Falcor vs. GraphQL: The differences that matter
While both essentially represent two approaches to a similar end goal, there are some key differences between GraphQL and Falcor that are worth understanding.
Falcor and GraphQL are both capable of simplifying API-based data access within a web or mobile application, but understanding the differences in the way Falcor and GraphQL function is crucial for choosing how either one should fit into your specific development project.
Let's break down the most important differences between Falcor and GraphQL web and mobile developers should know about.
What are Falcor and GraphQL?
GraphQL, which was developed by Facebook in 2012 and open-sourced in 2015, is a query language that enables developers to define the structure of the data they request from a server. It also enables efficient data fetching from multiple sources, making applications more efficient and secure.
Falcor and GraphQL both provide an efficient means of querying data for mobile and web apps. They share similarities from an operational standpoint, too, as they both do the following:
- Use a declarative style of query language or syntax.
- Use a single unified API endpoint for all queries.
- Enable granular control of data requests.
- Offer the ability to batch multiple requests into a single request.
Major differences between Falcor and GraphQL
Despite their common qualities, however, the functional differences between Falcor and GraphQL are important to understand. Some of these major differences revolve around their unique implementations, querying flexibility and performance efficiency.
GraphQL offers sophisticated levels of support for pattern matching, searching and filtering. Falcor, meanwhile, supports partially open-ended queries, such as ranges of numbers. Complex pattern matching is much more difficult in Falcor than in GraphQL.
In situations where you know the specific data you need to fetch, the flexibility of GraphQL's query types doesn't provide as significant a benefit. But, when unsure what the data may include, GraphQL makes it easier to filter out the information you need without knowing what it looks like ahead of time.
In general, it's easier to implement highly efficient queries with GraphQL than with Falcor. This is because GraphQL provides a powerful engine that enables developers to write queries that fetch all the necessary data in a single request. With Falcor, you're more likely to have to run multiple queries to get the totality of data you need.
This difference is important in use cases where application efficiency and performance are a priority. The fewer requests you make, the less load you place on servers, clients and the network. This makes GraphQL the more efficient choice when faced with potentially unreliable networks or devices with minimal client-side resources. GraphQL's advantages in this area are less important in use cases where clients have highly capable devices, like full-fledged PCs, and where network bandwidth or latency isn't likely to be constrained.