📣 GraphQLConf 2024 • Sept 10-12 • San Francisco • Read more


Is GraphQL frontend or backend?

Both. GraphQL specifies how you can exchange information between client and server. This includes how the server can indicate what data and operations are available, how the client should format requests, how the server should execute these queries, and what the client will receive in response.

Does GraphQL use HTTP?

Yes, GraphQL is typically served over HTTP. This is largely due to how pervasive the HTTP protocol is in our industry. But it helps that you can try out GraphQL by creating a single HTTP request. Guidelines for setting up a GraphQL server to operate over HTTP are available in our Serving over HTTP documentation.

While HTTP is the most common choice for client-server protocol, it’s not the only one. GraphQL is agnostic to the transport layer. So, for example, you could use WebSockets for GraphQL subscriptions instead of HTTP to consume realtime data.

How does GraphQL affect my product’s performance?

On a typical GraphQL backend, every field on every type has a focused, single-purpose function for resolving that value. Also, instead of trying to handle data batching on the client, GraphQL moves that logic to the server. As a result, there are some inherent performance benefits. Minimizing over-fetching and making fewer roundtrips to the server are two of them.

Other performance factors should be considered when building out your GraphQL implementation. For example, it’s possible for a GraphQL service to be ‘chatty’ and repeatedly load data from your database. This is commonly solved by implementing a batching technique or utilizing a tool like DataLoader.

What is a GraphQL client and why would I use one?

GraphQL clients can help you handle queries, mutations, and subscriptions to a GraphQL server. They use the underlying structure of a GraphQL API to automate certain processes. This includes batching, UI updates, build-time schema validation, and more.

A list of GraphQL clients in various languages is available on our Code page. There’s also an in-depth explanation of their benefits on How To GraphQL.

You don’t need a specific client to work with GraphQL, though. You might want to start out by issuing GraphQL results with a regular HTTP client. Then later switch to a GraphQL-optimized client as your application grows in complexity.

Does GraphQL replace ORMs?

No, GraphQL is a specification typically used for remote client-server communications. It’s agnostic to the data source(s) used and doesn’t implement an object-relational mapping technique. But there are ORMs built specifically for GraphQL. A few of those are listed under the Services section of our Code page.

Is GraphQL owned by Facebook?

No, GraphQL is governed by the GraphQL Foundation.

That said, the specification was originally developed at Facebook and Facebook is a member of the GraphQL Foundation. You might notice that some of our GitHub repositories still have the license listed under Facebook Inc. We’re updating those and have already converted major projects, like GraphiQL and DataLoader, to the new copyright: “Copyright (c) 2024 GraphQL Contributors.”

Who is behind GraphQL?

Many people! The GraphQL specification and all related projects are open source, so anyone is welcome to contribute. That said, there is a structure in place behind the repositories. This exists to resolve conflicts within the community and guiding technical decisions.

The GraphQL Foundation provides most of the oversight for GraphQL. It’s made up of representatives from dozens of different companies.

There are also monthly virtual GraphQL Working Group (WG) meetings managed by the GraphQL Foundation. These meetings are designed to bring together maintainers of commonly used GraphQL libraries and tools, as well as significant contributors to the GraphQL community. The WG meetings are completely open. Anyone is able to join and propose items to the agenda.

In the November 2020 WG meeting, it was announced that GraphQL will have a Technical Steering Committee (TSC) going forward. More on that coming soon.

If this is confusing, don’t worry - there’s a lot going on. To get a more visual, high-level overview, check out the GraphQL Landscape.

What is the GraphQL Foundation?

The GraphQL Foundation is a neutral foundation that provides governance for GraphQL. This includes vendor-neutral oversight of open-source repositories, funding, events, and more. It’s hosted under the Linux Foundation and consists of representatives from dozens of different companies. The idea is that it’s an impartial and open home for the GraphQL community.

You can find out more by visiting foundation.graphql.org.