GraphQL vs PostgREST

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GraphQL

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GraphQL vs PostgREST: What are the differences?

Introduction

GraphQL and PostgREST are two modern technologies that are commonly used in web development. While they both have their merits, there are several key differences between the two.

  1. Architecture: GraphQL is a query language that allows clients to request and retrieve specific data from the server. It provides a flexible and efficient way to fetch data, allowing clients to request exactly what they need. In contrast, PostgREST is a RESTful web service that is automatically generated from a PostgreSQL database schema. It provides a simple way to expose the database as a RESTful API, with endpoints corresponding to database tables.

  2. Data Fetching: In GraphQL, clients can specify the exact data they need in a single request, reducing over-fetching and under-fetching of data. Clients can traverse related data and get the required information efficiently. PostgREST, on the other hand, relies on traditional HTTP endpoints and follows the RESTful paradigm, where each endpoint returns a predefined set of data. Clients have less control over the data they receive and may need to make multiple requests to fetch related data.

  3. Query Flexibility: GraphQL allows clients to define their queries and specify the data they require, making it highly flexible. Clients can request a subset of fields, filter data, and even specify the structure of the response. In contrast, PostgREST follows a fixed schema defined by the database, and clients have limited control over the response structure and the ability to customize queries.

  4. Performance: GraphQL allows clients to fetch only the data they need, reducing the amount of data transferred over the network and improving performance. The server can optimize the query execution and avoid under-fetching or over-fetching of data. PostgREST, being a RESTful API, may suffer from over-fetching of data as clients receive a fixed set of data for each endpoint, which may include unnecessary information.

  5. Integration with Existing Systems: GraphQL can be used as a layer on top of existing systems and can aggregate data from multiple sources. It can act as a gateway to various APIs and services, providing a unified interface. PostgREST is tightly coupled with the PostgreSQL database and directly exposes its schema as a RESTful API. It is specifically designed for working with PostgreSQL and may not be suitable for integrating with other systems.

  6. Data Modification: GraphQL provides a powerful way to mutate data, allowing clients to create, update, or delete data in a single request. It handles complex data structures and relationships efficiently. PostgREST follows the traditional RESTful approach, where each endpoint corresponds to a specific CRUD operation. While it can handle data modification, it may not provide the same level of flexibility and efficiency as GraphQL.

In Summary, GraphQL and PostgREST have significant differences in terms of architecture, data fetching, query flexibility, performance, integration with existing systems, and data modification capabilities. Choosing between the two depends on the specific requirements of the project and the trade-offs that need to be made.

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Pros of GraphQL
Pros of PostgREST
  • 75
    Schemas defined by the requests made by the user
  • 63
    Will replace RESTful interfaces
  • 62
    The future of API's
  • 49
    The future of databases
  • 13
    Self-documenting
  • 12
    Get many resources in a single request
  • 6
    Query Language
  • 6
    Ask for what you need, get exactly that
  • 3
    Fetch different resources in one request
  • 3
    Type system
  • 3
    Evolve your API without versions
  • 2
    Ease of client creation
  • 2
    GraphiQL
  • 2
    Easy setup
  • 1
    "Open" document
  • 1
    Fast prototyping
  • 1
    Supports subscription
  • 1
    Standard
  • 1
    Good for apps that query at build time. (SSR/Gatsby)
  • 1
    1. Describe your data
  • 1
    Better versioning
  • 1
    Backed by Facebook
  • 1
    Easy to learn
  • 4
    Fast, simple, powerful REST APIs from vanilla Postgres
  • 2
    JWT authentication
  • 1
    Very fast
  • 1
    Declarative role based security at the data layer

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Cons of GraphQL
Cons of PostgREST
  • 4
    Hard to migrate from GraphQL to another technology
  • 4
    More code to type.
  • 2
    Takes longer to build compared to schemaless.
  • 1
    No support for caching
  • 1
    All the pros sound like NFT pitches
  • 1
    No support for streaming
  • 1
    Works just like any other API at runtime
  • 1
    N+1 fetch problem
  • 1
    No built in security
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    What is GraphQL?

    GraphQL is a data query language and runtime designed and used at Facebook to request and deliver data to mobile and web apps since 2012.

    What is PostgREST?

    PostgREST serves a fully RESTful API from any existing PostgreSQL database. It provides a cleaner, more standards-compliant, faster API than you are likely to write from scratch.

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    What companies use GraphQL?
    What companies use PostgREST?
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    What tools integrate with GraphQL?
    What tools integrate with PostgREST?

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