JSDay2019: Get To Know Your Speaker – Roy Derks

14:00 From REST to GraphQL: Wrapping Existing APIs in a Single Endpoint (Roy Derks) 

Roy Derks is a serial startup CTO and conference speaker from Amsterdam. He also teaches React and GraphQL at reactgraphql.academy, and works on open-source JavaScript projects for the City of Amsterdam.

How did you first become interested in developing? 

As a teenager, I wanted to have more pocket money, but instead of looking for a job I decided to start my own company. I always liked watching movies and as there weren’t any streaming services available yet (around 2009), so starting a company based on trading DVDs sounded like a good fit. As I couldn’t afford to hire someone to build a website for me, I taught myself how to program by following online tutorials.

What drew you to JS? 

My first website was created with PHP and also use jQuery, and maybe some vanilla JavaScript as well. These languages already felt very familiar to me and with the rise of frontend frameworks, my interest in the JavaScript grew. When I found out I could do both backends and frontends with JS I immediately ditched PHP.

Why is GraphQL so awesome? 

GraphQL is so awesome as it gives you more flexibility than REST APIs as you can determine what your response will look like, by just sending a different query. Especially for frontend developers, this adds a ton to the developer experience, as you no longer have to parse long extensive JSON objects. Also, there is an enormous ecosystem of packages and tooling available to help you get started.

Why are developers finding it difficult to get started with GraphQL?

As mentioned before the GraphQL ecosystem allows you to get started real quick, so the difficulty level shouldn’t be that high. Other than with REST APIs developers now have control over which data is returned and how it’s formatted. As most developers are used to REST APIs this will require a change in mind about dealing with data that’s retrieved from APIs.

What is your top-tip for excelling in tech? 

Keep learning! There are new technologies erupting every day and it’s important to keep yourself up-to-date.

What is one of the hardest technical challenges you’ve ever encountered and how did you overcome it?  

Probably the hardest technical challenge I ever came across was migrating over 50,000 users and their actions from the prototype of one of the startups I’ve founded. My team and I created a completely new API and web application that were to replace an MVC-system. After working on the new project for over six months, the hardest part was migrating all the data over the course of just one night.

JSDayIE 2019 Roy Derks Speaker.

What can people expect from your talk at JSDayIE 2019? 

People can expect to learn more about GraphQL and how it can already improve their developer experience, without having to make changes to their existing API(s). Something not that many people know is that GraphQL isn’t just a replacement of the REST protocol, but it can also be used next to existing REST services.

What are you most looking forward to as JSDayIE 2019?

The venue and speaker line-up both look amazing, so that’s definitely something I’m looking forward to! Next to that, I’m curious to meet the JavaScript community in Dublin and Ireland, as I’ve never been there before.

What’s next for you? 

September and October are pretty packed with meetups and conferences I’ll be speaking at, like All Things Open in the United States. Also, my book about web development with React, React Native and GraphQL will be released this fall. Next to “regular” work events, I’ll also be participating in a running an event in Amsterdam, where over 30,000 people will run 10 miles for charity.

Where can people find and follow Roy Derks online?

You can find me with the username ‘gethackteam’ on Twitter, Instagram and dev.to

Book your ticket for JSDayIE 2019 in Dublin now! 

Search for live JS jobs here. 


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