09th February 2021
Don't forget your Head
The latest headless CMS architectures can help super-charge your digital experiences but they don’t work in isolation. You’ll still need a wise head to sit on top of your CMS shoulders.
The term ‘Headless’ describes a particular type of decoupled CMS architecture. Traditionally the core aspects of a CMS are:
- The ability to create, edit and publish content into a database - the ‘body’ in this analogy
- The delivery and display of that content within a user interface - the ‘head’
A Headless CMS is therefore a database of content that doesn’t render or present content into a template, such as a web page. Instead, it delivers raw content as data in the form of an API.
This type of architecture gives a lot of freedom. It becomes easier for content to be consumed across any digital channel, code base or application as it is delivered in a standard format.
Heads, shoulders, knees and toes…
Headless serves a number of different use cases extremely well, from acting as enterprise content hubs and enabling multi-channel content publishing, to powering the latest breed of client-side web apps, built using modern frameworks such as React or Vue.
However to do anything useful with that content within a digital experience and you'll have to integrate it into another application to present and display the content. You'll always need a head along with your body, it's just that your head and body aren't necessarily part of the same person (aka system).
Nowadays, there is a convergence with most traditional web CMS vendors offering a content API meaning you can choose whether to use their head or operate their system as head-less. From version 11, Episerver delivered a Content Delivery API which will form a core component of their architecture moving forward. This is a REST API which offers functionality to read, deliver content and interact with any Episerver configuration in JSON format.
Use your head
As ever with technology platform choices, think carefully about what it is you're really trying to achieve, and whether the flexibility provided by headless outweighs the costs of owning different heads. Two heads are not necessarily better than one.