GraphQL is a query language for your API that allows you to request exactly the data you need, and nothing more. It was developed by Facebook and released as an open-source project in 2015.
One of the main differences between GraphQL and traditional APIs like REST, RPC, and SOAP is that GraphQL allows the client to specify exactly what data it needs, rather than the server deciding what data to send. This is called "overfetching" in REST, where the server sends more data than the client actually needs. With GraphQL, the client can specify exactly what it needs in a single request, reducing the amount of data transferred and improving performance.
The idea for GraphQL came about as Facebook was building its mobile app and realized that the REST API architecture was not well suited for the constantly changing needs of its front-end developers. They needed a way to request specific data, rather than just getting a fixed set of data from a particular endpoint. This led to the development of GraphQL, which has since gained widespread adoption and has been used by companies such as Airbnb, GitHub, and Shopify.
According to the GraphQL Foundation, as of 2020, there are over 1.5 million GraphQL servers in use worldwide, and the technology has been adopted by over 100,000 companies. In addition, a survey of GraphQL users found that the majority of respondents saw a performance improvement of 50% or more when switching to GraphQL.
As for the learning curve, many developers find that GraphQL is easy to pick up, especially if they are familiar with REST or other API architectures. There are also many resources available online to help developers get started with GraphQL, including tutorials, documentation, and community support.
Documentation: The official GraphQL documentation can be found at https://graphql.org/learn/.
Tutorials: There are many tutorials available online for learning GraphQL. One reputable resource is the free online course "Introduction to GraphQL" offered by the GraphQL Foundation, which can be found at https://graphql.org/learn/tutorials/.
Communities: There are several online communities where you can ask questions and get help with GraphQL. Some reputable options include the GraphQL community on Stack Overflow (https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/graphql) and the GraphQL community on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/graphql/). The official GraphQL forums (https://forums.graphql.org/) and the GraphQL Slack workspace (https://graphql.slack.com/) are also good places to connect with other GraphQL users.
In terms of commercial success, GraphQL has been widely adopted by companies of all sizes, from small start-ups to large enterprises. Some well-known companies using GraphQL include Airbnb, GitHub, Shopify, and Netflix.
Here is an example of a GraphQL query compared to the equivalent REST, RPC, and SOAP requests:
In conclusion, GraphQL is a powerful and flexible query language that has gained widespread adoption since its release in 2015. Its ability to allow clients to specify exactly the data they need has led to improved performance and reduced overfetching compared to traditional APIs such as REST, RPC, and SOAP. Its ease of use and strong community support have also made it popular among developers, and it has been adopted by a wide range of companies, from small start-ups to large enterprises. If you are considering using an API for your project, GraphQL is definitely worth considering as a modern and efficient alternative to traditional API architectures.