Using DevEx to Accelerate GraphQL Federation Adoption at Netflix

In this talk, we describe how we enabled a large organization’s fragmented API offerings to unify under a fully federated GraphQL architecture by focusing early on a great developer experience.

Not only does this help reduce the learning curve associated with federated GraphQL, it also provides teams with the required incentive to prioritize migrations. We were thus able to transition from a monolithic GraphQL API architecture to having over 20 teams opt into a federated model that distributed the ownership of the graph and the operations.

Apart from easing the onboarding process, our goal was to minimize the operational burden for each team maintaining their own GraphQL service. We achieved this by improving the ergonomics of developing a federated GraphQL service, in addition to providing out-of-the-box integration with the Netflix ecosystem. Features like security, logging, metrics and tracing are available for operational insights. A paved path for adoption thus ensures consistency across various teams, and improves our ability as a platform provider to support and debug across service boundaries at scale.

While we use some open source components, we’ve also built our own framework and tools in-house. Building custom solutions has the risk of re-inventing the wheel. We will discuss how we made certain Build vs Buy (open source) trade-offs and share our learnings. We will also talk about the socio-technical aspects of working with many teams on a single shared schema.


Paul Bakker

Senior Software Engineer @Netflix, Author of "Modular Cloud Apps with OSGi"

Paul is a senior software engineer at Netflix, with a focus on developer experience. He has a long history in the Java community, is a Java Champion and author of “Java 9 Modularity” and “Modular Cloud Apps with OSGi”, both published by O’Reilly. He has a passion for sharing knowledge and is a frequent conference speaker.

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Kavitha Srinivasan

Senior Software Engineer @Netflix

Kavitha Srinivasan is a senior software engineer at Netflix. With more than 15 years of experience in distributed systems, she is currently working on developer experience to facilitate the growing adoption of GraphQL.

Find Kavitha Srinivasan at:

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