Beyond Headless CMS: The Opportunity is Greater Than Technical Architecture
A new headless CMS every few months? We see it as good news
The industry is finally seeing the opportunity in a headless, decoupled or API-based CMS approach. We were fortunate enough to have pioneered this movement since the very beginning and we are confident that there is still a big chance for change in the future of CMS for websites and apps.
We are aware that in order to create a better future for content management, technical architecture alone cannot be our only driver. The Headless CMS concepts provides a very solid architectural foundation. But we need to think bigger and take this movement to the next level.
WHeadless CMS in a nutshell
The Headless CMS idea is simple, and you might have thought of it on your own before it became popular.
After the democratization of website and app building tools, programming languages and frameworks, developers didn't need a content management systems to actually build their websites and apps.
The true complexity comes with managing and storing the content. A headless CMS backend is the solution to that. It provides them with high quality editing and publishing tools, exposes a powerful API for them to query content. That content can then be integrated it into their pages and screens using their favorite programming languages as well as frameworks.
Headless CMS is more than a database and an API
However, the architectural beauty of the headless CMS’ approach for managing content should not distract from solving other CMS challenges. Probably stating the obvious here, but a CMS’ main focus should be authoring tools.
Be nice to marketers and publishers. Empower them!
This new approach of API based CMS brought a lot of power and flexibility to developers in modeling their content and in building their applications and websites.
But with great power comes great responsibility. Website and app developers need to think of the everyday users of a CMS: Marketers and publishers spend most their time in the authoring tool.
Moreover, Developers and Marketers’ requirements can often be at odds. A simple example of this is with content modeling: Developers strive for code reuse and thus for breaking content into small pieces.
Uncareful fractioning and scattering of content can be harmful to a marketer’s experience. Just imagine an editor trying to find which fractions correspond to a specific corner of her homepage could be a nightmare for her!
Because of this, CMS developers have become publishing experience designers, and it is our role at prismic.io to simplify their task of delivering an excellent publishing experience for their editors and marketers.
A CMS should leverage marketing value
Marketing practices are evolving very fast. A great CMS should provide the tools to implement the latest marketing and publishing practices as well as trends.
It should also improve the productivity and collaboration, that goes beyond just Headless CMS.
Beyond headless: the future of CMS
We strongly believe that there is a huge opportunity to bring a better CMS future for everyone: marketers, editors and developers. But to accomplish that, we need to face difficult problems, think and analyze, sometime there is no easy path.
Because of this, we have several core principles that guide prismic.io’s development:
A catalyst for developers:
Free! We know developers bring value to our platform, that’s why we have a free plan for them to play around with the technology and implement personal projects.
Super fast to start with. Just create a repository and start dragging & dropping fields to model your posts, pages and products.
Get rid of the repetitive annoying work. Developers should focus on bringing value, anything else should be handled by prismic.io
We do all the heavy lifting. Developers should not have to worry about scalability, performance and availability. The platform should take care of it out of the box.
Powerful and flexible for marketers:
Design and UX matter. Because publishers spend a large amount of their time creating content, the backend has to be enjoyable and productive.
Mind the GAP, bring correspondence between the CMS backend and pages/screens. This is essential for a headless, decoupled CMS. Prismic provides preview and edit buttons to help connect the frontend to the management backend. Publishers can seamlessly go back and forth between content and screens using this functionality.
Allow automation to reduce human errors. Humans can’t do a machine’s job, taking care of the repetitive work gives marketers the time to create better digital experiences for their users and customers
Content Project Management. Give the tools to improve team collaboration. Prismic.io has two features to address that:
- Releases and Roles: Releases allow you to group changes into individual projects, preview and schedule them before publishing. You can have releases for new product launches, discounts, announcements or simply to organize projects with teams
- Translation and Localization Workflows: Translation and Localization shouldn’t just be technical. A CMS should deliver a way to assign teams to languages and locales, and notify users of new work to be done.
Deliver the tools for new marketing:
The future of CMS doesn’t have to match its past. Marketing has hugely evolved in the last 10 years, and new CMSs need to provide value, tangible marketing value. Here are a few examples:
Dynamic Layouts for campaigns (landing pages, micro websites). Landing pages and micro websites have become extremely important tools for targeting and personalisation of modern marketing.
Prismic.io provides content slices. Content slices are configured and implemented by developers. Once built, they enable publishers to freely mix and match components to build their landing pages and micro websites, without compromising design unity.
A/B testing. Prismic.io Experiments allow you to connect to a google analytics account and perform A/B and multi-variant tests to optimize your content for your apps and websites.
Our goal is to work with the best marketing and publishing teams in the world and create the best tools for them.
We work with a community of developers & marketers
To accomplish such a large ambition, we need to work with a community of doers. We love working with our growing community that helps us understand their challenges and gives us early feedback. In order to truly get the most out of our community we setup some guidelines:
- Analyze the problem first, before jumping to solutions.
- Any feedback is interesting and welcome, especially when it comes with a real and concrete use case.
- To innovate, we need to be careful not to let old habits have too much influence on new solutions.
- Release a very early version of a given feature (after 1-2 weeks of work), iterate with the community until we reach perfection.
As you can tell, we're not done building the future of CMS. And we'd love for you to help us.
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