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Build GraphQL APIs faster with IBM StepZen Graph Server

By Irina Oprea posted Wed May 10, 2023 10:35 AM


Authored by Anant Jhingran - IBM Fellow and Vice President, IBM Integration

For over a decade, REST APIs have been the gold standard for APIs. REST has become the predominant pattern (replacing SOAP/XML) because of its simplicity, and availability of tooling around it. And around REST APIs, a new software spend category has emerged—API Management, which deals with security, scale, analytics, developer experiences, and monetization of these APIs.

However, a new category of API structure is rising – GraphQL APIs. They take the best of REST (http/s based URI style endpoints) and allow a query or mutation to be issued against it. Just that extra flexibility makes for a step jump in the developer and app experience compared to standard REST.

The emergence of GraphQL APIs offers developers and app users more flexibility compared to standard REST APIs. However, building these APIs comes with various challenges, such as variation in backend protocols and access control, performance issues, scale, securing APIs, change management, preventing leaky abstractions, and federating across teams.

While many tools are available to build GraphQL APIs, most of them require coding solutions to these challenges, which might seem like a fun job, but can quickly get out of hand.

IBM StepZen Graph Server takes a different approach, inspired by the success of declarative databases. The developers and users specify what they want, and the database does the hard work (laying stuff out on disks, query optimization, transactional serializability, etc.). We help the developers build out their GraphQL API by creating and then assembling composable building blocks. Once they are assembled, StepZen Graph Server serves up that API, automatically scaling, optimizing, and protecting it.

One advantage of this building block approach is that what is needed to build an API is the same as what is needed to federate the API. Unlike other tools out there that treat federation differently than the build-out, in StepZen Graph Server, it is a seamless experience.


And equally important, it works seamlessly with IBM API Connect (and other API management tools) so that GraphQL APIs built in StepZen Graph Server can be managed consistently with other APIs that you are managing.

It is easy for you to get started. Sign up for free, and deploy your API building blocks on StepZen cloud, or using docker, locally.

And if you want to know more, we invite you to attend the webinar on May 31 and learn about GraphQL, use cases, and how StepZen Graph Server is addressing the needs of its developer base and customers