What is GraphQL? (And How Does It Impact Business Intelligence)

Have you heard of GraphQL? GraphQL is a type of query language for any organization’s API. It is also a type of runtime for executing queries with a data system of your choosing.

GraphQL is independent of any database or storage engine, relying instead on your current code and data. A GraphQL service is made up of types and fields, as well as functions for each field on each type.

GraphQL is a modern API type, and it is often considered to be the future of JSON/XML. But is it really that beneficial for business intelligence use cases? In this guide, we’ll explain exactly what GraphQL is, what it’s used for, and its benefits. We’ll also break down alternatives to this tool and its disadvantages.

Everything You Need to Know About GraphQL and How it Impacts Business Intelligence

What is GraphQL?

GraphQL is a unique tool that serves as a form of query language and server-side-specific runtime for application programming interfaces (also known as APIs). This tool is designed to focus on providing clients (and their users) with only the information they need.

GraphQL was created with the goal of making APIs that are quick, versatile, and developer-friendly. It may even be used within the GraphiQL integrated development environment. GraphQL, a REST alternative, allows developers to create queries that pull data from various sources in a single API call.

Additionally, GraphQL allows API administrators to add or remove fields without affecting existing queries. Developers may use any techniques they choose to create APIs. The GraphQL standard will make sure that they work consistently for your users and clients.

GraphQL Use Cases

Why should you use GraphQL in the first place? Simply said, it’s more convenient. It’s a figment of the imagination. So, when is it appropriate to utilize GraphQL?

If you have a reliable RESTful service, there’s usually no compelling need to redo all of that effort. Why risk introducing change and risk when everything is stable and tested?

The ability to deploy particular design patterns on new or existing web services is where GraphQL’s true strength lies. Any of these patterns may theoretically be implemented using a different tool.

We believe that implementing these patterns using GraphQL makes the most sense because the request/manipulation of data (query) is totally separated from the execution of those actions (resolvers).

There are also some useful patterns that can be helpful for those using GraphQL, such as composite patterns, proxy patterns, facade patterns, and multi-pattern or anti-pattern combinations.

The Benefits

There are many benefits to using GraphQL in the context of business intelligence. GraphQL has a number of advantages over REST APIs.

One of the key advantages is that clients may tell the server exactly what they need and receive it in a predictable manner. Another significant advantage is the ability to obtain many resources in a single request, which is very beneficial when working with a large number of users and related accounts.

Another advantage is that it is highly typed, allowing API users to know exactly what data is accessible and in what form it is available. Every GraphQL service has a collection of types that fully explain the forms of data that may be queried on that service. When queries are received, they are verified and run against that schema.

The Downsides

While GraphQL has a wide range of benefits, no BI tool is completely perfect. It does have a few disadvantages.

The fact that queries always return an HTTP status code of 200, regardless of whether they were successful or not, is one drawback. If your query fails, a top-level error key with related error messages and stacktrace will appear in your return JSON. This may make mistake handling considerably more difficult, as well as add to the complexity of things like monitoring.

Another drawback is the lack of built-in caching functionality. REST APIs can make use of native HTTP caching to prevent having to reload resources because they contain many endpoints. You’ll need to put up your own cache support with GraphQL, which implies relying on another framework or using something like globally unique IDs in your backend.

This brings us to the last drawback: complexity. You should continue with your REST API if you have a simple REST API and deal with data that is generally stable over time. This can eliminate many of the pain problems associated with REST APIs for firms that deal with quickly changing data and have the engineering resources to commit to re-architecting their API systems.

GraphQL vs Rest API

GraphQL differs from a traditional REST API in that you often hit a single endpoint or resource that decides a full block of data that is returned in the JSON response, which must then be parsed and distributed.

Instead, this is built on schema, queries, and resolvers, with the goal of improving on the REST philosophy by allowing you to request a single piece of data rather than the full block. There’s no need to go through a large amount of info because you only get what you ask for. And what you’re looking for might come from a variety of REST APIs.

But keep in mind that these two are not the same things. GraphQL is both a language and a technology, whereas REST is an architecture style. This implies that as more teams use GraphQL, REST will continue to exist.

In fact, GraphQL may be of little benefit to you if you haven’t had any problems with REST. In this sense, they have shown to be useful for teams that have been hampered by traditional REST APIs, which is common with apps with a complicated UI or UX and several endpoints.

How Can Yurbi Help?

GraphQL offers an intriguing answer to some of the problems that might arise when utilizing REST APIs. While there are certain drawbacks to adopting GraphQL, if you frequently work with rapidly changing data at scale, it might be a good fit for your organization.

Yurbi just recently added a powerful API as an endpoint feature, where Yurbi can query and read JSON and convert that package into a set of nested tables in the Yurbi backend database for reporting.

So the short answer, for GraphQL services that return JSON, Yurbi can help quite a bit with your reporting requirements. The longer answer, we encourage you to connect and try it (which is why we offer a free trial).

While we didn’t explicitly develop our API as an endpoint feature for GraphQL, there could be some things we can easily add to make it an even more robust solution for GraphQL.

The biggest key with Yurbi, Yurbi was designed for business users, to be a no/low-code solution to make the dashboard and reporting easy. Plus you can white label and embed all the powerful dashboards and visualizations seamlessly into your existing apps.

With Yurbi’s affordable pricing that’s ideal for small and medium-scale businesses and a team that will treat you like a VIP no matter what, you’ve got the best of business intelligence within your reach.

Let us show you how Yurbi can change your world by booking a free live demo session with us. Or, if you want to know more about what Yurbi can offer to the table, reach out to us through a meeting.

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