The Apollo platform

How Apollo helps you go from zero to production with GraphQL

The Apollo GraphQL data platform simplifies the data-layer within organizations, helps teams work more effortlessly with data from a variety of sources, and allows products to evolve faster.

The more technical benefits of GraphQL adoption are well-documented in other areas of this documentation, however this Fundamentals section will focus on explaining pre-adoption recommendations which have been guided by Apollo’s many years of first-hand experiences working with everything from single-person apps to enterprise deployments.

We’ll start by discussing the basics of GraphQL and Apollo and move into concepts, mindsets and tips which will help ensure a successful GraphQL story for those that follow it.

What is GraphQL?

Fundamentally, GraphQL is a specification which defines concepts that enable a more structured data experience for products and teams alike. It enables data from multiple sources to be unified into a single, strongly-typed API which can evolve over time and is easy for both humans and computers to explore.

GraphQL is also a movement by the open-source developer community to gain control over an increasingly complicated data horizon which needs better organization, more flexibility, easier tooling and scalable operations.

More than anything, GraphQL is an entire ecosystem. Apollo has embraced the brilliance of GraphQL and intends to propel the community forward by presenting it in the most approachable way possible.

What is Apollo?

Apollo is a production-ready set of tools and libraries, built upon the GraphQL specification, which implement features, techniques and feedback from our partners, the community, and our own extensive research. We’ve incorporated this learning into a variety of Apollo products and made it easy to introduce into new and existing projects of all shapes and sizes.

At its core, and backed by years of GraphQL experience, the open-source Apollo Server and Apollo Client provide the functional means to roll out a full-featured GraphQL deployment, plus the documentation, best practices and support to do it right.

Additional advanced features are powered by Apollo Engine which works seamlessly with Apollo Client and Apollo server to enable caching, alerting, performance monitoring and schema management tools which help developers feel confident about their deployment and ensure a stable and performant GraphQL stack.

Apollo believes that a strong data management story goes far in the world of software development and feel our software and expertise plays a critical role in that story.

Ready for production

While the GraphQL specification was first made public by Facebook in 2015, GraphQL has been a key component of their mobile application deployment since 2012.

At Apollo, we found GraphQL to be an excellent solution to many of the problems we encountered with existing techniques and now use it to power critical infrastructure. Over the years, we’ve worked with the open-source community along with customers and partners of all sizes to continually bring new innovations to the open-source Apollo offerings and we’re proud that those offerings are suitable for everything from startups to large-scale deployments.

In addition to our own experience, we have received extensive feedback, contributions and support from enterprise customers who are actively using Apollo GraphQL in production. A few of our most public and notable case-studies are:

  • The New York Times: Learn how The New York Times switched from Relay to Apollo & implemented features in their app such as SSR and persisted queries.
  • Airbnb: Airbnb is betting big on the Apollo platform to power the data layer for their microservices.
  • Express: Easy-to-use pagination with Apollo helped improve the Express eCommerce team’s key product pages.
  • Major League Soccer: MLS’ switch from Redux to Apollo for state management enabled them to delete nearly all of their Redux code.
  • Expo: Developing their React Native app with Apollo allowed the Expo engineers to focus on improving their product instead of writing data fetching logic.
  • KLM: Learn how the KLM team scaled their Angular app with GraphQL and Apollo.
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