Headless vs. Decoupled CMS: A Comparison.

In recent years, decoupled and headless CMS platforms have been witnessing a rise in popularity. Whiles some argue for a headless CMS architecture, some others believe it as cumbersome comparing to the traditional CMS architecture.

While traditional CMS architecture otherwise known as coupled architecture used to be the conventional approach, the advantages of faster and more innovative content publishing have increased. Companies are now accepting the agility and flexibility offered by decoupled and headless CMS solutions.

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If it is time to redesign your digital assets, it is essential to know the distinctive features of coupled, decoupled, and headless CMS architectures, the strengths and weaknesses of each, and how to know when a headless CMS is the ideal choice for you.

Choosing what works best for your organization- the entire team of editors, developers, designers and marketers alike.

What is a Traditional CMS?

In a traditional CMS architecture (also called coupled CMS), the back end is tightly bound to the front end. The back end is where the content is created, managed, and stored—along with all digital assets. It is also where the web design and customization applications are stored.

The content management back end and database is linked to the same system that delivers and provides content to the front end. In short, with a traditional CMS, your team is writing and publishing on the back end of the same system your end users are viewing. Platforms that uses the traditional CMS architecture are blogging platforms, such as WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix.   

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What is a Decoupled CMS?

Decoupled CMS architecture segregates-or decouple- the back-end and front-end management of a website into two separate systems: one for content creation and storage, and another one or more, for using that data and presenting it to the user via an interface.

In a decoupled CMS, these two systems are put up separately. Once content is developed and edited in the back end, this front-end neutral approach make use of the flexible and fast web services and APIs to render the raw content to any front-end design on any device or channel.

Even though the back-end and the front-end application work in isolation from one another, the front-end CMS architecture is preset with a designated delivery environment (for instance, React or React Native). Thus, the two systems are tightly bound and can operate as one.

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From a technical perspective, a decoupled CMS platform consist of the following:

  • A database for content and digital asset storage (back end)
  • API that links the content management back end with the front end  
  • A default content publishing front end

What is a headless CMS?

There is a rising popularity towards headless content management systems, which offers more flexibility at the cost of more development time. A distinctive feature of a headless CMS is that it doesn’t have a front-end; i.e it has the database to store content but no front end to display it.

The front-end or the user interface (UI), can then be handled using a JavaScript framework, or even displayed using a mobile app, a wearable device or any device connected via Internet of Things (IoT). The data is recovered from the CMS through an API and can be returned using any structured language.

From a technical view, a headless CMS consists of:

  • A database for content and digital asset storage (back end)
  • API that links the content management back end with any device or channel
  • The flexibility to connect to any publishing front end, enabling organizations to choose the front-end technology of their liking. 

All of the above-listed CMS architecture comes with their own pros and cons and is more suitable for only specific environments. Here is a detailed analysis of all three types of CMS architectures.

Advantages of Traditional CMS, Decoupled CMS & Headless CMS

Disadvantages of Traditional CMS, Decoupled CMS & Headless CMS

So, which one should you use?

Today’s modern CMS revolution is pushing up demand for more scalable, flexible and customizable content management systems that offers cutting edge user experience. Segregating the front and back ends, with either a headless or decoupled CMS implementation, allows organizations faster delivery with faster iterations. Verbat Technologies believe in the freedom of decision of the customer. Contact us to learn more about the available options and what suits best for your company

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