March 17, 2022

Alternatives to Relay, the GraphQL Stack, and Adulthood with Charles Lowell and Taras Mankovski

Just because something is widely used doesn’t always mean it’s your best solution. Frontside Founder Charles Lowell and CEO Taras Mankovski, stumbled into an alt GraphQL stack simply because the nature of a product didn’t mesh with Apollo. After happening upon two up-and-coming technologies, GraphQL modules and Envelope, a solution was born, as was a newfound flexibility with GraphQL stacks.

In this episode, Charles and Taras talk with Chuck and Robbie about their accidental developer discovery, the drawbacks of UI libraries, what a Relay alternative looks like, what in the world Pact is, and why adulthood is vastly overrated. 

Key Takeaways

  • [00:48] - An introduction to the Frontside guys.
  • [02:29] - A whiskey review.
  • [08:46] - How Charles and Taras discovered a less-than-ordinary GraphQL stack.
  • [18:39] - Why JSON:API doesn’t always make sense.
  • [23:11] - Taras’ criteria for a valuable alternative to Relay. 
  • [25:04] - What is Pact? 
  • [28:30] - An NFT chat, and why adulthood is vastly overrated. 
  • [41:45] - Charles’ and Taras’ hobbies outside of the web and the best way to bond with your baby. 
  • [54:38] - A few last-minute mentions. 


[21:04] - “Relay is complex, it’s difficult, and it’s not as magical as other things that I’ve used. So I actually don’t think that the primary benefit is to the clients that consume it, ironically. I think the benefit is to the developers that are trying to understand.” ~ Charles Lowell

[56:20] - “The combination of testing and simulation and the developer experience stuff, and the emergence of developer experience as an area of focus is exciting and interesting in the same way that web and Ember was when it started. Just that sense of, we’re discovering something new and there are people who are actively trying to solve a problem.” ~ Taras Mankovski 


Connect with our hosts

Subscribe and stay in touch

Top-Tier, Full-Stack Software Consultants

This show is brought to you by Ship Shape. Ship Shape’s software consultants solve complex software and app development problems with top-tier coding expertise, superior service, and speed. In a sea of choices, our senior-level development crew rises above the rest by delivering the best solutions for fintech, cybersecurity, and other fast-growing industries. Check us out at