GraphQL: Evolution or Revolution?

Time: 09:40 - 10:10      Duration: 00:30      Format: Standard

In this talk I will present a thorough comparison between SOAP, WSDL, oData, REST(ful), Falcor and GraphQL. I will show a small code sample for each of the technologies, present how/where they are being used, and compare them to GraphQL on a number of metrics:

  • Ease-of-use
  • Type-safety
  • Documentation
  • Standardization
  • Caching
  • Efficiency
  • Adoption
  • (maybe more?)


Sometimes it’s hard to see through all the hype and do a calm and objective assessment of a new technology. Particularly in the space of API technologies there are so many different acronyms and buzzwords that it’s easy to get confused: SOAP, RPC, WSDL, oData, REST, RESTful, Swagger, Open API, RAML, JSON API, Falcor, not to mention Firebase and Parse which are not the same, but also in that space. It takes a lot of effort to see the forrest for all the trees. One could easily spend several days researching and comparing the different options, but most people don’t have time for that.

I hope that my talk will provide people with the basic knowledge they need to have in order to choose the right tool for each project. Anyone excited about GraphQL will come away from this talk with a list of good reasons for their choice, just in case they encounter a professional curmudgeon who tells them that GraphQL is just oData plus hype.

The twist

Many people like to say that GraphQL is a replacement for REST. So a revolution of sorts, not evolution. But what if I told you that GraphQL actually meets all the architectural constraints of REST laid out in Roy Fielding’s PhD dissertation?



Jonas Helfer

Jonas Helfer

Meteor / Apollo

Jonas is the tech lead for Apollo Client and a maintainer of several other popular open source GraphQL libraries like graphql-server and graphql-tools. He is passionate about creating a great developer experience around building modern web applications.