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Difference Between scripted GraphQL and REST API?

Both scripted GraphQL and REST APIs provide ways to integrate ServiceNow with other systems. Both have there use cases, and in some cases, GraphQL proves more efficient than REST. So, I thought to find out the differences between both and share them with the ServiceNow community.

Below is a table that outlines some of the key differences between Scripted GraphQL and the REST API.

FeatureScripted GraphQLREST API
Query LanguageUses GraphQL query languageUses HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE)
FlexibilityHighly flexible, allows you to request multiple resources in one queryLess flexible, usually requires multiple endpoints for different resources
Over-fetching/Under-fetchingCan be avoided as client can specify needed dataCan lead to over-fetching or under-fetching data
Data AggregationCan query and aggregate data from multiple sources in a single requestTypically, it requires multiple requests to aggregate data from different sources
VersioningTypically, it doesn’t need versioning, as schema changes can be additiveOften requires versioning to handle changes to the API
Ease of ExplorationEasier to explore using tools like GraphiQLMay require external documentation, though tools like Swagger can help
Error HandlingProvides granular error information tied to the part of the query that failedUsually returns a status code, which may require additional interpretation
Typed SchemaRequires a typed schema that defines operations and data structuresSchema is optional; varies with implementation
NestingSupports deeply nested queries to retrieve complex data structuresMay require multiple requests to retrieve nested or related resources
HTTP MethodsTypically, POST is used for queries and mutationsUses multiple HTTP methods (GET for read, POST for create, PUT for update, and DELETE for remove)
StandardizationBuilt on a more standardized specification (GraphQL specification),Standardization varies, but HTTP methods and status codes are standardized
BatchingNative support for batching multiple queries into a single requestMay require additional effort to batch multiple requests
Real-time UpdatesCan be coupled with subscriptions for real-time updatesTypically, it requires additional technologies like WebSockets

Both approaches have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice may depend on the specific requirements of your project.

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