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Serving Web-Content to a Growing List of Channels: Headless Drupal CMS

In Headless

Date 17/05/2022

Adoption of innovative technologies and digital content determines how a company meet the growing and diverse demands of customers. One of the best answers is headless Drupal CMS. In essence, it is a Content Management System solution that allows to connect and show content on diferent platforms.  

If your company wants to show content on different platforms and devices in a centralized manner in order to reach more customers a possible solution could be Drupal headless.

What is a headless CMS? 

Simply put, a CMS it helps to show content in an organized manner. This organizer is actually software or a set of programs connected together. 
This means that the back part of the site (back-end where you store the content and all the data) and the front part (front-end - what the visitor sees) are a whole, monolith CMS. 
A headless CMS, things are as follows: the back- end and the front-end are detached.  

What is Drupal CMS? 

Drupal is a an open source content management system and its beginnings go back to 2001. Its characteristics make Drupal one of the most used CMS and that’s because it is open source. 

As a statistic, at the beginning of May 2022, 66% of the websites were using one of the content management systems monitored.  Drupal CMS was in the first six of them. 

All the things we talked about in the introduction were a challenge for Drupal CMS as well. Diversification of devices, diversification of information, interactivity have led developers to offer Drupal decoupled/headless function. 

What is headless Drupal CMS? 

Dries Buytaert, the founder and lead developer of Drupal, presented the idea of decoupled/headless Drupal in 2007. Ten years later, on his blog, wrote about the reasons why Headless CMSs gained such popularity. These are: 

  • “A desire to separate concerns of structure and presentation so that front-end teams and back-end teams can work independently from each other. 

  • Editors and marketers are looking for solutions that can serve web-content to a growing list of channels, including websites, back-end systems, single-page applications, native applications, and even emerging devices such as wearables, conversational interfaces, and IoT devices.” 

So, starting from Drupal 8, the CMS gained the decoupling function. That means a back-end and a front-end connected through an API (Application Programming Interface). 

If you want to get more technical, we have this covered. In headless Drupal CMS, the front-end is managed by JS frameworks (Angular JS, Backbone JS EmberJS or React etc.). The back-end is built with Drupal.  

Advantages of using headless Drupal CMS 

  • Publish once, push everywhere. With headless Drupal helps you to be more efficient with your online content. Remember the back-end and the front-end? Well, what you put in the first zone, with headless Drupal is very easy to show on different devices and interfaces.  

For example, if you write something on your website the front-end via API will help you to show it on different devices. Also, you can diversify the way you present the content on different terminals (Android or iOS, desktop computer, smart TV etc.). 

  • Headless Dupal CMS offers you flexibility, customization. Imagine you have a monolith CMS. If you want to change something in your interface you will have to work both at the front-end and back-end.  

That requires skill and time. With Drupal headless CMS things are much easier. All you have to modify is the front end and you’re done. It is easy to use.  

  • Developers who work with headless Drupal CMS don’t depend on each other. The team that deals with the back-end doesn’t have to go full time meetings mode with the team that builds the front-end. Every developer can focus on his or her task and only occasionally can synchronize the work with other colleagues. 

Moreover, the modifications you want to make to the front-end don’t require back-end knowledge from your developer.   

  • I’m pretty sure that scalability matters to you. The ways headless Drupal CMS works and built help you to deal smoothly with growing traffic on your website, and the requests that are coming via different channels.  

Big companies, government authorities and agencies, who need to be efficient in dealing with large amounts of traffic and online content use Headless Drupal CMS. 

  • We talked about technology and the new horizons that may appear. We can have an idea of how this future might look. For sure a new device will emerge. And for this new device you will have to optimize your website. With Headless Drupal CMS, your content is prepared for this.  

All you will have to do is to create in the front-end zone a proper interface compatible with the new device. This will allow the user to access the content from your CMS, without other modifications in the back-end.  

Is Drupal Headless CMS for you? Things to take into consideration  

Before taking the decisive step on the Headless Drupal CMS path you have to know a couple of aspects. 

  • Challenges and costs can increase when going Headless Drupal. The structure with these two zones (back-end and front-end) is more complex. So, you have to put in balance the costs versus the profits.  

If you’re in for a quick buck, Drupal Headless is not for you. But if you are a long-distance runner CEO, a business person with complex plan for your company, then you can put your bet on headless Drupal CMS. 

  • Because there are two zones you will need two different teams. Although they work separately for good results you need coordination between them.  Moreover, the projects with headless Drupal CMS need more time to get to the finish line.  

Crossing that line brings new challenges: permanent maintenance and responding to security problems.  

So, if you manage a personal blog with rich content, you don’t need this architecture. But companies, agencies, governmental institutions, startups can use headless Drupal CMS with great success in order to meet clients’, customers’ citizens’ expectations and desire to have a great experience. Headless Drupal is the right tool for the omnichannel strategy in retail, ecomerce, marketing ans service industry. 

Land of Web is a coding agency that offers besides web and mobile development services like consulting, maintenance, audit, security and hosting management services, can help to enable headless Drupal CMS for your company advantage.