1991-2016—25 years of Art & Logic

GraphQL Requests – Behind the Scenes with the Apollo iOS Client

GraphQL Requests – Behind the Scenes with the Apollo iOS Client

In my last post I took a look at using the Apollo iOS GraphQL client framework to access a GraphQL backend running on the Graphcool GraphQL mBaaS. Shortly afterwards Brandur Leach, an API engineer at Stripe posted “Is GraphQL the Next Frontier for Web APIs?“. In his post Brandur gives a good overview of the current API development space, compares GraphQL to other technologies, and ultimately puts his support behind GraphQL. The follow-on discussion on Hacker News is a bit mixed, with some comments in support of GraphQL along with a few dismissing it. Some advocate support for both REST-like and GraphQL APIs, given that with a sensibly designed backend, support for both is possible with too much additional work. Stripe has a popular REST API that is used by a lot of developers, given Brandur’s opinions, it will be interesting to see if they take this hybrid approach and start offering a GraphQL interface as well.

Regardless of whether GraphQL will gain more traction compared to other approaches or not, I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the client side of things and get a better understanding of how the Apollo iOS framework and apollo-codegen tool work. (more…)

Exploring GraphQL on iOS

Exploring GraphQL on iOS

While researching mobile backend as a service (mBaaS) offerings for a client project, I came across Graphcool which provides a GraphQL backend for mobile or web apps. I hadn’t worked with GraphQL before, but it looked interesting and wanted to see if we could put it to use in the mobile or web apps we build. To get a better feel for the tech and tools involved, I decided to update the ALAirports sample project that I’ve used in a few blog posts to use Graphcool as a backend for the airport data. (more…)

Go Fetch! (JavaScript Fetch API)

Go Fetch! (JavaScript Fetch API)

Long ago, we briefly brushed upon the topic of what has made jQuery such a valuable part of the web developer’s toolset for such a long time – namely, a cleaner interface for interacting with the DOM, and the $.ajax abstraction over XMLHttpRequest.

These days, I would go a step farther and discuss how it has positively influenced browser APIs. jQuery offered a way to find elements using their css selectors, and this eventually gave us document.querySelector and document.querySelectorAll. More recently, browser developers have taken another page from jQuery’s playbook and introduced a new, Promise-based API for making asynchronous requests, and so much more – Fetch.

Why go Fetch? Let’s take a look.

(more…)

2014 Review: Day 8

Taking an opportunity to look back at some of our most-read posts from this year, in case you missed them the first time, as the last few days of the year slip by us…

William Allen White

William Allen White

 

My turn! Earlier this year I wrote about a little Twitterbot that I wrote to periodically tweet out snippets of lyrics from songs by the band They Might Be Giants…

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Making An Inherited API Pythonic

Making redis pythonic

Making redis pythonic.

As python programmers we are sometimes faced with using an API that is, well, unpythonic.

Unpythonic? Pythonic? Huh? Have you ever tried running this:

    python -m this

Maybe you’re using a C library via ctypes, or you have inherited a collection of functions. Regardless, you find yourself wishing you can use the API in a more idiomatic manner.

This happened to me recently when I started working with redis-py, the defacto standard python interface to redis.

Sidebar: this post is not really about redis, but if you don’t know about it or haven’t given serious thought to using it as a datastore, run right over to http://redis.io/ and read up on this amazing in-memory, key-value store. If you’re familiar with memcached, then you’ll have a general idea of redis, but redis goes well beyond simple key-value pair storage. It also has functionality for storing lists, sets, sorted sets and hashes. Redis is often described as an in-memory data structure server.

In using redis-py, you acquire an instance to a monolithic object that manages a connection pool as well as the underlying redis protocol, offering a method for every redis command. While being feature complete, the object is a bit unwieldy, imho. Typical usage might look like this:

        >>> import redis
        >>>
        >>> conn = redis.StrictRedis()
        >>> conn.set('foo', 'bar')
        >>> print conn.get('foo')
        bar
        >>> for c in 'this is a test':
        ...    conn.sadd('myset', c)
        >>> print conn.smembers('myset')
        set(['a', ' ', 'e', 'i', 'h', 's', 't'])

Every command for every data structure is attached to an instance of StrictRedis. If you look at the redis command set you will see there are some commands that apply to all data structures, while others apply to one data structure or another. For example, commands like exists, expire, and ttl can be used against any key in the datastore, while commands get, set, and incr, can only be applied to strings, and hget, hkeys, and hset can only be applied to hashes.

A picture begins to form for the potential for an abstract base class, Key, with concrete subclasses String, List, Set, SortedSet, and Hash.

We will explore how to create a more pythonic interface for redis, building off the powerful redis-py implementation, using minimal code by using advanced python attribute access and delegation.

(more…)

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