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GraphQL vs Redux: What are the differences?

GraphQL and Redux are both popular technologies used in web development. While they serve different purposes, they have key differences that make them unique and suitable for different scenarios.

  1. Query Language vs. State Manager: The most fundamental difference between GraphQL and Redux lies in their core functionalities. GraphQL is a query language for APIs, enabling clients to request and retrieve data from a server with a single request. It focuses on optimizing data retrieval and reducing over-fetching and under-fetching. On the other hand, Redux is a state management library for JavaScript applications. It provides a centralized store to manage the state of an application and allows components to access and modify the state using actions and reducers.

  2. Flexibility vs. Structure: Another significant difference is the level of flexibility and structure provided by GraphQL and Redux. GraphQL offers a highly flexible and dynamic approach to data fetching, where clients can request exactly the data they need and receive it in a predefined structure. It allows clients to specify the shape of the data in the request itself. In contrast, Redux provides a more structured and predictable way of managing application state. It follows a unidirectional data flow pattern, where actions trigger state changes in the store, and components subscribe to the store to receive updates.

  3. Server-side vs. Client-side: GraphQL primarily operates on the server-side, serving as a middle layer between clients and data sources. It abstracts the complexities of data fetching and provides a unified interface for clients to interact with different data sources. On the other hand, Redux is primarily a client-side library, managing the state of the application within the browser or runtime environment. It focuses on efficient state updates and propagation to the UI components.

  4. Optimized for Network Efficiency vs. Improved Performance: GraphQL is built to optimize network efficiency by minimizing unnecessary data transfers. With GraphQL, clients can precisely specify the required data, eliminating over-fetching and reducing the payload size. This minimizes the amount of data transferred over the network, resulting in faster response times. On the contrary, Redux focuses on improving application performance by offering efficient state updates and minimizing unnecessary re-renders. It ensures that UI components only update when the corresponding state changes, avoiding unnecessary computations.

  5. Real-time Updates vs. Time Travel Debugging: GraphQL supports real-time updates through subscriptions, allowing clients to receive data in real-time as it changes on the server. This is especially useful for applications that require real-time data, such as chat applications or live dashboards. Redux, on the other hand, offers time travel debugging, which allows developers to replay application state changes and debug issues. It provides a powerful tool for understanding how the application state evolves over time and identifying bugs or regressions.

  6. Schema-Driven Development vs. Explicit Data Flow: GraphQL promotes schema-driven development, where the server defines a schema that describes the available data and operations. Clients can then introspect the schema and generate code or use tools to build queries and mutations. This enables a high level of flexibility and automation. In contrast, Redux emphasizes an explicit data flow, where developers manually define actions and reducers to modify the application state. It provides fine-grained control over state updates and makes it easier to reason about the data flow in the application.

In summary, GraphQL is a query language for APIs focused on network efficiency and flexibility, while Redux is a state management library that provides structure and predictable state management in client-side applications.

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Pros of GraphQL
Pros of Redux
  • 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
  • 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
  • 2
    Easy setup
  • 1
    "Open" document
  • 1
    Fast prototyping
  • 1
    Supports subscription
  • 1
  • 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
  • 191
    State is predictable
  • 150
    Plays well with React and others
  • 126
    State stored in a single object tree
  • 79
    Hot reloading out of the box
  • 74
    Allows for time travel
  • 14
    You can log everything
  • 12
    Great tutorial direct from the creator
  • 7
    Endorsed by the creator of Flux
  • 7
    Test without browser
  • 6
    Easy to debug
  • 3
    Enforces one-way data flow
  • 3
    Granular updates
  • 2

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Cons of GraphQL
Cons of Redux
  • 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
  • 13
    Lots of boilerplate
  • 6
  • 5
    Steep learning curve
  • 5
  • 4
    Steeper learning curve than RxJs
  • 4
    Steeper learning curve than MobX

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What companies use GraphQL?
What companies use Redux?
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What are some alternatives to GraphQL and Redux?
gRPC is a modern open source high performance RPC framework that can run in any environment. It can efficiently connect services in and across data centers with pluggable support for load balancing, tracing, health checking...
Falcor lets you represent all your remote data sources as a single domain model via a virtual JSON graph. You code the same way no matter where the data is, whether in memory on the client or over the network on the server.
Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.
Lightest GraphQL client with intelligent features. You can download graphql.js directly, or you can use Bower or NPM.
MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
See all alternatives