GraphQL Scaling, Querying & Mutations for Java Backends

Java has history, GraphQL wants knowledge, and React likes Hooks

Joe Alongi
5 min readSep 18, 2022

Java has been a universal programming language for many years, many more years later, its focused runtime is in the cloud. Cloud-native Java requires performant systems, which require quick responses for distributed users.

Databases have expanded, scaled, and become more agile with distributed access, a language to connect and query them needs to meet their performance and user demand.

For every programming decision, there is an equal and opposite weight.

There are many ways to connect to databases through Java — REST, Connectors, JARS, APIs and the dependencies keep growing. The more that is required of any platform to process each process, the less performant and more resources it requires to run.

Building for Performance with Java, Spring Boot, React, JavaScript, GraphQL, and MySQL

  • Connecting MySQL to Spring Boot
  • Persisting data with Hibernate & JPA
  • Accessing Data with GraphQL Data Fetchers
  • Exposing Query Interface through Spring Controller
  • Allowing Access Control with Beans for Endpoints
  • Querying GraphQL Data from MySQL

Performant Manageable Query Systems Across The Stack

GraphQL became my focus for 2022 quickly as I have been working mostly in REST-based CRUD operations for the last half-decade, if not longer. The year is new, so it is brimming with opportunity, the excitement around Facebook’s Relay had me looking into DBMS and DBaaS and how to make data, quicker.

Truth be told I wanted to go with Prisma for replacing Mongoose and trying Supabase instead of Firebase, a lot of my thoughts for Web-based programming fit the Edge-based performance stack, which can be achieved simply with Next.js and JavaScript.

Enterprise technologies mostly run on multi-threaded software with Fullstack resources, though I wanted a schema that was adaptable, I also wanted less management across that stack with connectivity for front end, in-line; GraphQL.

The plan is set, the MVP is made so there is, in fact, a ‘primer’ on GitHub which has been a concept for this architecture with MySQL via GraphQL.

Connecting Spring Boot to MySQL with Hibernate & JPA

Spring Boot may be the most exciting development in Java since I have started coding many, many years ago. What was running JVM in the command line then, is Spring Boot now. Vaadin is a great feature set, surely polished and established as well, though I always air on the side of self-configuration with a strong framework.

Connecting to MySQL is quite simple with the REST controller setup built into Spring, there is a very good example in their documentation for Accessing data with MySQL. Setting up this tutorial in the application reveals some key requirements for Java GraphQL, the need for a data-layer between Spring and GraphQL.

⁠Hibernate makes use of the JPA (Java Persistence API) to create Object Resource Management methods between the Schema from the Model, with the Repository for data persistence, and through the Controller to dispatch actions. These layers allow for typed implementations of data control & updating through Spring Boot.

Once the JPA is connected through Hibernate, which you can read more about on Baeldung, the Java GraphQL server can utilize the persistence API to Execute and Set Responses through the Spring Controller.

Java GraphQL Data Rendering In React With Apollo GraphQL

Spring Boot provides a great backend, typed (type-safe), performant, and extensible. One backend can power many applications with multi-threading and Java performance, web, native, and iOS applications can use the same logic, built with the same language.

React is a performant Framework like Spring, only for JavaScript, which is what the browser mostly runs on. It seems to make sense to meet the technology halfway, and XML-based documents can seem a bit static compared to Reactive JavaScript.

Once the Spring Boot controller is set to provide a GraphQL endpoint, the backend system can be queried with GraphQL from the React application. In this case, the Provider in both of these instances is GraphQL, which makes the queries, mutations, and schemas aligned across the stack.

In place of iteration methods, we can set the resulting GraphQL query data as a JSON object variable and map those key-value pairs over a React component. The Spring Backend to React Frontend involves two GraphQL servers, one schema, and many query types. This is performant and consistent application development that can scale across the globe.

Combining these technologies means an efficient baseline with a reduced complexity around Express, Node, and other required JavaScript backends that would normally act as a frontend RESTful server for querying the backend.

Find out more about this stack, on GitHub and Medium

The primer code mentioned in this article can be found on GitHub, I will be working to finalize this into a continuously developed template that can shape new methods and understandings for myself in GraphQL & Java GraphQL.

Find out more about how to connect Apollo GraphQL for utilizing this backend and other Graph APIs in React on Medium. If you prefer REST I suggest taking a look into Axios, which makes use of Fetch for browser and native runtimes, creating a very simple and well-established call stack. You can read more about it through a feature of mine in an online publication “Axios (HTTP client)”.

Thanks for Reading, Keep Graphing!

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