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Headless & decoupled distribution

Naturally headless or decoupled, the Brightspot CMS platform ensures your content can be distributed to any device to support current and future distribution channels.

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Brightspot CMS Extensible Architecture
What business pain point is addressed through headless & decoupled distribution?
A headless CMS platform provides organizations with an architecture with front-end flexibility, whether that is a website, mobile application, TV or any endpoint that uses APIs to connect with the content repository. With a headless CMS platform, there is no fixed front end—instead, the platform acts as a content source with the option to add workflows, integrations and custom back-end logic. This allows developers to use a combination of their favorite tools and frameworks to determine where and how content appears.

A decoupled CMS is any system where the back end and front end are separate: content management and storage on one side, presentation to users on the other. A decoupled CMS may still include front-end architecture, where the content gets funneled into templates before it is displayed. A headless CMS, however, is a type of decoupled system where there is no established front-end environment within the CMS.

Learn more about headless and decoupled CMS pros and cons 
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 Gang, CEO & Co-founder, Brightspot
Headless can help by keeping developers in a constant position to iterate so they can focus on adding new experiences rather than focusing time on implementing the same solutions on different platforms. Your editors can focus on their content rather than repetitive publishing of it.
Omavi Walker, Senior Software Engineer at Brightspot
Omavi Walker, Senior Software Engineer, Brightspot
Brightspot improved the quality of life for our editorial team, who can now manage sites, collaborate, and publish experiences faster and more seamlessly than ever to meet the demands of our audience. It also empowered our development team, giving them total control over the look and feel of our platform.
Juan Antonio Beckman, Director of Technology, Televisa Digital

What is the Brightspot approach to headless & decoupled distribution?

The Brightspot CMS is naturally headless and front-end agnostic.

The Brightspot CMS is naturally headless, but users determine how they want to use the platform to create digital content experiences. Brightspot is a CMS platform that is front-end agnostic with an extensible architecture that is API-first so that users can publish how they want—headless, decoupled or both—all within the same environment.

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What is the main benefit to the CMS user when it comes to headless & decoupled distribution?
A headless CMS implementation is “API only, UI anything”, which provides ultimate flexibility and control as to how and where your content shows up. It can push content to any device or channel with internet access and publish the same content to a website, an app, or any device connected via IoT because the content isn’t bound by a predetermined user interface. With a hybrid-headless solution like Brightspot, meanwhile, CMS users are not restricted to one or other path, leaving the door open to different implementations as future needs dictate.

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More headless CMS FAQ

Who needs a headless CMS?

A headless-only approach tends to be the best option for organizations with robust development teams that know their way around additional technologies required to establish the front end and have multiple distribution endpoints for their content.

What are the benefits of a headless CMS?

  1. With the decoupling of back-end and front-end needs, implementations can be quicker and development teams can accommodate changing business requirements more easily. The front end can change completely without impacting what’s happening in the back end, making it simpler and faster to integrate new designs. Businesses with multi-national sites or a network of multisites, for example, can benefit from the ability to centralize content management within a headless CMS, which is then published via APIs to back-end-agnostic sites, applications or distribution channels.
  2. With headless CMS, developers can also tap into their favorite tools and frameworks to determine where and how content appears, providing freedom and flexibility to pave their own way forward.
  3. Going headless is an excellent way to future-proof your CMS, because your content can adapt easily to changing channels, including new device categories such as voice and VR. You get ultimate flexibility in deciding how and where your content appears, and you have enhanced security because the content publishing platform cannot be accessed through your front-end experience. Developers love it because they're empowered to use their front-end tech of choice, and it's much faster to deploy changes. Because the system is so flexible and can securely integrate with third-party systems, you're not likely to be locked in to vendor relationships when they stop working for you.

Will going headless lower my project costs?

The answer to that depends on a variety of factors, but in many cases, yes, a headless CMS can help cut costs. If you're starting from scratch, you may need to invest more up front to make sure you have both the back-end and front-end developers you need, depending on the size and number of sites, along with a technical manager. That said, the up-front cost for a new app is about the same, and a headless CMS can save on long-term maintenance costs because you don't have to worry about changing the back end every time you add a channel. So, if you expect that you'll continue to expand your support for different audiences, headless is more cost-effective in the long term.

