REST, gRPC and GraphQL - Part 3 - Comparison

I am speaking at Build Stuff 2023 next week and my session is "REST, gRPC & GraphQL - A Comparison". This article is a supporting resource for my session.

REST, gRPC and GraphQL - Part 3 - Comparison

This is the last article in the series - REST, gRPC and GraphQL. You can read the other parts here

The three API paradigms can be compared on many points. I have listed my findings into points below.


REST - Resources

gRPC - Functions

GraphQL - GraphQL Query

REST - Usually XML/JSON 

gRPC - Protobuf (binary), can be JSON

GraphQL - JSON

REST - Low (if HATEOAS is implemented by the server and used by the client)

gRPC - Medium

GraphQL - Very low

REST - High

gRPC - Medium

GraphQL - Low

REST - Good with HATEOAS

gRPC - Bad

GraphQL - Good

REST - Can be needed

gRPC - Can be needed

GraphQL - Not necessary

REST - Stateless

gRPC - Stateful (Streaming over HTTP/2 can be considered stateful)

GraphQL - Subscriptions are stateful, not queries or mutation

REST - High

gRPC - Medium

GraphQL - Light/Can depend on the query

REST - Yes

gRPC - Bad, unsuitable for browser-based apps as native gRPC

GraphQL - Yes


gRPC - Yes

GraphQL - Yes

REST - Mature

gRPC - Evolving

GraphQL - Evolving. Many developers start as consumers of GraphQL than implementing a GraphQL API

REST - Medium

gRPC - Medium

GraphQL - Steep

REST - Huge amount of resources available

gRPC - Fewer compared to REST

GraphQL - Fewer compared to REST

REST : Myths & Facts

01 December 2023

This article discusses some of the misconceptions about REST, and what is not REST and presents you with the facts.