The Rise of Headless CMS: What it Means for Web Developers

03 Jul 2023

Companies seek ways to remain flexible and scalable as they move into a multichannel future. Therefore, they are turning to headless content management solutions to fill these gaps. Regardless of whether you think you don't need a headless CMS to see the benefits, you do.
As a right, headless CMS has very contradictory connotations. We're not talking about headless in the traditional sense. We are discussing the future of successful e-commerce and corporate websites with Headless CMS.

What is a traditional CMS?

A CMS (content management system) is a unified system that can help you use the website, edit content and set up auxiliary services. The CMS saves information closed to website guests, and only authorized users can access it—well-known CMSs: WordPress, Tilda, and OpenCart. CMS is formed on a pure PHP or framework (Laravel, Yii2, Angular, Python, etc.).
The logic of the classic CMS brings together the back-end and front-end parts of the same system. The content in the provided case appeared to be related to specific technologies, architecture, and templates of the client-server application.

What does headless mean in web development?

What does headless architecture mean in web development? A headless CMS is a fundamentally different management system. It is only responsible for the universal content, which can be applied on every platform. The back-end ("body") is not connected to the front-end ("head").
The logic behind Headless CMS is that different "heads" can be attached to the "body" as needed. This allows a single back-end to manage the website (or websites) and the mobile application and to automate content distribution to all easily accessible sites and devices.
As a result, resources spent on web development are minimized. And the different platforms are managed centrally from a single interface, which is very convenient. You can configure content flexibly for each channel.

How does a headless CMS works? (headless vs. traditional CMS)

A headless CMS focuses solely on content management, separate from how it will be displayed to users, unlike a traditional CMS that integrates content management and user interfaces.
There is also Decoupled CMS architecture. It is a content management system that usually contains a website's content and has a separate layer for presentation and administration. This means that the application where editors and administrators manage the content is technically different from what users see.
A system of this type is created solely to store and manage content. A headless CMS provides an administrative interface for content developers to collaborate on content. If there is a possibility to leave comments, orders, create user surveys, or set user account options, this data can still be saved in the system, moderated, and edited by the staff.
The contents of the system are stored in the database it supports (PostgreSQL, MongoDB, SQLite, MySQL, and MariaDB in Strapi). Replacing data is often in a "universal" JSON format, allowing it to be adapted to any fresh front-end. Submission is made through an external API: RESTful or GraphQL.

Why choose a headless CMS?

1. ​​Flexibility
Because the server side and the front-end are not connected, you must have complete freedom in designing your application. Headless CMSs offer maximum flexibility, which is one of the key reasons you should choose them for your proper plan. A high degree of flexibility is necessary to speed up website development and content sharing as you adapt to digital transformation. When you have a plan in place and can work on it at short notice, then headless architecture will aid you in developing your schedule and promoting your applications even more quickly.

2. Highest availability and ease of scalability
In choosing a content management system, scalability is among the most critical factors. Fortunately, a headless CMS allows creators to make a highly scalable and affordable architecture. Splitting the server side and the front-end will run smoothly without much-wasted work.

3. Speed
This means you'll have less time for content to be processed by your content creators and less time lost updating your pages. Since everything happens with only one request, it requires fewer switches and the most negligible network load. Limited queries mean your website pages will be available to users much sooner.

4. Multi-channel layout support
Supports multi-channel layout is a key advantage of headless CMS. This makes your site fully active on every device or channel. Thus, the users of your content have all opportunities to access the same content from every device they use. Combining and distributing the same content across different platforms is also possible.

5. Best security
The headless CMS does not allow visitors to input data, so targeted security threats are impossible. The system is set up so that a front-end security threat has no impact on the back-end. For example, hacking a web page will not affect other web pages and website functions.

Is headless CMS the future?

Decoupled Architecture is an architectural approach in which application components (client application and server application) are separated into separate, independent parts that can communicate with each other via API or other means of data exchange.
There are about 100 Headless CMSs, which can be divided into API Driven and Git-grounded. API Driven, Headless CMSs act as a traditional back-end for web operations and provide a data foundation. Overall, a headless CMS has the potential to become the future standard in web development. If you plan to use a Headless CMS, it will give you many advantages in the development process of your project.

What is the benefit of headless CMS?

The main advantage of the layout created in Headless CMS is its ability to provide versatility and readiness for use on different channels. By using universal content formats, it can be easily adapted for the website, mobile devices, and interfaces of other digital devices. This expands the business's capability, allowing the inflexibility to use different conclusions (integrating them one by one or incontinently involving all necessary). 
Reducing the cost of development, the alternative, and significant advantage. Under specific criteria, Headless CMS is more profitable in the outfit and setting. Developers don't need to master the" from and to a control system." It's enough to understand the administrative interface and API.
Accelerating the perpetration of new plans is also an important benefit for businesses. Thanks to the pliantness of content operation, Headless CMS's launching of a website or operation takes less time. 
Not counting this, artificial conceptions are peaceful. GraphQL gives a quick launch in deploying new plan generators that won't need to lay the structure blocks and master the tubing around these technologies. 
For Content Management System (CMS) administration panel owners, user-friendliness in the system cannot be underestimated. Centralized management makes it easy to trade across different platforms. Editing and adding content, managing options, and other functions are all available in one standard interface, which makes working with the system more efficient. The scalability of the content management system is an essential factor for businesses that need to respond quickly to changing configurations. Using statically generated content from the CMS makes it easy to scale via CDN.
Content is simply migrated to fresh interfaces. For illustration, to apply an operation for iOS, with web and Android performances, there's no need to make a new back-end, another customer operation is added to the being layout. 
In this case, the generators of any programming language( Ruby, PHP, Java, Swift) can apply API when manipulating the system, working on the problem of incompatibility of different languages in a single product.
Overall, the API-First approach promotes a more efficient and flexible development process and provides a more robust and resilient application architecture.
A Headless CMS can accelerate development by utilizing advanced technology and creativity. This CMS has a high level of security since only statically generated data is available on the server side, and query processing is greatly simplified, making hacking more difficult.

Examples of headless CMS platforms

  1. Strapi is a highly well-known open-source CMS based on JavaScript.
  2. Sanity is the best cloudy perron of collective value.
  3. Agility CMS - cloudy Headless CMS with the most active free plan.
  4. Ghost contains more all-stars on GitHub than other open-source plans.
  5. Netlify CMS is number 3 of the best JAMstack-solutions.
  6. Directus is a web application for direct work with databases.
  7. TinaCMS is centralized content management React site.
  8. Cockpit is headless CMS written in PHP.
  9. dotCMS is Java-based hybrid CMS combining traditional and headless CMS features.
  10. GraphCMS is a scalable cloudy front-end with 100% GraphQL.
  11. Drupal remains a leader in headless and decoupled solutions based on its API-first architecture.

Getting started with a headless CMS

Based on all of this, we can conclude that most headless CMSs are designed for professional use. The headless architecture facilitates element replacement, as using an API to connect external interfaces ensures easy replacement. In addition, the headless approach provides greater openness to microservices, allowing additional services and features to be plugged into your architecture seamlessly.
Free versions may be available for individual use or collaboration in small teams. For large and well-known Headless CMSs, integration skills are required to work with their user-friendly interfaces and settings.