If we want to create a website, a blog, an online store or an application, we need a system that allows us to manage our publications. Something that allows us to publish the posts of a blog, manage the products of our eCommerce, the courses of a training platform, etc. The systems we use for this process are the Content Managing System (CMS) or Content Management Systems.
Currently we have at our disposal a wide range of CMS. From WordPress, the most popular in the world, through Magento, the most widespread in eCommerce, Prestashop, the best known in the Hispanic world, or many others such as Drupal, Joomla, etc.
These traditional CMSs are perfect for end users who just want to install everything in a few clicks and start managing their site. They usually come packaged in a .zip folder, we extract it and generate a folder structure. Because that’s how they work, based on their own structure. Both the website that the user will see and the control panel that we manage are part of the same structure. And when we upload it to the server, we upload it all together. In addition, in their marketplaces we can find themes and plugins to customize our site.
But, if you like to customize your website by creating your own HTML code and your own CSS, these CMS force you to adapt to the way their templates work. Is there an alternative? The headless CMS.
What is a Headless CMS
It sounds a bit strange, a “headless” CMS, but is basically a CMS that only has the backend, and the content management between our control panel and our website is done through API queries, so these CMS are designed with API Rest architecture.
In other words, a Headless CMS does not have the web part of a traditional CMS. And what the user “consumes”, whether it is a web application, a blog or a store, is designed and developed separately with the programming language of your choice, apart from the CMS.
In this way, both the Headless CMS and the website maintain their different folder structure, and we could even say that each one is on different servers, they could even be using different technologies, since the way they communicate is through an API.
In fact, one of the great advantages of the Headless CMS is that, by being able to communicate with a project hosted on a different server, it gives us the possibility of communicating with two or more websites. Even though they are encoded in different languages.
Summarizing the concept, the Headless CMS decouples the Front-end (the visible face of eCommerce) from the Back-end (the logical part of eCommerce) allowing both parties to communicate through an API (Application Programming Interface). This allows information to be sent and received between the Front-end and the Back-end in a totally instantaneous way: product information, payment gateways, etc. And, thanks to its decentralized operation, it is easier to adapt the user interface without affecting the proper functioning of other areas of the business.
What is REST API
The REST API is the interface of the Headless CMS and, contrary to what one might believe, it is not particularly complex. REST fully follows the style of web architecture and it is possible to communicate with it through commands to access or modify data on the server.
This REST API is built based on a series of criteria:
- Resources are provided
- Link resources using links
- Clear messages
- Directions to identify the elements
Advantages of Headless CMS in eCommerce
Focused on eCommerce, the main advantage of a Headless CMS is that it allows companies to be more agile and flexible, increasing the potential to experience changes, based on new technological advances and future trends, thus reducing the workload and maintenance from any online store.
In fact, a headless approach frees eCommerce from the limitations of monolithic platforms, offering a solution that allows them to scale faster and improve online store performance, with the common goal of creating much more personalized customer experiences.
On the other hand, separating the Front-end from the Back-end allows multiple Front-ends to be connected to the same Back-end, pushing the content to any channel and device, such as the website, a mobile application, social networks, etc. In this way, we can enhance the omnichannel nature of our business.
But, ultimately, a Headless CMS has many other advantages:
- Possibility of using different programming languages
- Dynamic data
- Possibility to use the content in different editions and platforms
- Simultaneous and parallel actions within the web
- Greater creative freedom for developers and designers
- Unlimited amount of frontends
If you want to discover all the possibilities that the Headless CMS has, get in touch with our development team, who will be delighted to show you everything it can do for your project.