Apollo launches Supergraph to collect business knowledge

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Is there a way for companies to bring order to the fast-growing world of microservices, APIs and databases? Today, Apollo addresses that problem by launching Supergraph, a software layer designed to unify all disparate data feeds and create a single source for front-end developers.

Supergraph is designed to provide an all-in-one source for data and data processing. It is a curable collection of tools that can work together to generate reports, dashboards, and common answers. Building on the increasingly popular GraphQL protocol, the constellation of tools opens up access to a large-scale enterprise while ensuring security and privacy.

“We call it the Supergraph because it is a graph of graphs.” stated Geoff Schmidt, the CEO and co-founder of Apollo. “We don’t see it as a point solution to connect the front and back end, but as a composition layer. It is a new layer in the pile that is in your company.”

Keeping companies up to date

The new platform builds on Federation 2, a GraphQL-based system launched in April. The system collects data across the various data sources with a simpler syntax designed to save developers and average users from the complexities of data types, directives, and keywords.

“It allows companies to keep up with the speed of change,” says Schmidt. “When something like COVID-19 happens, you need to be able to quickly reconfigure your business to keep up with new opportunities, changing markets and changing needs. †

Schmidt estimates that some of their best customers have tested the product and changed the structure of the Supergraph as many as 30 times a day. New APIs and data sources are added and subtracted quickly as developers add new features and incorporate new data streams.

Essentially, Apollo wants to bring some of the flexibility of agile development to the APIs themselves. It wants to design them so that they are flexible enough to change regularly and keep running. Developers can fold in new features without compromising the active code.

“The ways that don’t work are if you bring in an academic ontologist, or you bring in a management consultant and say, ‘Hey, I want you to interview everyone in my company and build a UML model of everything within my company in some way. modeling tool,” said Schmidt. “That’s obsolete once you’re done. That waterfall approach doesn’t work.”

Increasing Developer Challenges

It is a growing challenge for developers to understand the increasing complexity of microservices and APIs. Tools like Swagger from Smartbear Software and Kong are just two examples of popular API management tools that both document and add structure to the various microservices that are becoming more common.

Many clouds also offer API gateways that can provide much of the same functionality with additional help in regulating access and providing security. AWSs API gateway, IBM’s API Connect and Google’s API Gateway are just some of the options to regulate the flow of data in and out of the underlying microservices.

These API gateways speak different protocols. Apollo wants to respond to the growing interest in GraphQL and the ability to provide a concise and easy-to-understand query language that is still powerful enough to specify a very diverse set of data. A number of databases such as FaunaMongoDB or Yugabyte already support GraphQL directly. Others like PostGraphPrism and HyperGraphQL create GraphQL interpreters that work with traditional databases.

“Many companies are drowning in a sea of ​​complexity and want to streamline a modern technology stack,” said Mike Leone, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “The Apollo Supergraph does just that in a new way. The platform empowers teams to quickly integrate modular data, services, and business logic into a unified, relevant, and timely customer experience. With the Supergraph, Apollo has also anticipated and addressed issues related to federation, security, validation and scalability as organizations’ graphs grow over time.”

Apollo’s super graph

Apollo wants to build a more advanced layer that can act as a meta API layer that integrates the results of any number of services and databases that live behind it. This simplifies life for the front-end developers who have one-stop access to all data. As the information evolves, they will still use the same Supergraph, but add new parameters to ask for the options.

One of the challenges is adding management layers to control access. Apollo believes that their tools provide a declarative model so developers and stakeholders can set clear rules governing access to certain sections of the chart.

“The advantage of this declarative architecture is that you see every query going through the system and you can apply a consistent set of rules and a completely consistent set of monitoring or analytics to it.” explained Schmidt. “That way you know exactly which piece of data comes from where and where it comes from and who authorized it and why you can draft those rules in a future-oriented way.”

The Supergraph bundles several Apollo products such as Rust Router and Studio. Several new features and improvements are also being rolled out to them today. Rust Router, a GraphQL query processor, is now open source and available for download. Apollo expects it to deliver substantial improvements over previous options.

Studio, the development environment for building GraphQL queries, can now provide more build bug checks by comparing queries to schemas. The base version now gets more advanced features that provided feedback on schema control that were once only available to enterprise customers.

Apollo plans to roll out many of the standards and some of the background software as open source. However, the Studio will be available with a free tier and a paid tier that will support businesses in building comprehensive Supergraphs.

“We build a full declarative query scheduler and then really map out what all the change management and metadata the developer needs,” Schmidt concludes. “The great thing is that this is now being widely proven.”

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