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In this article, we deep dive into headless cms. Before understanding headless cms let's looks at few terminologies
What is CMS?
CMS is a software application that allows multiple users to create, manage, and modify web content without having to understand how it works in real-time. CMS data is permanently stored in the database, and only the data that is required is displayed on the web browser/app.
CMS is an essential component of website development.
Traditional CMS is an old-style coupled cms architecture. Here, the editor, and the writer create and edits their content and these are stored on the database at the backend, and this content is displayed on your websites.
Traditional CMS is following monolithic architecture as here Frontend(layout and design) and Backend(database and code, plugins) are as tightly connected as they are bundled together.
Various blogging platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Squarespace, and Wix are using these approaches.
1 Easy management of all content.
2 Large communities support
3 Easy for developers to work with and in many cases no dependency on the developer for creating it.
4 Large no. of Templates are available and easier and cheaper to set up and use it.
1 Do not scale well.
2 Focused only on creating content for the website as content cannot be used on other devices like a mobile app.
3 Front and back are tightly coupled so required a CMS-specific developer for creating the Frontend. For example, if developed websites in PHP as the backend language then the frontend also uses PHP code so they are tightly coupled
4 Limited Flexibility
5 Content is sent as fully pledged HTML instead of JSON data.
6 Generally, Refresh Whole sites to navigate to the next page or get any other content.
7 Has Complicated Designed and making changes on certain parts required modifying whole products as front and back are tightly coupled.
8 Slow performance and more server power usages: For rendering contents, it will generate whole HTML content(Html tags with data) at the backend and send it to the front. In this process, lots of processing power may consume the server. For better performance, requires larger servers for peak performance.
9 Backend is bounded tightly with only one Frontend.
10 Fewer opportunities to add creativity.
11 Difficult to provide data to other platforms like Mobile and IoT things.
Many companies nowadays are requesting headless CMS.So what the heck is headless cms.
Headless cms are also called backend only cms. It is an API-first CMSes.Here, content is accessible via Restful API(JSON/XML) and displayed on various screen types.
Generally, in website sites or applications, the head of the sites is what we see ie. the frontend of websites so, the headless term used to just denote the frontend is separate from the backend and exists independently. So, the main objective of headless CMS is to store and deliver structured content and doesn't matter how and where the contents are presented and displayed.
We will not focus on presentation layers, templates, site structure, or design when developing a headless CMS. We only focus on using CMS APIs and designing on that basis when using headless CMS. As a result, we can use any front-end programming language to create the website's front end.
The majority of today's available CMS is SaaS-based, which means that editors must log in to the backend system and write the content, and that content is accessible via API, which is hosted in the cloud-based backend. Then In headless cms, you can push/pull the content to any platform(mobile, web, IoT devices, AR/VR) using let's say API.
If you are using an old traditional CMS, making changes is difficult and time-consuming because you must reimplement the entire CMS. If you want to change the frontend of a headless CMS, you should not have to touch the backend infrastructures, saving both time and resources and making life easier.
Frontity is a popular headless WordPress Theme with React, which you can give a try.
If your question is should I use headless CMS? then if you want or have the following requirements then use it.
|Headless CMS||Traditional CMS|
|Platform Independent||Platform Dependence|
|Cross-Platform||Focus mostly on Native|
|Code Simplicity||Comparatively not much code simplicity|
|SaaS or hosted||Self Hosted|
|Easy to scale for high traffic||Not that much scale able|
|Less amount of data flows from the frontend to the backend because of the use of API||Transfer HTML to frontend so large content is sent to the front.|
|Have to build front on ourself||Has themes and templates, we can build ourselves as well.|
|Page oriented approach||Not Page oriented approach|
|Easy to reuse content on other sites||Difficult to reuse content on other sites.|
|Supported devices are limitless and can even use by IoT devices||Supported Devices are limited|
|Follows Agile workflow||Follows Waterfall workflow|
|Comparatively more Secure||Comparatively less secure|
|Less vulnerable to DDOS attack||More vulnerable to DDOS attack|
|They are generally provided to the client on the basis of pay-as-you-go||They are generally provided to the client on the basis of Licenses and Ongoing Maintenance|
|Headless CMS is reactive in the sense that it manages the content and simply sits and waits to see how the user wants that content. Let us say in the form of API, HTML, XML, and so on.So, Headless content can be repurposed and presented through multiple different mediums.||Traditional content management systems (CMS) are proactive in that they prepare content for presentation and push it into the delivery environment. As a result, the emphasis here is primarily on presentation.|
Ans: Yes, headless CMS will sure be the future of CMS.As we know that content is king and valuable content is need everywhere in every type of device varying from the web, mobile, tablets, and IoT devices. Currently, most of the CMS are traditionally based which mostly generates web-based content and cannot provide the content to emerging IOT devices so people who know the value of IoT in the future are demanding headless CMS. Headless CMS is API-based CMS and API provides data in JSON /XML format which can be used by nearly all types of devices.
Ans: Headless CMS is also called CMS API because in Headless CMS content is provided through API and you can use API and create your own presentation layer for displaying the content.
Ans: No, headless CMS and decoupled CMS have a few different properties.
There is various plugins available like the Headless CMS plugin by Imran Sayed.
Learn WordPress React Headless CMS click here.
Ans: Yes, Ghost is Nodejs based on open-sourced headless CMS
Ans: From this blog post we already know that data can be generated from any device in headless CMS via APIs. Suppose you have generated the content from a mobile platform then headless cms can provide the same content in websites and other IoT devices, smartphones, etc. So, headless CMS provides omnichannel experiences. So, marketers can do marketing via a large variety of channels so that they can target large groups of audiences. Thanks to Headless CMS.
Ans: CaaS stands for Content As A Service. Here, content is used as a service and its services can be targeted to a large group of digital devices.