What do I need to consider first when looking at headless CMS?

Headless CMS architecture isn't automatically great. It needs to be implemented correctly, and that requires an experienced team to ensure the back end and front end are well planned from the beginning so they can sync up seamlessly later.

To start, define your expectations regarding the three requirements of any modern CMS: content creation and delivery, development and publishing speeds, and integration with your existing systems. You'll also want to consider the fact that in going headless, you're splitting up your codebase and responsibilities, so you'll need specialized engineers for both front end and back end.

Do I have to choose between a headless CMS, decoupled CMS or traditional CMS?

Not necessarily: In the case of Brightspot, you can have a headless API to support some downstream systems, and you can also use Brightspot's native view-rendering system, Styleguide.

Some customers may go the traditional route and choose a Brightspot theme to get up and running quickly, while others will want the control and flexibility of going headless. Brightspot offers the advantage of supporting both paths.

If it’s headless, can I still preview content in a headless system?

It's a common concern: If my CMS isn't rendering the content for final display, will I still be able to review how it looks before publishing? The short answer for Brightspot is yes. The not-as-short answer is that some additional development may be required, depending on your front-end system (e.g. React, Angular) and the channel in question.

What's the process for integrating a headless CMS with properties like Facebook or Apple News?

In a headless scenario, this process doesn’t change much. Integrating with third parties still happens on a case-by-case basis—most of them have an API (application programming interface), and it's a matter of making sure content is set up to serve that API. In some cases, you may need to adjust your content so that it meets that platform's requirements. In general, the headless approach simplifies this process because the CMS doesn't have to be adjusted for every downstream output. That's the responsibility of the front-end system.

What are the technical benefits of a headless CMS?

In a headless model, your team chooses how to format content and where content can be displayed. Developers enjoy more flexibility in the way they code content and can focus more on building experiences rather than managing output inefficiencies.

With a back end that edits and stores content and only an API to deliver, your content can appear on any number of channels such as:
  • Wearable devices
  • Ember
  • OTT
  • Mobile apps
  • Web properties
  • React apps
  • eCommerce platforms

What other benefits does headless CMS offer technical teams?

  • Flexibility: Headless CMS lets you mix and match front-end content offerings, meaning the best user experience can be delivered across every device, channel and touchpoint.
  • Resiliency: Headless CMS supports organizations in future-proofing their businesses by making it easy to continually evolve alongside technology, no matter what new device or platform emerges.
  • Agility: The separation of the presentation layer from the platform lets teams move faster, while separation of content and presentation helps authors and developers work independently, accelerating time to market.

What’s the benefit of headless CMS for content producers?

The benefits of headless CMS for content producers accrue by removing front-end obstacles to getting content published and delivered wherever your audiences are through API-connected endpoints.

With the content management framework separated from the content delivery side, editors and publishers can focus on what they do best: storytelling and audience engagement.

Other benefits include protection from unhelpful outages and changes downstream on the front end, plus the ability to manage editorial content types, workflows, templates, and more all from within the CMS ecosystem without being reliant on development support or front-end changes.

How does Brightspot headless CMS differ to other headless CMS solutions in the market?

What separates Brightspot from other headless CMS solutions is that we have the ability to build the application the way you want with the right tech. In other words, we have more back-end flexibility than others. With Brightspot, you have the ability to modify the CMS workflows, logic and integrations. You can do everything that you can do with the other systems plus take advantage of our extensible, back-end integrations and back-end development.

Headless CMS: Webinars & downloads

illustration highlighting Brightspot CMS' publisher-informed benefits

Watch: Why Content Teams Should Consider a Headless CMS

Join us for an in-depth look at the the benefits and consideration factors of headless CMS, with the discussion here tailored toward how headless benefits content and editorial teams.

Headless CMS: Related resources

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