The word 'headless' is currently omnipresent in our projects. But what exactly is a headless CMS, and what are its advantages? And are there disadvantages as well?
A headless CMS (Content Management System) indicates the complete separation of the CMS (back-end) from the design of a website (front-end). A headless CMS communicates with the front-end via an API (Application Programming Interface). This is often referred to as an "API first" approach.
Such an approach actually offers a number of interesting advantages compared to a traditional, CMS-based website:
Since the CMS is operated completely detached from the website, it can be used more easily for a so-called omnichannel strategy, in which the CMS can supply not only the website with content but also apps, newsletters, kiosk systems etc.
There is no longer the need to commit to a particular CMS. Theoretically, the back-end (CMS) can be changed/switched at any time without even touching the front-end.
- Redesigns of the front-end can be implemented more easily when the CMS is not affected as well.
But there are a few disadvantages as well:
As the CMS is operated completely detached from the front-end, the content in the CMS can usually no longer be maintained via WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor capabilities. Often, thanks to the use of content blocks, this doesn't matter, but it is still a limitation that you have to live with in most cases.*
- Due to the additional API layer, the implementation of a headless CMS can sometimes be more complex than that of a traditional CMS/front-end combination.
If you are interested in this, we are happy to advise you.
*In Magnolia CMS there is a "Visual SPA Editor" which can be used to help manage headless content conveniently and visually (WYSIWYG, as normal).