What is Headless CMS?

In most traditional CMSs, content management and presentation is so tightly bound that changes in one can impact the other. However, this structure limits the scope of both and burdens the developers to split their time toward both. Here’s when Headless CMS comes in handy.

Headless CMS is a CMS without the “head”, i.e., the presentation layer. It provides all the backend tools that are needed to create and publish content via APIs. But it leaves the frontend tasks for the developer, providing a clear separation between content management and presentation.

Because of its headless nature, Headless CMS gives the development team the liberty to use the best-in-breed technology to develop the frontend, and content managers create content without worrying about how it would be displayed.

Traditional vs. Decoupled vs. Headless CMS

When choosing a CMS, it’s important to understand the differences between various architectural approaches used by other CMSs.

Traditional (Coupled) CMS

The Traditional (or coupled) CMS architecture tightly binds together the frontend and the backend. It combines everything related to an application: the application code, the content repository, the user interface for content managers, and the design templates. Due to its tightly bound nature, it is difficult to introduce any change in one component without affecting the other.

This option is particularly favorable, if you intend to design a simple web page, given its simple set up procedure and ease of use.

Decoupled CMS

Decoupled CMS architecture, as the name suggests, decouples the backend and the frontend into two separate systems: one for content management and other for data consumption and presentation.

Once content is created in the backend, this frontend agnostic CMS architecture retrieves content via web services and APIs and delivers them to any frontend on any device or channel. Even though the backend and the frontend function independently of one another, the frontend component has a defined frontend or a specific presentation environment. Thus, making them separate components yet tightly linked to function as one.

Headless CMS

A Headless CMS shares almost all of the benefits provided by the Decoupled CMS. It retrieves and delivers content to any platform or device through its Application Programming Interface (API). Thus it makes the presentation layer more flexible by eliminating the frontend system.

Headless CMS is the best choice if you intend to support multiple channels.

Benefits of Having a Headless CMS

  • You can write applications using any programming language and use any tools and frameworks in the development process. Thus you have complete control over how and where your content appears.
  • APIs make it possible to deliver content to any channel and on any device at a faster rate.
  • It provides high security and high scalability.
  • It’s easy and safe to integrate third-party applications into your application. Thus it’s possible to future-proof your content.

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