GraphQL is a big deal: Why isn’t it the industry standard for database querying?

by | Aug 4, 2022 | Technology

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GraphQL is fast becoming a go-to query language for companies to interact with their data. Although data management is one of the top concerns for a lot of companies, many people don’t really understand what GraphQL does or why it’s so popular. 

On average, the world generates about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day. Businesses need a way to collect that data and use it effectively. A lot of data is generated in apps (for instance, a customer service smartphone app that lets clients tell you if they’re satisfied or if they’re having any issues and need help troubleshooting). Apps need a way to get information to the backend; that is, the tools for managing and storing data. Then data can be analyzed to discover problems and develop solutions. And of course, it is bi-directional. Not only do apps send data to backends, but apps need data from the backend. For example, recommendations, the status of a delivery, account balances. And that’s what GraphQL is for: Getting data to and from the backend. It is a more modern API that connects apps to backends.

Although many tech leaders may have heard of GraphQL, they have probably heard a lot more about SQL (Structured Query Language). SQL is essentially the industry standard for database querying, although GraphQL is growing in popularity. 

How does GraphQL compare to SQL, and is there a way to get the benefits of both when performing queries?

GraphQL vs. SQL: The broad view

GraphQL has a relatively simple, readable format for data access. The unique format allows something called “nesting.” Nesting is akin to asking a question within another question to get a more specific answer. For example, instead of just asking for a list of all of the dogs at a particular shelter location, you …

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