Building GraphQL APIs in Python Using Graphene with Syrus Akbary


December 31st, 2018

52 mins 48 secs

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About this Episode


The web has spawned numerous methods for communicating between applications, including protocols such as SOAP, XML-RPC, and REST. One of the newest entrants is GraphQL which promises a simplified approach to client development and reduced network requests. To make implementing these APIs in Python easier, Syrus Akbary created the Graphene project. In this episode he explains the origin story of Graphene, how GraphQL compares to REST, how you can start using it in your applications, and how he is working to make his efforts sustainable.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Syrus Akbary about Graphene, a python library for building your APIs with GraphQL


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • What is GraphQL and what is the benefit vs a REST-based API?
    • How does it compare to specifications such as OpenAPI (formerly Swagger) or RAML?

  • Can you explain what Graphene is and your motivation for building it?

    • In addition to the Python implementation there is also a JavaScript library. Is that primarily for use as a client or can it also be used in Node for serving APIs?

  • What is involved in building a GraphQL API?

    • What does Graphene do to simplify this process?

  • How is Graphene implemented and how has that evolved since you first started working on it?

    • Is there a set of tests for verifying the compliance of Graphene or a specific API with the GraphQL specification?

  • What are some of the most complex or confusing aspects of building a GraphQL API?

  • What are some of the unique capabilities that are offered by building an application with GraphQL as the communication interface?

  • While reading through documentation in preparation for our conversation I noticed the Quiver project. Can you explain what that is and how it fits with the other Graphene projects?

    • What is it doing under the hood to optimize serving of the API?

  • For someone who is interested in adding a GraphQL interface to an existing application, what would be involved?

  • The documentation mentions creation of a schema, as well as defining queries. Is it possible for a client to craft queries that don’t match directly with those defined in the server layer?

  • What are some of the most interesting or surprising uses of Graphene and GraphQL that you have seeen?

  • What are some cases where it would be more practical to implement an API using REST instead of GraphQL?

  • What are some references that you would recommend for anyone who wants to learn more about GraphQL and its ecosystem?

  • What are your plans for the future of Graphene?

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA