Basics

GraphQL is a query language used to request data from APIs and it is also a runtime for fulfilling these requests. When working with GraphQL, you'll use queries and mutations to query a GraphQL serve and responses will come back in JSON format. GraphQL is the future of Shopify APIs, and Shopify has said: "You should expect that there absolutely will be more features that will be only on GraphQL in the future."

This section summarizes Shopify's documentation: GraphQL and its benefits, https://graphql.org/, and https://www.howtographql.com, visit these links for more in-depth information.

Ask for what you need, receive only what you need

In REST, we get all the attributes associated with a resource, when we may only need a field or two from a resource. This extra data can add up, particularly if we are getting many records in our result set. In the example below, you can see the difference in the JSON response based on the fields we ask for in the GraphQL query.

Source: https://graphql.org/

Get multiple resources in a single HTTP request

There are many times where we want more data than what is available from a single resource in REST. In REST, we make multiple HTTP requests to retrieve all the data we need. In GraphQL we can retrieve all of this data in a single request.

In the example below, three HTTP request are required to collect the same information from a REST API, that can be done with a single HTTP request in GraphQL.

REST API: multiple HTTP requests

GraphQL API: single HTTP request