GitHub GraphQL API is Out of Early Access

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GitHub GraphQL API has recently become generally available. InfoQ has spoken with GitHub senior engineering manager Kyle Daigle.

Announced at GitHub Universe last year, GitHub GraphQL API aims to add more flexibility to GitHub API. The main advantage of GraphQL is its ability to define exactly what data are required, which makes it possible to replace multiple REST request with a single call. Additionally, GraphQL schemas are strongly typed and introspective.

InfoQ has spoken with Daigle to learn more about its evolution and future.

InfoQ: GitHub provided early access to its new GraphQL API last October. What has been the evolution of the API (V4) since? What new features were implemented, requested, or contributed? How would you describe developers’ reactions?

Kyle Daigle: Developers have been excited to use the new GraphQL API since our early access at GitHub Universe. For example, integrators are finding ways to access data more efficiently than they could before. As we build new features into GitHub, we also release those features via our GraphQL API. Developers have enjoyed being able to ask for just the data they need using the same API that our own engineers use.

InfoQ: Meanwhile, GitHub has not stopped working on REST API (V3). How do they stack up against each other? Do you foresee V3 to be superseded at some point in time?

Daigle: Right now, we’re watching how integrators and developers use the new GraphQL API to make changes and improvements to the new V4 API. We are actively moving REST API to be backed by GraphQL as well to continue to power the REST API. Over the coming months, we’ll be adding more data to the GraphQL API to bring it closer to providing the same data as the REST API.

InfoQ: Is it already possible to draw some conclusions regarding GitHub GraphQL adoption outside of GitHub? How is it delivering on its promises of better scalability, type safety, introspection, etc.?

GraphQL is seeing larger adoption within the larger technology community. GraphQL EU and GraphQL Summit have become two large, yearly events where small and larger companies talk about using GraphQL. GraphQL has allowed our integrators to build features more quickly and with more clarity around exactly what the API is providing via its type system. GitHub is committed to helping the larger GraphQL community grow and we’re excited to contribute back to the community with our experiences running the first major public GraphQL API.

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