GraphQL Europe 2018 — A summary

Chris Grice
Jun 25, 2018 · 7 min read
(Photo by Stefan Kunze on Unsplash)


Schema design is important

GraphQL is a relatively new technology, and lots of the time we spent with it was trying to get into the right mindset. It’s really cool, then, to see the amount of best practices that are emerging from various sources. Leanne Shapton spent a fantastic 20 minutes going through the lessons that the Shopify team have learnt since adopting GraphQL. We could have avoided a lot of growing pains had we heard her a year ago! Specifically, her advice around paginating early, grouping related fields together and pushing complex calculations up to the server all really resonated with us.

Type safety is pretty cool

The idea of type safety has always been a big part of GraphQL for me. The fact you get a strongly-typed contract between server and client is a core feature, and embedding that contract in the transport layer is a big part of what makes GraphQL such a game-changer.

GraphQL architectures are varied

Quite a few speakers went into detail about their GraphQL architecture, and the different patterns that have started to emerge around how to build GraphQL systems.

Microservices

Lots of people are using GraphQL as a layer on top of their microservices. This has allowed them to slowly sub out some of the more painful parts of the infrastructure. As put by one of the speakers — if part of your estate is dying, GraphQL allows you to hide the bodies.

Monoliths

Nick Schrock spoke a lot about monoliths, and how he sees the current move towards microservices as an overcorrection to some of the pain of traditional monoliths. The idea that microservices are a tool, rather than a goal, was received very warmly

Diverse Languages

GraphQL has a reputation of being a front-end technology, and specifically associated with JavaScript. Lee Byron spoke about this being a consequence of how, and more importantly, where, GraphQL was announced — at a React conference.

We should be investing in Tools

The GraphQL community has built some amazing tooling, and that trend looks to continue!

  • Peggy Rayzis announced a new release candidate of apollo-server-2.0 during her talk — this includes features such as subscriptions, error handling tools, schema stitching, and schema directives. It also supports Apollo-Engine as standard, and can run on a CDN edge via Cloudflare Workers!

Lots of successful GraphQL adoption

It was brilliant to see how many organisations had adopted GraphQL over the past year. There were lots of stories of successful migrations, both in a technical and organisational sense.


Sainsbury's Engineering

A dive into some of the engineering work done behind the scenes at Sainsbury's. Interested in working with us? Check out open roles at sainsburys.jobs.

Thanks to Chris Cooney.

Chris Grice

Written by

Engineering @ Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury's Engineering

A dive into some of the engineering work done behind the scenes at Sainsbury's. Interested in working with us? Check out open roles at sainsburys.jobs.