What is GraphQL?

GraphQL is a strategic tool of choice for businesses and a frontend developer’s best friend.


GraphQL is a new architectural element that eliminates the need for frontend teams to repeatedly ask backend teams for new endpoints or changes to exisitng endpoints.

Advantages of GraphQL vs. REST

GraphQL is a massive improvement in developer experience over REST.

A powerful API-based query language

  • Created by Facebook, implemented in their mobile app in 2012 and open-sourced in 2015. It is rapidly becoming the standard for API-based data access.

  • Typical REST APIs require loading from multiple URLs, GraphQL APIs get all the data your app needs in a single request. Apps using GraphQL can be quick even on slow cellular connections.

 What is GraphQL API

Avoid the inherent complexity of

  • A GraphQL schema sets a single source of truth in a GraphQL application. It offers an organization a way to federate its entire API.

    GraphQL’s dynamic query capabilities virtually eliminate an entire class of software development dedicated to parsing RESTful APIs to meet custom application development needs.

    REST forces incessant coordination of efforts between front-end (client) & back-end (services) teams, which dramatically slows development & increases the stress level of all involved. GraphQL changes the game for both front-end & back-end teams.

Programmer meditating with laptop
GraphQL code window

GraphQL is fully-typed (self-described)

  • GraphQL APIs are organized in terms of the data they provision, not endpoints.

    Developers can access the full capabilities of their data from a single endpoint.

    GraphQL uses types to ensure apps only ask for what’s possible and provide clear and helpful errors.

Programmer meditating with laptop

Empower your frontend developers

  • GraphQL allows front-end developers to query and mutate the data without having to make requests for custom endpoints to back-end developers.

  • Minimize the need for having backend developers perform low-value work.

The 8base GraphQL Engine

Leverage our powerful GraphQL engine to allow your developers to move faster without dependencies on backend teams.

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graphql logo with code

Data Interchange Efficiency

GraphQL enables a graph for exchange of data between your client and server applications.

GraphQL is fully-typed

REST forces incessant coordination of efforts between front-end (client) & back-end (services) teams, which dramatically slows development & increases the stress level of all involved. GraphQL changes the game for both front-end & back-end teams.

Receive a graph of your requested
data as a JSON object.

GraphQL queries can return data across your entire relational model and return them in a single request in the form of a JSON object. Applications utilizing GraphQL can be fast even on slower mobile network connections.

GraphQL Developer Tools

Large and growing community has release popular GraphQL Developer Tools

GraphQL Editor
GraphQL Voyager
GraphQL Explorer

Leading organizations are using GraphQL

Frequently Asked Questions

What is GraphQL used for?

GraphQL is a query language (that's what the “QL” stands for) for APIs and a runtime for fulfilling those queries with your existing data. It is used to load data from a server to a client -- it's a way to get data from an API into your application.

Is GraphQL a database?

GraphQL is often confused with being a database technology but it is NOT one. GraphQL is a query language for APIs - not databases. In that sense it's database agnostic and can be used with any kind of database or even no database at all.

Is GraphQL frontend or backend?

GraphQL is neither the frontend or backend but rather the language spoken between the two to exchange information.

Is GraphQL faster than REST?

GraphQL is faster than REST because as you can pick the fields you want to query, so the request will always be the smallest possible, thus consuming less computing resources and network bandwidth.

What is a GraphQL Query?

A GraphQL query is used to read or fetch values. The operation is a simple string that a GraphQL server can parse and respond to with data in a in a specific format and with a shape corresponding to the query command.

What is a GraphQL Mutation?

A GraphQL mutation is used to modify data in the data source, whether that be an insert, update or delete operation. Mutations are defined as part of the schema.

What is a GraphQL Subscription?

A GraphQL subscription is intended to help you build real-time functionality into your applications, while still allowing only the data you need to be returned from live events.

