features and wants to go ahead with the reliable structure then they can select REST. While, if the user is willing to take certain risks and ready to adapt the advances and sustainable features then they can definitely select GraphQL. Hence, one should aim to design an API product which meets the requirement of all factors like API consumer, API provider and the end-users.