Gartner Research

Assessing GraphQL for Modern API Delivery

Published: 23 January 2020

ID: G00451143

Analyst(s): Gary Olliffe

Summary

GraphQL has emerged as an alternative to REST APIs. It provides flexibility to API consumers but brings new challenges to API delivery. Application technical professionals responsible for API design, integration and management must assess GraphQL’s benefits and impact to API governance and security.

Table Of Contents

Analysis

  • What Is GraphQL?
    • The GraphQL Ecosystem
    • How Do GraphQL and REST Compare?
    • Learning GraphQL
  • Three Use Cases for GraphQL APIs
    • Client-Centric API Use Case
    • Platform-Centric Use Case
    • Data-Centric Use Case
  • Future Direction — Supporting BI and Data Virtualization
  • API Management and Governance for GraphQL
    • API Life Cycle Management
    • Developer Engagement
    • Traffic Management
    • Caching Support
    • Protocol Support
    • Monitoring
    • Usage Analytics
    • Authentication
    • Authorization
    • Security Policies
  • Designing GraphQL APIs
    • The Key Elements of GraphQL
    • Interacting With a GraphQL API
  • Strengths
    • App Developer Flexibility and Agility
    • Standardization
    • Technology Familiarity
    • A Complete Set of Interaction Patterns
    • Healthy and Growing Ecosystem
  • Weaknesses
    • Initial Learning Curve Impacts Productivity
    • Query Optimization Introduces Complexity
    • New “Plumbing” Required
    • Specification Maturity and Completeness
    • JavaScript Dominance

Guidance

  • Learn GraphQL Fundamentals to Differentiate It From REST
  • Engage Your API Consumers (Particularly UI/UX Developers)
  • Continue to Use REST Where Its Ubiquity and Familiarity Ease Developer Adoption
  • Assess the Impact of GraphQL on Your API Management and Security Infrastructure
  • Apply an Iterative and Evolutionary Approach to Designing and Implementing GraphQL
  • Ensure Your API Design Guidelines Cover the Shortcomings of GraphQL

The Details

  • GraphQL History and Governance

Gartner Recommended Reading

©2020 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.