Brian Douglas in This Developing Journey

Getting GraphQL in your API

I gave a talk on this subject at GraphQL Summit

GraphQL is a query based language for APIs. GraphQL provides a better way to request data from your existing API that can potentially speed up the development experience.

A common misconception of GraphQL is that it needs to replace your current REST API, and this is not the case. I was able to add GraphQL to Netlify’s current API with a low amount an effort.

Netlify has a public REST API that I am leveraging for a side project, a mobile app to manage the deployment of my personal projects. From my initial investigation I found it to be a great fit for leveraging GraphQL. Netlify is not only a big proponent of the JAMstack, we are also consumers. This architecture made it easy to a GraphQL layer in between my client-side application and the existing API.


I initially tried a number of tools to add GraphQL to the Netlify API, but most took a lot of work and required me to take away bandwidth from the API team. In an effort to not take up too much time on this internal side project, I looked into wrapping the REST API in GraphQL.

The Meteor Development Group have been working on an universal GraphQL API called the, Apollo project. Out of that project came a new project, called LaunchPad, and it was my saving grace in getting GraphQL working in a few hours. LaunchPad is like the CodePen for schemas and was the easiest way for me to get started with GraphQL. After some initial research I had a working endpoint in a few hours, which is live at


By wrapping the API layer in the LaunchPAd GraphQL interface, I was able to not only get GraphQL into my project, but I was also able to sell GraphQL as a viable option for the rest of the team. As of last September, we got the green light for a public GraphQL API.

If you have are looking to wrap integrate GraphQL into an existing API, consider wrapping your existing API in a GraphQL layer.