CMS architecture

The options for CMS architectures have grown along with the numbers of vendors trying to convince you their approach is the best. To help you cut through all the clutter, we've developed guides to explain the differences between the main types of CMS platforms, including coupled CMS, decoupled CMS and headless CMS, as well as the pros and cons for each.

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Featured CMS architecture resources

Learn the difference between traditional (or coupled) CMS, decoupled CMS, and headless CMS architecture, as well as the pros and cons for each.
GraphQL is the programming language that enables flexible connection with programming APIs that support headless CMS integrations like the one offered through Brightspot.
Learn what a headless content management system (CMS) is, how it differs from traditional CMS architectures and how the flexibility of Brightspot's hybrid-headless CMS approach can future-proof your business.
Download this e-book for a technical buyer’s guide to headless CMS architecture and the GraphQL query language.
Find out everything you need to know about headless CMS architecture and the questions decision makers need to ask when considering headless CMS for their organizations.
A headless CMS offers complete content freedom by removing the presentation layer entirely. Instead, a headless CMS delivers content as data outputs, usually via JSON. The system is back-end only, meaning it has an editorial interface, but no end-user view. (Note, this relates to where the content is consumed on the front end; content creators using a headless CMS like Brightspot do have the ability to preview the layout and user experience before publishing to a live site.)

The absence of a presentation layer opens up to complete front-end freedom—there’s no specific delivery environment or language needed to distribute content. Finally, starting with a headless CMS system makes migration to another platform much easier.

Headless CMS resources

Headless CMS offers a future-proofed framework in our evolving digital age, and the developer flexibility, personalized content capabilities and speedy content delivery offered through headless give companies a competitive edge. Here are 10 things to consider as you consider shifting to headless CMS.
A headless system using GraphQL has its pros and cons. At Brightspot, we’ve identified four of the primary issues associated with GraphQL and developed innovative solutions to address each one.
Modern headless content management system platforms can give you the flexibility you need to change—but there are four things to consider first.
A decoupled CMS offers more flexibility than a traditional CMS—a coupled CMS, in other words—as to how your content is delivered, but there is a clear separation between the content and presentation layers. In other words, developers can make changes to the back end that will not directly impact the front end.

A quality implementation will allow developers to make changes to the back end content in parallel to the front-end distribution. The result makes it easier to update and maintain, and faster to launch. A decoupled CMS also enables easier deployment than the traditional style, and requires less reliance on the development team to launch new experiences.

While the back end and front end are separated in this system, the front end is usually locked in to a specific content delivery programming language (for example, React). This allows the back end and front end to connect and function as one entity.
Flexibility is a must have feature of a CMS framework. Discover four features you need when selecting a content management system for your business.
image of Brightspot employee Meredith Rodkey
By Meredith Rodkey
July 22, 2020
A traditional CMS manages your entire content library and web application end to end, and usually dictates the technology used throughout—from the creation and storage of content, to the presentation of that content on your web properties.

While this type of CMS offers a full-stack solution from content management to output, it offers little technical flexibility. As the data and presentation layers are tightly bound, there’s often less freedom to distribute content elsewhere. If you’re considering a traditional CMS, it’s important to note that any future migrations to a new system would require a complete site rebuild.
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 Brightspot CMS to operate as a traditional, decoupled, headless or hybrid CMS solution.
Image of Brightspot founder and CEO, David Gang
David A. Gang, President & Founder, Brightspot
Decoupled and headless architectures have paved the way for the hybrid model. With a hybrid CMS architecture, organizations and publishers have the ability to mix presentation or front-end choices. The hybrid approach offers an environment that allows users to deliver different experiences to a browser window or a device, where both decoupled and headless CMS architectures can be combined.

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