API First CMS versus Headless CMS

By Philippe Bodart | Created on July 25, 2018

A radical shift away from Monolithic CMS systems like Wordpress, Drupal, Concrete5 and Joomla

“How we work now, how software is being built, has changed radically,” says Schagen, Contentful’s chief marketing officer. “Cloud-based modular architectures have become the standard — reusable components enable teams to scale almost effortlessly, expand easily into new channels, and iterate new products faster than ever before.” However, he continued, many organizations encounter a major roadblock on this shining road to the digital future: content. Content has become a bottleneck for the modern agile business. Companies are attempting to deliver ever larger and more complex applications while still using last-century tools — traditional content management systems — as a platform. Post and pages worked for a long time, but we have gone way beyond that so far and so fast. The “old-fashioned, page-centric” model, he explained, requires siloed content that must be re-entered, and often reformatted, for reuse in other platforms. Such monolithic architecture is furthermore cumbersome and expensive to scale and, worse, unresponsive — slow to iterate on new offerings or adjust existing ones to real-time market requirements. “We are in the midst of a software industrial revolution, where building a business has become building software, and digital teams are stuck using CMSes from a bygone era.” An API-first approach to composable infrastructure where content is seamlessly reusable across many different devices and use cases. An agile, integration-focused and context-agnostic architecture built for cloud distribution.

Proprietary Hell

The CMS conundrum — powerful enough to do the job, yet easy enough for HR and marketing to use too — is universal. All the current ones have become marketing platforms, which for devs means proprietary hell. The answer is to decouple the content management system’s workflow, allowing the dev team and the content team to do their jobs separately using tools of their own choosing. Developers get to use their preferred languages and tools, all integrated with their existing deployment pipeline. Meanwhile, the content provider team gets an intuitive and powerful markdown editor web app that allows them to create content on any platform — independent of the IT department. Everyone gets the ability to push content seamlessly to the web, mobile apps, IoT devices, and whatever platform comes next.

The CMS Gateway Drug

We see big orgs wanting to undergo “digital transformation” and giving their engineers charter to re-envision the stack — and CMS is a gateway drug for reworking the stack. A lot of places are trying to run new agile API technologies along with Oracle, or some dusty system they built 15 years ago. The world has changed. Teams are becoming very software-centric, and there was no breed of tool that could address all these new software paradigms, CI/CI, IoT, etc. What is needed is a whole new infrastructure paradigm for content. The British Museum concurs. The ultimate goal is to evoke the same emotional and spiritual response visitors to the physical space get to experience in our virtual visitors, so they feel they too are experiencing it first hand.

All the above leads many companies and developers to adopt what is called the JAM Stack, a set of development and content management tools adapted to the modern web.

WebriQ - JAM Stack GLUE

At WebriQ, we have been developing and deploying JAM Stack websites for over two years now. With a dedicated APP, we have been able to build, develop, update and manage hunderds of sites. In this model we are using a Static Site Generator to develop the site, a GIT based CMS system to update the content and a Github repository to store all HTML, CSS and Javascript files. GIT files are pushed to a CDN network. Whereas this model does fit well for most smaller projects, it has it's shortfalls when it comes to larger projects or projects with a need for frequent content updates and updates made by a variety of users, content writers and third party contributions

Since the JAM Stack is more a concept then a real technology stack, we have been contemplating for a while how we could combine the best of the traditional LAMP Stack ideas and the serious advantages and benefits of the JAM Stack. It's what I would call the GLUE of the JAM Stack.

What are we gluing together

A comprehensive Database (MongoDB) Service https://www.mongodb.com

A Javascript (Node.js) API Content Management Framework https://strapi.io

A State of the Art Static Site Generator https://www.gatsbyjs.org

An ultra-redundant global CDN https://www.netlify.com


  Go Back

About us

A diverse group of people coming from four continents with backgrounds in sales management, web design, open source web development, cloud based content management platforms and digital marketing.

Keep in touch

Join our newsletter to receive updates