Head-to-Head: Apollo Client vs Relay Analysis

@apollo/client

v3.9.11(5 days ago)

This package is actively maintained.Types definitions are bundled with the npm packageNumber of direct dependencies: 14Monthly npm downloads

@apollo/client is a comprehensive state management library for JavaScript applications, particularly those using GraphQL. It provides a powerful and flexible API for managing application state and caching GraphQL data. With features like automatic caching, optimistic UI updates, and server-side rendering support, @apollo/client simplifies the integration of GraphQL into your frontend applications.

Alternatives:
urql+
react-query+
relay+
vue-apollo+
swr+
react-relay+
apollo-angular+
graphql-hooks+
apollo-link-rest+
graphql-request+

Tags: javascriptstate-managementgraphqlcachingfrontend

relay-runtime

v16.2.0(3 months ago)

This package is actively maintained.Types definitions are provided via a separate npm package: @types/relay-runtimeNumber of direct dependencies: 3Monthly npm downloads

Relay Runtime is a JavaScript framework for building data-driven React applications. It provides a declarative and efficient way to fetch and manage data for your components, optimizing performance by batching and caching network requests. Relay Runtime is designed to work seamlessly with GraphQL, allowing you to define data requirements at the component level and automatically handle data fetching and updates.

Alternatives:
apollo-client+
urql+
react-query+
swr+
react-relay+
graphql-hooks+
apollo-link-state+
react-apollo+
graphql-request+
apollo-cache-inmemory+

Tags: javascriptframeworkreactgraphqldata-fetching

Fight!

Popularity

@apollo/client and relay-runtime are both popular choices for handling GraphQL in JavaScript applications. @apollo/client is widely used and has a larger community following due to its association with the Apollo GraphQL ecosystem. relay-runtime is maintained by Facebook and also has a considerable user base.

Integration

@apollo/client is a versatile GraphQL client that works well with various JavaScript frameworks, including React, Angular, and Vue. It offers comprehensive integration options and even has dedicated libraries for specific frameworks. relay-runtime, on the other hand, is primarily designed to work with React and integrates tightly with the React ecosystem.

Developer Experience

@apollo/client provides a developer-friendly API with an intuitive syntax and powerful tooling. It offers features like caching, optimistic UI, and real-time updates out of the box. relay-runtime also has a pleasant developer experience, especially if you are already working with React, as it leverages React's component-based architecture and provides advanced features like automatic batching and pagination.

Learning Curve

Both packages have their own learning curves. @apollo/client has a more extensive API surface area and additional concepts like caching and local state management, which can be a bit overwhelming for beginners. relay-runtime, on the other hand, has a simpler API focused mainly on basic GraphQL operations, but it requires understanding the Relay-specific concepts and patterns.

Performance

In terms of performance, both packages are efficient and provide mechanisms for data-fetching optimizations. However, relay-runtime offers more advanced optimizations like automatic data batching and colocation of queries and components. If performance is a critical factor for your application, relay-runtime may provide better performance out of the box.

Flexibility

@apollo/client is known for its flexibility and can be used with various GraphQL server implementations. It also supports different GraphQL features like subscriptions and file uploads. relay-runtime, on the other hand, is tightly coupled with the Relay client and server frameworks, offering a more opinionated approach to GraphQL development but providing benefits like automatic schema-driven bundling.