Netlify Graph aims to simplify the integration of external APIs into web applications
Netlify Graph provides a new GraphQL-based approach to integrating separate APIs to build a web application that strives to reduce the complexities inherent in mixing different data models, response formats, authentication schemes, and more. InfoQ spoke with Netlify Ecosystem Manager Den Delimarsky.
The main benefit of using Netlify Graph, according to Netlify co-founder and CEO Matt Biilmann, is reducing the time it takes for developers to start using external APIs without writing glue code or composing. multiple endpoints from heterogeneous APIs.
Currently, Netlify Graph is integrated with a number of popular APIs such as GitHub, Stripe, and Salesforce, with more coming in the coming months.
InfoQ spoke with Den Delimarsky, Head of Netlify Ecosystem, to learn more about Netlify Graph.
InfoQ: Could you explain what problem the new Netlify Graph is trying to solve for developers?
Den Delimarsky: We are moving from an era where developers had to build web applications from scratch to an era where pre-built APIs exist for almost everything. But a new problem has arisen; many developers have found that the process of connecting and interacting with all these APIs has replaced old complexities with new ones – different data models that are difficult to integrate with existing infrastructure, a variety of response formats, as well as custom authentication and query requirements.
We believe that a GraphQL-based approach to unifying APIs into a central graph will make it easier for developers to assemble services to build rich web applications without reimplementing the same infrastructure elements for each service they need included in their products.
InfoQ: What are the key steps developers need to follow to integrate an API into their application using Netlify Graph?
Delimarsky: With Netlify Graph, developers can start using APIs without wasting time writing undifferentiated code, learning each unique structure of the APIs they use, or composing endless amounts of endpoints to get data from multiple interfaces in their web applications.
The key steps developers can take to integrate an API into their application using Netlify Graph are:
Connect the API to the Netlify Graph in one intuitive step, via the Netlify site dashboard. When you connect an API, it is automatically enabled in your site graph and is immediately available for integration into your web application.
Before Netlify Graph, the authentication process with a single API was long and fraught with pitfalls and potential security issues. For example, to authenticate with a new API, a developer typically needs to read the documentation to learn more about their authentication flow, find and import an SDK (which is not standardized, may not exist, or is maintained by unofficial sources), figure Learn how to authenticate with the SDK, generate a secure token for the API, store the token securely, test to make sure it’s working properly, and finally start trying to get some data from it.
Use the built-in Graph Explorer to explore all your APIs in one place, build queries, combine service data models, and generate serverless function code that lets you call GraphQL queries without rewriting code. start from nothing.
Before Netlify Graph, it was an arduous process to get data from an API you were authenticated with in your app. Often the data you need from a single API is in multiple places. Because not all documentation is equally good, finding where the data is requires a lot of searching around existing samples, as well as writing code to test what comes back. A developer had to repeat this process on all the APIs used in their application, because there was no unifying layer that would allow them to simplify stream management while providing enough flexibility to control the data returned.
InfoQ: How does Netlify Graph integrate with the rest of the Netlify platform?
Delimarsky: Our mission is to unite the tools, APIs, and platform of Jamstack into a simple, consistent, and productive developer workflow that empowers teams to quickly and easily build best-in-class web applications. Netlify Graph is an essential component of the Netlify workflow that fits this mission perfectly: it helps make developers more productive by making it easy to integrate APIs to build best-in-class web applications. It’s integrated where developers already use Netlify functionality – in the web interface, our command-line tools (CLI), and in widely distributed Netlify packages.
InfoQ: What requirements do interested partners need to meet to have their APIs integrated with Netlify?
Delimarsky: We look forward to adding more integrations. Although Netlify Graph is still in beta, we recommend completing the partner interest form. From there, we follow the details and verify the technical requirements. If users have any requests, they can also contact us on the Netlify support forums.
Netlify Graph is currently available in public beta for all Netlify users.