Is headless CMS the future?Vegard Ottervig on
Is it a buzzword or a real industry disruptor? While headless solves many challenges, it also imposes new ones.
Headless CMS. The ability to produce structured content once and deliver it through APIs to any given channel—be it traditional websites, apps, wearables, IoT, or something hitherto undreamed of. It might sound too good to be true, and sometimes it is, but in certain cases headless really is the promised unicorn.
How to make sense of all of this? We have written extensively on the topic of headless here at Enonic, so let us try to help you navigate through the potentially misleading terrain that is headless and hybrid CMS with a compilation of our articles.
Also, everything you need to know about headless CMS:
Introduction to headless CMS
This historical overview goes through all the important phases of the content management system’s evolution, from early HTML to the fragmented future which headless CMS seeks to address.
A basic introduction to what headless CMS is (separating the content layer from the presentation layer—letting editors create content to be sent to multiple channels via APIs), listing some benefits and limitations in the process.
By its nature, headless CMS is a very technology-oriented topic. So what essentials should editors and marketers know about? This article tells marketers what they can expect from a pure headless CMS (no previews, for instance), as well as the principle of “same content, different channels,” the time-saving features, and thinking broader than the web.
Still having difficulties with understanding the concept of headless CMS? This article lists 7 “secrets” that can help you on your way—including a little history, front-end frameworks, some serious advantages, some potential disadvantages, the hybrid alternative, and the fact that headless might not be that good a metaphor after all.
This article explores why headless CMS has become so popular lately, and lists 4 reasons: that traditional CMS has become a nuisance for developers, different devices have different requirements, the web has developed into offering richer experiences, and that a headless CMS can be an easier choice in that it doesn’t affect the entire architecture like a traditional CMS.
Challenges with headless
While headless CMS is being touted as the second coming of Christ by some, it is important to keep a check on your expectations vs. the real world. Be sure to check out whether headless solves every content management challenge, improves the editorial experience, and more in this article.
Single-page applications (SPAs) utilise rich web front-ends to improve the user experience, and can work smoothly together with a headless CMS. However, there are some challenges and we list both them and some proposed solutions.
If your organisation only wants a website, don’t choose headless CMS. As simple as that. Learn why in this thought-provoking article.
The golden alternative: Hybrid CMS
As the saying goes: you can't have your cake and eat it too. But we might make an exception for the case of hybrid CMS. If you want a traditional CMS to maintain your traditional website—but also want structured content and APIs for headless delivery, a hybrid CMS can serve both needs in equal measures.
Still confused by the option between headless and hybrid? Instead of falling into the buzzword trap, the choice between headless and hybrid really depends on one thing: your actual use case.
Many people are convinced that a headless CMS is better at a content first approach, omnichannel readiness, low operating cost, etc., but we demonstrate that a hybrid CMS can do these things just as well—and even surpass headless in other areas.
If you’re still not convinced about the benefits of a hybrid CMS, maybe this article can turn the scales. Detailing API customisation, URL handling, landing page editing, content preview, and fast deployment among other things, the article quickly explains how hybrid CMS offers the best of both worlds.
Enonic as a headless alternative
Some people seem to think that Enonic is a traditional CMS, but we are actually headless. Or more correctly: we are a hybrid CMS which can be fully headless if required.
Why should you go headless with us? We mention easy content management, smart image handling, user-friendly forms system, future-proof technology in the form of being open-source, cloud-agnostic, and having a flexible GraphQL API, and the fact that we are a hybrid CMS—offering quality for both developers and editors.
There’s not only ample options for the headless crowd to choose Enonic, organisations requiring traditional CMS capabilities can have their fill, too. In fact, hybrid architecture leaves you with even more possibilities and combinations.
In this piece, we flesh out the reasons why Enonic should be the hybrid CMS of your choice. We mention a flexible and scalable system, intuitive and effective content management, powerful image handling, responsive page editor, excellent customer service, and—you guessed it—the possibility for pure headless.
Is headless the future?
So, is headless CMS really the future? The answer is “yes,” but with some reservations.
As for the “yes” part, the omnichannel world is here to stay. There is no going back to only desktop computers with web browsers, today and tomorrow we will continue to see the fragmentation of channels, devices, and platforms—from PCs, smartphones, and wearables to web-based APIs, IoT, and digital signage.
As for the “reservations” part, whether headless is right for you or not depends on what you’re looking for. If you are building rich web apps, headless CMS is probably the way to go. If you also need a website and the classic functions of a CMS—like presentation, URL management, preview, landing page editor, and visual editor—a hybrid CMS is the natural choice.