ReactEurope interview #6: Nick Schrock

Patrick Aljord
3 min readMar 19, 2015

Meet Nick, co-creator of the highly anticipated GraphQL project and software engineer at Facebook. Nick doesn’t work on React.js itself but on GraphQL which was introduced at the React.js conf in SF and it is a critical part of how Relay works. We will have an interview about Relay soon too so stay tuned.

At the conference, Nick will do A deep dive into GraphQL with Dan Shafer. Together with Relay and ReactNative, GraphQL is considered one of the biggest and most exciting announcement of the React.js conf. Read more about it from Nick himself:

Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, what do you do?

I’m Nick Schrock and I’m an engineer at Facebook. I’ve worked there for a little over six years. I was born in Minnesota, went to school at the University of Michigan and the London School of Economics, and I’ve lived in Ann Arbor, Seattle, London, Chicago, Palo Alto, and now finally San Francisco as an adult.

At Facebook, I started a team called Product Infrastructure and have been on that team for most of my career. You can think about as Facebook’s internal abstraction team.

As a co-creator of GraphQL, could you tell us a bit about how it came to be and how it’s related to Relay?

GraphQL was created as a necessity of Facebook’s shift to building native mobile applications instead of relying on HTML5. And building applications — especially ones as broad and complex as Facebook’s — brings a whole new set of challenges. It was actually built quite quickly and under intense pressure because we needed to deliver a native newsfeed. It was only really possible to build that quickly because we have building an internal abstraction stack for years that was well-suited to the task. We’ve been using GraphQL to power our mobile apps for nearly three years.

Relay can effectively be thought of a system which couples together React and GraphQL to provide to build data-driven components. A relay components essentially consists of 1) a GraphQL query “fragment” (you can think of it as a sub-query) and 2) code to bind that resulting data to React components.

What do you expect from the conf?

Personally I’m excited to have an opportunity to speak about GraphQL in more detail. The initial presentation was only about 10 minutes and I think it really only exposed a fraction of the value of the system.

React.conf at FB HQ was also my first real exposure to the React community and I was really impressed with the attendees. I look forward to meeting all the attendees.

Anything else you want to tell future attendees?

Stay tuned! We hope to make GraphQL a much more concrete technology with both specifications and implementations by the time the conference rolls around.

There you go, you now know a bit more about Nick (and GraphQL!) and hopefully you will be able to meet him personally at the conf.

If you haven’t done so, make sure to grab your ticket to the conference before they’re all gone and see you there!