June 30, 2017

Introducing Explore GraphQL

Sashko Stubailo

Sashko Stubailo

It’s no secret that the Apollo community thinks GraphQL is the best thing to happen to development since sliced bread. We talk to new teams every week who have gotten huge improvements in their workflow and development speed by adopting GraphQL as their new API layer. So we wanted to create a new resource that can help communicate that excitement and give people the tools to get GraphQL running in production at their organization.

That’s where Explore GraphQL comes in.

What’s this new site for, and how can you get involved? Let’s dive in.

The case for GraphQL 💼

There are a lot of talks being given at conferences around the world introducing people to GraphQL and getting them excited. Once someone is interested in the technology though, there isn’t a clear place to link them to so they can take the next steps to explore GraphQL’s benefits and try it for themselves. That’s why you’ll see slides at the end of every GraphQL talk with 5–7 links pointing to a variety of resources.

Here are two types of resources people often link to:

  • GraphQL.org: This is the home of the specification and technical documentation about GraphQL as a technology. It’s a critical resource for the community, but it’s focused on presenting the facts and less about presenting the reasons why to start using GraphQL.
  • Tutorials and other learning resources for GraphQL: These do a great job of introducing people to GraphQL and giving a hands-on experience, but they only work if the reader is already interested in adopting the technology. They usually don’t start with a rundown of why GraphQL is good to use in the first place.

We are building Explore GraphQL to tell the whole story of why engineering teams adopt GraphQL, and the value it brings from an organization and business perspective. One of the things we’re trying to focus on are the benefits to development velocity engineers get from GraphQL. People who move some or all of their data into a GraphQL API tell us it’s much easier to build new apps and prototype experiences than ever before, and we want to make that super clear to people considering the technology.

We’re excited to hear any ideas you might have about how to make that pitch stronger so newcomers have all the tools they need for a great experience with GraphQL!

Guides and best practices 📚

One thing we’ve heard over and over again is that there isn’t enough information about how to go from zero to production with GraphQL. There are lots of “hello world” style tutorials, and examples of building something from scratch, but there aren’t many good in-depth resources for advanced topics.

The first version of the website puts together some of the articles we’ve found around the web. They cover getting started with GraphQL and address some production issues like authentication, testing, and more. We hope to rapidly improve this part of the site most with community input and brand new content.

If you have an idea for content that is needed in the community, or are interested in writing content (and get prominent credit as an author), please let us know!

I already think this page is off to a good start, with a list of difficult-to-find articles in one curated place, but it has limitless potential.

Company success stories 🙌

The last major part of the site is a list of articles written by companies who have adopted GraphQL in production and gotten great results.

It’s inspiring to see how many people have already gotten value out of GraphQL on an organizational level, and it’s one of the main things that gives developers the confidence to push for it at their company. We hope that an actively curated list on the new Explore GraphQL website will make it easier to find great examples of GraphQL success stories.

What’s next?

After talking to lots of people at the excellent GraphQL Europe conference, we were convinced that the world needed a clear set of GraphQL resources to help people learn about GraphQL, test it out in their organization, convince their colleagues of its value, and implement it in production. We worked hard to create this first version of Explore GraphQL as a first step towards that goal, but it’s just the initial version.

First, we want to expand the set of best practices, production guides, and success stories available. There just aren’t enough resources around the internet, so we’ll be creating a list of articles that need to be written which we think will be important to people learning GraphQL — hope to share this with the community soon! We’ve been writing these articles as fast as we can (mostly here on the blog), but the whole community will need to pull together to create a complete story to get people from zero to production.

Then, we want to significantly improve the landing page to tell the best possible story about why people do (and should) adopt GraphQL, by talking to as many people as we can to learn what the technology has done for them. We want to put together a message that resonates with frontend developers, backend administrators, product managers, architects, and everyone else.

Long story short, Explore GraphQL is going to be an ever-improving resource and I’m excited to work on it together with you all!

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Sashko Stubailo

Sashko Stubailo

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