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Falcor is now open source


In parallel, Facebook and Netflix have been working on two similar solutions for the common problem of dealing with complex data structures. Facebook has been building their solution, GraphQL Relay and Netflix has been building Falcor. Today, Netflix has just announced they’ve opened a developer preview of the data fetching JavaScript library, Falcor.

What is Falcor?

Falcor creates a way for you to represent all of your cloud data sources as One Virtual JSON Model on the server. In once sentence, the head architect of Falcor, Jafar Husain puts it, “one model everywhere”. On the client, you write your code as if the entire JSON model is available locally and allows you to access data the same way you would from an in-memory JSON object. Falcor retrieves any data you request from the cloud on-demand, handling network communication transparently and keeping the client and server in sync. Falcor is ideal for mobile apps because it combines the caching benefits of REST with the low latency of RPC.

What problem does Falcor solve?

Building an application fetching data can be a tricky problem, especially as your applications become larger with more complex data structures. Typically most web applications will leverage a RESTful architecture to retrieve the data from the server. This is a widely adopted method for handling data, but when it comes to large data sets it can become difficult when dealing with a lot of requests to the server. Leveraging Falcor in your application will help optimize the communication between the client and the server. Falcor loosely couples the controller and the view, allows your application’s view to bind to data in the cloud as if it were sitting in the client’s memory. This impressive protocol is designed to make cloud data seem to magically appear on your local device. The biggest selling point of Falcor is that it’s blurring the line between cloud and local.

How to start using Falcor?

Now that Falcor is open source, Netflix has provided a lot of great documentation, guides and videos on how to use Falcor. A lot of these resources are available on the Falcor website or Netflix’s OSS Github.

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Ryan Burgess

Ryan Burgess is a Manager, UI Engineering at Netflix in San Francisco, California. Previously at Evernote. Listen to Ryan on the Front End Happy Hour podcast. He's also the creator of, an online-based arts and culture magazine that focuses on graffiti and tattoo art.

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