Headless CMS and GraphQL have been trending topics for a while in the content management space. Headless is much more than just a buzzword, though—it’s a necessary layer in modern technology stacks. A flexible, headless CMS architecture can be a great support for a multi-channel customer journey. The popularity of headless is clear, with 86% of respondents to a Pupuweb survey saying they view headless in a positive light; 29% of respondents were already using a headless approach, and 38% planned to start.
Adopting a headless architecture has many benefits, but in order to achieve success with the technology, there are different hurdles to overcome and factors to consider. Headless CMS technology can be complex, which is why the same survey found that 48% of respondents in technical roles are very supportive of headless. It’s important for contributors across the content team, however, to also have a solid understanding of headless CMS architecture and GraphQL.
In short, GraphQL is the query language that enables flexible connection with programming APIs that support headless CMS integrations. Brightspot’s CMS has been designed to make working with GraphQL and headless simple. Brightspot recently covered this topic in a webinar, How Headless CMS and GraphQL APIs Diversify Content Delivery. It’s available to watch on-demand, with the top key takeaways from the conversation summarized below.
Takeaway #1: Multiple considerations should go into evaluating headless CMS architecture from a technical standpoint.
There are three main CMS architectures: traditional, decoupled and headless. Each has its benefits, but one of the key pluses of headless is that it completely removes the presentation system, separating the front and back ends. This enables the same content to power a variety of experiences across channels. Headless also offers flexibility—making it easy to migrate to another headless CMS or use existing data with a new headless tool. This appeals to technical buyers who want to up-level their content technology without major investment.
Headless is particularly popular for enabling front-end freedom of choice. By removing the presentation system and instead delivering just data, it allows you to build your front end using whichever technologies are best-suited to your needs. Front-end developers can use their favorite frameworks and tools, which can change over time and with different projects. The front end can change completely without the back end even knowing about it, which makes it easy and fast to integrate new designs. Additionally, once GraphQL is set up, teams don’t have to rely as much on the back end making changes, with APIs doing the majority of the work.
Takeaway #2: There are advantages of using GraphQL APIs for content and digital experience delivery.
GraphQL is a foundational element to Brightspot’s headless CMS offering. Brightspot has two configurable GraphQL API types. The Content Management API (CMA) is useful for data ingestion, automated testing and custom editorial experiences, such as creating an iOS widget. The Content Delivery API (CDA) builds APIs safe for third-party consumption and delivers content to end users, such as through a website.
There are many advantages to using GraphQL APIs for content and digital experience delivery. GraphQL is an alternative to the traditional RESTful style of web services. One of its benefits is that when you send a GraphQL query to your API, it always returns predictable results, giving you exactly what you need. Apps using GraphQL are fast and stable because they control the data they get, instead of the server having control. This allows you to get all the data that your application needs in a single request. It also enables applications to be quick, even on slow mobile network connections.
Takeaway #3: Brightspot enables teams to take an API-first approach with GraphQL
One of Brightspot’s strongest GraphQL features is the self-describing type system, where GraphQL APIs are organized in terms of types and fields, not endpoints, making it possible to access the full capabilities of your data from a single endpoint. You can also evolve quickly, adding new fields and types to a GraphQL API without impacting existing queries. Aging fields can be deprecated and hidden, and you can use a single, evolving version to give access to new features and encourage clean, maintainable code. With GraphQL, the user interface is automatically generated based on Java class.
At Brightspot, we believe in front-end freedom of choice—to be able to choose the architecture that best suits each individual organization’s unique needs. That’s why we’ve designed our Brightspot CMSm to operate as a traditional, decoupled, headless or hybrid CMS solution.
For teams interested in learning more about the benefits of headless CMS and GraphQL APIs, watch our on-demand webinar here.