June 2, 2016

GraphQL in 2016: A Growing Ecosystem

Thea Lamkin

Thea Lamkin

As the team at Apollo Stack has been working with GraphQL to build a data stack for modern applications, we’ve run into more and more people who are excited about what GraphQL has to offer — whether they’re using it in their products or extending it with tooling of their own.

When we set out to find all the major GraphQL-based open source projects out there, we couldn’t even get them all on the same slide. Here are just some of them:

But even with all this momentum, we hadn’t seen many opportunities for all these people to get in a room and talk about where GraphQL and the ecosystem around it is going. So we decided to host one ourselves.

We organized our very first GraphQL-only meetup, and in just a couple of days got people from some of the most exiting GraphQL projects on board to speak. Joining Jonas Helfer and Sashko Stubailo from the Apollo team were Lee Byron and Joseph Savona from Facebook’s GraphQL and Relay teams, Syrus Akbary from Graphene, and Clay Allsopp from GraphQLHub.

Not only did we get a look into where each individual project is going, but we got everyone together afterwards for a panel to discuss the past, present and future of GraphQL’s community.

Panel Discussion

Sound awesome? Check out the full videos below.

Graphene: Making GraphQL Easier

First up was a brief introduction to the GraphQL ecosystem. The first talk came from Syrus Akbary, who created Graphene, a library that lets you use GraphQL in Python. He dove into some recent feature updates to Graphene (including Google App Engine support and middleware) and explored what the community can do to make GraphQL better.

Apollo Client: Put GraphQL data in your UI

Sashko followed with a talk about how Apollo Client makes it easy to build a full stack app using GraphQL. To demonstrate this, he showed how he used GraphQL, Apollo Client and Redux to build GitHunt, an example app letting you vote for your favorite repositories.

What’s Next for Relay.js

Next, Joe Savona dove into Relay.js, Facebook’s JavaScript framework that leverages GraphQL to handle data requirements and mutations. He focused on use cases Relay is targeting now and in the future: fetching data, pagination, mutations, and performance.

Evolving GraphQL Hub

For the last talk Clay Alsopp spoke about GraphQLHub, a website (and npm module) he created that lets you query popular APIs with GraphQL. He talked about how he’s taken a more idiomatic approach to GraphQL over the course of building GraphQLHub.

Panel Discussion with Lee Byron: GraphQL in 2016

In the panel, we got an inside look into the motivation behind each speaker’s involvement with GraphQL and the problems they are looking to solve with their respective projects. Special guest Lee Byron, who helps maintain the GraphQL specification and reference implementation at Facebook, talked about GraphQL’s development, design, and (purposeful) limitations, as well as areas the community can contribute.

Recommended Resources

If you’d like to dive even deeper into GraphQL, the speakers mentioned some great resources you can use to learn more:

  • Zero to GraphQL in 30 Minutes —a talk from Relay developer Steven Luscher (and accompanying github repo for examples of GraphQL endpoints in various languages and frameworks).
  • Building Apollo— Apollo Stack’s Medium publication documenting our in-depth learnings on GraphQL, including useful tutorials and explanations.
  • Learn GraphQL — a great beginner course taking you through GraphQL bases.
  • Make It Open — a series of tutorials on what a real app looks like if you’re using multiple projects from the GraphQL ecosystem together, based on the F8 conference app.
  • graphql.org — GraphQL’s official website, which is always welcoming guest contributions.

We enjoyed the event so much that we decided to do it again soon! Join our meetup group GraphQL San Francisco to get updates on future events.

If you happen to be in the Toronto area, check out this upcoming meetup on June 15 from our friends at OK GROW!

Written by

Thea Lamkin

Thea Lamkin

Read more by Thea Lamkin