Relay Modern with Lee Byron and Joe Savona


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Relay is a JavaScript framework for building data-driven React applications. Facebook open sourced Relay around the same time they open sourced GraphQL, and Facebook expected Relay to be the more popular of the two projects.

However, the reality was reversed. Open source companies like Meteor quickly began to build GraphQL tools and a few businesses were started around GraphQL. One year later, the excitement for GraphQL had completely surpassed the excitement for Relay which had aged poorly in a newborn ecosystem of GraphQL tooling.

At the same time, Facebook was also starting to integrate Relay into their React Native apps. But Relay was performing poorly on low-end Android devices. This led the Relay team to the conclusion that they needed to rewrite Relay. Both to better fit into the growing GraphQL ecosystem, and to be built with performance in low-end React Native environments at the top of mind.

Relay Modern is the new version of Relay. It was released to the open source community at this year’s F8. In this episode Caleb Meredith is joined by Lee Byron, the co-creator of GraphQL, and Joe Savona, a founding member of the Relay team, to discuss Relay Modern. The discussion includes a conversation about the commercial GraphQL ecosystem, the story of why Facebook decided Relay needed to be rewritten, and a look at the future of UI development from some trends seen in Relay Modern.

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