How Facebook Made a Universal Open Source Language for the Web


A more flexible alternative called Graph Query Language, developed by Facebook, is spreading fast and has won over companies ranging from GitHub to Audi.

GraphQL is heavily inspired by another language called Facebook Query Language, which in turn was based on Structured Query Language, the well-established lingua franca of database software supported by Oracle, Microsoft, and other database makers. That makes the structure and syntax of GraphQL familiar to many developers.

GraphQL saw explosive growth among JavaScript developers over the past two years, according to data compiled by NPM, which offers tools for managing JavaScript code. The annual State of JavaScript survey conducted by a separate group of developers, which polled 20,000 JavaScript developers about the tools they use, found more than 20 percent already use GraphQL and another 62.5 percent want to learn it, up from 5 percent who had used it in 2016.

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