Headless – an Application without Frontend
The Headless Content Management System presents an interesting alternative to the classical Web CMS. This is because the separation of the content management from the actual content presentation offers editors and software designers new possibilities and advantages.
This separation is not limited to a content management system alone. Other applications and platforms, such as an online shop, can also benefit from Headless.
What is a Headless CMS?
A headless CMS can be confined in the essence to the acronym CMS (Content Management System). It offers the possibility of modelling, capture and retrieving content. The way content is being presented is left to specialised systems. They will source their data from interfaces (API) of the Headless CMS. In short: Headless is a CMS without Frontend.
In this way your flexibility grows in the content production process. At the same time you can use the same content for a number of channels, for example the web, print and mobile app, and thus ensure consistent communication.
Do you need a classical or a Headless CMS?
The classical CMS approach
Traditional CMS feature many more functionalities than a simple content editing and storage. They can stretch from analytical tools through a sophisticated workflow management to personalisation. As a result, CMS systems are becoming increasingly complex and cost-intensive in terms of operation, further development and upgrades.
Despite all services, the classical CMS is still mainly focused on the website channel. Therefore, with CMS there is hardly any separation between the content and its display format. This leads to a situation where editors conceive and create their content primarily for the website. They think in terms of websites and web layouts rather than “content first”. It makes it double as difficult to reuse the content since such content can be used neither in terms of their essence nor formally for any other publication formats – be it for instance a newsletter or social media purposes.
The Headless approach
You need more than “just” a new website? You want to maintain all your content in one place, regardless of whether you will display them on your website, a mobile app or in print media? Then the time has come to consider a Headless CMS.
Content model and flexible interfaces
The headless approach focuses entirely on the content and not on its format or communication channel. Therefore editors and content designers maintain structured content models rather than page contents: Instead of getting lost in teaser lists and accordion components, their content belongs now to customers, projects, locations or are part of colleague citations. Content models turn texts into valuable data, that can be put in relation to each other and reused as need be. Interfaces (API) finally feed the required channels with the right information.
Your advantages with a Headless CMS:
- Content service: with a headless system you have a content management system, which you can flexibly combine with other services. Authors need not compromise on anything here: The solution covers classic content management tasks such as shared content editing, versioning, workflows and previews.
- Flexibility: Developers profit from highly available and flexible interfaces (API). They choose the technologies which meet your requirements best. Within the Web it is possible to choose freely the needed frontend framework or the required Web server.
- Cloud solution: Many Headless CMS are offered as a cloud solution, and are therefore immediately available. There is no need to set up an own infrastructure, which should lead to lower operating costs.
With Headless CMS, once created content can be published on different channels. Olaf Kaiser-Otto, Application Architect at Unic, reveals how this works and for whom it is worthwhile.
Drupal is often and rightly referred to as a classic CMS. However, in recent years Drupal has also made a name for itself in the headless and decoupled scene.
A headless CMS offers great flexibility, freedom of decision and autonomy in the area of maintaining and displaying content on any desired channel, in the system architecture as well as in business. However, it does not necessarily have to be the best solution for every web project.
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