Subscriptions are a GraphQL feature that allows a server to send data to its clients when a specific event happens.

What is a GraphQL Resolver?

A resolver is a collection of functions that generates responses for a GraphQL query. In simple terms, a resolver acts as a GraphQL query handler. Every resolver function in a GraphQL schema accepts four positional arguments as given below − fieldName:(root, args, context, info) => { result }.

What problems does 8base solve?

Building professional-grade applications is hard. 8base’s mission is to create a platform that abstracts backend complexity in support of professional-grade web and mobile applications. When using 8base, developers focus their efforts on the frontend and data model, rather than complex architectural, infrastructure, database, and common application service tasks.

When using 8base, non-developers can build and maintain powerful web and mobile applications with a small team, even a team of one. 8base also provides design and development talent in support of organizations that prefer to have our team take the lead.

What is GraphQL and why is it important?

GraphQL is an open-source data query and manipulation language for APIs, and a runtime for fulfilling queries with existing data. GraphQL was developed internally by Facebook in 2012 before being publicly released in 2015.

Modern application architecture commonly dictates separation of frontend and backend, connected via API endpoint(s). 8base's GraphQL engine automatically provisions most common database operations and makes them securely available to frontend developers, largely eliminating the need for backend developer involvement and empowering front-end developers to do most of the work in building professional-grade applications. This architecture and platform capability provides a strategic advantage to businesses that employ it by allowing them to develop faster with less cost, fewer resources, and iterate in a more agile fashion.

Who is 8base NOT for?

  • Teams that insist on maintaining their own computing infrastructure and other backend systems.
  • Teams building systems where user interface flexibility doesn't matter.

How is 8base different From other BaaS platforms?

8base is a new kind of Backend-as-a-Service. It combines the approachability of Google Firebase with the sophistication of far more expensive, enterprise-grade platforms.

Here’s more:

  • 8base was designed to support the needs of professional-grade SaaS applications that cut across desktop web and mobile form factors.
  • 8base has a powerful relational database versus a No-SQL database.
  • 8base is hosted and fully-managed, meaning the 8base team maintains both the software and infrastructure.
  • 8base’s default workspace API uses GraphQL as opposed to REST.
  • 8base is not open source.
  • 8base provides comprehensive application core services such as role-based security, authentication and single-sign-on that can be managed in the low-code environment.

Does 8base have its own cloud?

No. 8base leverages Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its required cloud resources.

What is a Backend-as-a-Service?

Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a cloud service delivery model in which developers and businesses delegate the behind-the-scenes aspects of a web or mobile application so that they only have to write and maintain the frontend. 8base provides numerous backend services including database, storage, serverless computing, authentication, notifications and more all exposed through a single GraphQL API endpoint.

What 8base is NOT for?

8base has very broad applications but there are a few areas where other types of solutions may be better suited. Some of these include: 

  • Content Websites – there are visual website builders like Wix and Squarespace, for this.
  • eCommerce Sites - there are purpose-built eCommerce platforms, like Shopify and Magento, for this.

Is a Backend-as-a-Service a low-code development platform?

A Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a form of a low-code development platform. Modern software application architecture dictates a separation between backend and frontend applications with an API endpoint(s) connecting the two. BaaS is a low-code backend and API that can be utilized by frontend web and mobile applications.

What is Serverless?

Serverless computing is a method of providing backend services on an as-used basis, similar to how an electrical utility provides power for customers. 8base's Serverless architecture allows users to write and deploy code without the hassle of worrying about the underlying infrastructure. Customers are only charged based on their computation and do not have to reserve and pay for a fixed amount of bandwidth or number of servers. As user and system demand grows, the computational environment auto-scales.

Who is the user of the 8base Platform?

The 8base Platform itself is used by developers. The most common type of developer is one with front-end or mobile development skills - 8base allows a front-end or mobile developer to build fully-functional software without needing any/much help from developers, DevOps, architects or database administrators.

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