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Michael Watson

The Graph - Building a strategic advantage for your business with GraphQL

A Talk by Michael Watson (Apollo Federation Developer Advocate, Apollo GraphQL)

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About this Talk


The practice of designing your GraphQL schema to expose the capabilities of your business

GraphQL has become a standard in today’s modern application development and businesses of all sizes are adopting the technology at a rapid pace. It’s easy to get swept up in the early wins that GraphQL can provide, but the graph itself has so much more potential to transform your business.

Technology is constantly changing and it seems like each month there is a new technology that you’ll have to start adopting. This is on top of all the other integrations needed for your current business. Very quickly your GraphQL API becomes a representation of your product and if you aren’t ready for it, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity ahead.

In this Masterclass, we’re going to cover the strategic capabilities the graph can provide and how to design your schema based on your business. We’ll cover a schema design scenario and work through an exercise of breaking down a graph into a set of GraphQL microservices. Finally, we will discuss all the technical details of GraphQL schemas and operations and build a GraphQL server with our schema design.

Key Topics

  • Your graph as capabilities
    • How should things be used? Hint: This is the key!
    • Thinking in Entities and Capabilities
    • The strategic advantage this provides
  • Schema Design
    • Where do you even start? Designing our first schema based on a use case
    • ASTNode, Document, TypeDefs, what are all these things I’m seeing II need?
    • My schema got too big to handle! Let’s talk Federated GraphQL microservices
  • GraphQL Operations
    • Looking from the lens of a consumer in your graph
    • Structure of a GraphQL operation - Let’s talk Documents
  • Building our first GraphQL server with Apollo Server
    • Exposing the schema we designed in a GraphQL server
    • Making a GraphQL request to get data from our server

Target Audience

  • Web Developers
  • Server/API Developers
  • Architects
  • Product Managers or anyone responsible for a product
  • Engineering Leadership


  • Help frame the mindset of our graph around the capabilities our business provides
  • Get hands-on experience using GraphQL and how to design your schema to maximize the capabilities of your business

Session outline:

  • Thinking about your graph as capabilities
    • Why should I build my graph as a “platform”
    • Defining Entities and Capabilities
    • Strategic advantage examples in the industry
  • Building your graph of capabilities
    • Schema Design and covering important GraphQL types related to the schema
    • Writing GraphQL operations to consume your graph
    • Quick example of building your first GraphQL server




Entry level - Intermediate

Prerequisite Knowledge


You need an access pass to attend this session: Diversity Access Pass or Full Access Pass apply

01 December 2021, 08:15 PM

08:15 PM - 10:15 PM

About The Speakers

Michael Watson

Michael Watson

Apollo Federation Developer Advocate, Apollo GraphQL

Michael is a passionate graph builder that has worked with various large enterprises on their production environment with an emphasis on a federated architecture. He is the creator and maintainer of Apollo Workbench which is a VS Code extension design to help you develop your schema without writing any code.