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Headless CMS and Decoupled CMS Explained

What matters when choosing a suitable Content Management System

Headless CMS, decoupled CMS, coupled CMS - explained

When choosing a suitable Content Management System for a company, one will definitely also come across these two types of systems: decoupled CMS and headless CMS. It is essential to learn what both types of CMSs can and cannot do.

Headless CMSs don’t have a presentation layer

By design, a headless CMS can only store structured data, it cannot display it. What needs to be done to actually show the content to the audience? Another application, or a range of applications, needs to be provided in order to present the data in different channels. Therefore, in contrast to getting a traditional Content Management System that can power a website once installed and configured, choosing a headless CMS makes sense if you want or need to remain open with respect to the presentation layer.

Traditional Content Management Systems are not future-proof

Traditional CMS platforms were not designed to deliver content to multiple channels (omnichannel). They were designed to operate one or a few websites. If you only want to manage websites, a traditional CMS may be the right choice, but in the era of mobile apps, VR, smart TVs, smartwatches, smart speakers, smart fridges, smart cars, and smart-everything, it’s wise to plan for the future and be ready for your content to be delivered to many different channels with a modern CMS.

A man explaining what a headless CMS and decoupled CMS are

Omnichannel/multi-channel is a must-have these days

In order to deliver highly dedicated content from a Content Management System to different channels, an individual “head” for each of them is needed. Take, for example, a mobile app and compare it to a smartwatch. Consistent and differently tailored information needs to be delivered to users, always taking account of the platform they use. For this, enterprises cannot rely on an old-school, monolithic CMS.

A headless CMS is a low-level content storage and manipulation interface

The primary task of headless CMSs is to persist content and make it accessible through APIs in cases where providing, manipulating, and presenting the data is delegated to apps, the heads. Some, but not all, headless CMSs free a company from having to think about, set up and maintain databases, too often an error-prone and expensive undertaking, particularly if it needs to be accomplished on one’s own premises, e.g. for data security reasons.

With respect to data consistency and availability as well as stability and performance aspects, no advantages accrue from using a headless CMS compared to other CMS types because it’s the backend used for handling the data that matters.

If a headless CMS turns out to be the best choice for your use cases, make sure that its API lets you access your data as fine grained as needed and delivers it in a format your applications can process with ease. You can then provide a head for your editors to maintain the content and keep it consistent, as well as further heads for the various channels you wish to address.

Decoupled CMSs provide tools for maintaining content and creating websites

A decoupled CMS is basically a headless CMS with fully fledged CMS functionality. In contrast to a headless CMS, a decoupled CMS comes with tools for maintaining content and creating websites – on top of the API for persisting and accessing content. These can include a more or less rich editing interface, HTML templates, asset management, etc., i.e. the things companies need first to quickly get started with web publishing, but, of course, not the heads for handling the other possible channels. Those additional heads can then be developed in subsequent steps.

If this approach is yours, you might want to consider evaluating decoupled CMSs first.

Scrivito is a headless/decoupled CMS

While Scrivito can be considered a decoupled CMS, it is also a headless CMS. However, it is unique to both in that it integrates into your React-based website or application rather than requiring a completely separate editing application. So, as you integrate Scrivito, you also integrate the head. This unique feature offers so much more than your typical decoupled CMS and provides the “head” missing from the typical headless CMS. Using the toolbox provided by the Scrivito SDK, your developers can create a bespoke CMS that works for your unique company. With this in mind, the Scrivito Example App was developed and provided via open source as a sample head for the website channel.

Once you create an account with Scrivito, you can already start designing your pages. We have put a lot of effort into the Example App to make building websites easy using customizable widgets and an intuitive WYSIWYG editing interface. You can deliver great results really quickly with our Web CMS Scrivito, develop web projects rapidly and serve content fast through a global CDN.

WCMS Scrivito is built for enterprises, so we also made sure that real-time collaboration is well organized using working copies and customizable workflows. Working copies offer sophisticated concurrency control and assure consistency before publishing. Everything can be done using Scrivito, and everything can be undone if necessary.

Of course, Scrivito also has all the functionality a headless CMS has, so content can be set up in a structured way and then retrieved by any other application using a powerful API.

If you have any questions about Scrivito, do not hesitate and schedule a consultation with one of our experts, or test Scrivito for free.

Learn more about enterprise SaaS CMS Scrivito

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