Technology | GraphQL

REST APIs vs GraphQL

Words by Martin Kelman
REST APIs vs GraphQL

What are APIs? The best way to think about APIs is a means for one application to have a conversation with one or more other applications. The conversation is more of the formal kind where a question is asked like “Have you got one of these available?”, or “Can you tell me how many likes a person has?”. The more specific the question, the smaller the response.

The questions ask can also be instructions such as “Can you update this person’s name?” or “Can you delete this order from this customer?” Therefore, APIs can support conversations that Create (Post), Read (Get), Update (Put) and Delete between applications.

Applications talking is not something new. There is a history of different technologies being used to allow one computer to talk to another, but in a world dominated by the internet, the world wide web, and smartphones different requirements have led to different interfacing technologies.

Today the main interfacing technologies are REST APIs and GraphQL. Here at Atlas we have a clear distinction between when to use REST APIs and GraphQL.

REST APIs are used in Atlas Play RPA processes allow for the collaboration of user and application via a business process, thereby sharing the data seamlessly between users’ roles in a controlled and managed way. They are also used in Atlas Boost to share data and KPI metrics with other applications.

GraphQL are the messages that flow between the user and software when they interact with the web screen or a mobile phone. GraphQL growth coincided with the adoption on the smartphone and is mainly due to the need to manage power consumption and the disconnected nature of mobility.

Open API standards like the one produced by TMForum allow companies and business to align to a common conversation that both sides can understand. This means application integration between systems is becoming far easier. So much so that even non-programmers can create no-code applications and get them having conversations around the world.