What is the difference between REST API and GraphQL?

In this blog, we explore the key differences between these two technologies, and provide valuable insights on when to use each one. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, you're going to love this read.

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OP Saran

February 01, 2023

~ 9 min read



REST API and GraphQL are the go-to technologies for building seamless APIs that facilitate communication between applications. REST API, or Representational State Transfer API, has been a staple in the API development arena for a while now. On the other hand, GraphQL, introduced by Facebook in 2012, is relatively new to the scene. While both technologies serve the same purpose, it's crucial to comprehend the key differences that set them apart.


Yay for REST API! It's my go-to approach for developing APIs and it's used by many others too. The concept is simple - represent the state of a resource (like a database record) using a standardized format like JSON or XML, and voila! Applications can easily access and manipulate the data with HTTP methods like GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.

One of the best things about REST API is how user-friendly it is. I can start building REST APIs right away and there's a ton of helpful tools and libraries to make my life easier. Plus, REST APIs are supported by both web and mobile clients, so integrating them into my applications is a breeze.

However, there is one downside - it can lead to over-fetching of data. When I'm building a REST API, I need to anticipate the data that the user will need and define the resources and methods of access accordingly. This means that the user may receive more data than necessary, wasting resources and potentially affecting the performance of the application.


GraphQL is a game-changer when it comes to APIs! It tackles some of the limitations of REST API with its query language that empowers users to specify exactly what data they need, using a straightforward and flexible syntax. This means developers no longer have to guess what data the user will require, and users can request only the data they actually need.

The efficiency of data retrieval is one of the biggest pros of GraphQL. By allowing users to specify their data needs, GraphQL can make a single query to multiple sources and return the data in a single response. This results in saved time and resources, and a more responsive application.

GraphQL also offers incredible flexibility and scalability. Developers can easily add new fields and types to their APIs without worrying about breaking existing clients. This makes maintaining and evolving APIs over time a breeze, and encourages experimentation and quick iteration.

The only challenge with GraphQL is its relatively new status, and the learning curve that comes with it. Developers need to familiarize themselves with GraphQL's syntax and concepts, such as schemas, types, and queries. Also, not all web and mobile clients support GraphQL natively, so developers may need to use additional tools or libraries to integrate it into their applications. Nevertheless, the benefits of GraphQL are worth the extra effort!

What Should you use?

Choosing between REST API and GraphQL comes down to your application's requirements. If your app demands large amounts of dynamic data, GraphQL is the way to go. Its ability to retrieve data from multiple sources in a single response makes it highly efficient.

But, if your app doesn't require a lot of data, or if the data is relatively static, then REST API is your best bet. It's well-known for its simplicity and straightforwardness, and it's widely adopted by the web community.

New kid in the town: tRPC

Get ready for TRPC, the game-changer in API development! TRPC stands for Transport Layer gRPC Protocol and is designed to provide lightning-fast communication between applications. It's different from REST and GraphQL in that it utilizes a binary format for data exchange and a gRPC framework, leading to reduced latency and quicker data transfer speeds. This makes it perfect for applications that require real-time updates, as it supports bi-directional streaming in real-time. Plus, with a strongly-typed schema for API development, TRPC helps catch any errors early on during the development process. Yes, it may be a relatively new technology, but it's definitely worth the learning curve for developers looking for an efficient and effective solution for their API needs.


In wrapping up, REST API and GraphQL are two popular and mighty technologies for building APIs to facilitate communication between applications. REST API is a classic method of API development, while GraphQL is a cutting-edge solution that brings in efficiency in data retrieval.

At the end of the day, both REST API and GraphQL are incredible tools for developers to craft efficient and effective APIs. By gaining insight into the crucial variations between these two technologies, developers can make informed choices on which one to employ in their projects.


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