DEV Community

Cover image for Key differences between GraphQL and RESTful API

Posted on

Key differences between GraphQL and RESTful API

GraphQL and RESTful API are two popular approaches for building APIs, but they have distinct differences in architecture, data fetching, development speed, metadata and validation, and API endpoints.

The main key differences between GraphQL and RESTful API are as follows:


  • GraphQL: GraphQL is an application layer server-side technology that is used for executing queries with existing data. It follows a client-driven architecture.

  • RESTful API: REST (Representational State Transfer) is a software architectural style that defines a set of constraints for creating web services. It follows a server-driven architecture.

Data Fetching:

  • GraphQL: With GraphQL, the client can specify exactly the data it needs in a query, and the server responds with a JSON object that fulfills those requirements. This eliminates overfetching and underfetching of data.

  • RESTful API: In RESTful API, the client needs to access multiple endpoints to gather the required data. This can lead to overfetching, as the endpoints may return additional information that is not needed.

Development Speed:

  • GraphQL: The development speed in GraphQL is generally faster compared to RESTful API, as it provides a declarative way of fetching and updating data.

  • RESTful API: The development speed in RESTful API is slower compared to GraphQL, as it requires creating new APIs for different data requirements.

Metadata and Validation:

  • GraphQL: GraphQL uses metadata for query validation, which helps in ensuring the correctness of queries.

  • RESTful API: RESTful API does not have machine-readable metadata cacheable, and query validation is not available.(There are some libraraies tried to solve this issue like TRPC)

API Endpoints:

  • GraphQL: GraphQL API endpoints are single, and the server determines the available resources.

  • RESTful API: RESTful API endpoints are multiple, and the shape and size of the resource are determined by the server.

Is there anything else you would like to include?


Read more:

Top comments (0)