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Headless Einstein figure

Drupal is a tried and tested CMS. It is generally applied with a classic, monolithic architecture. This means that the front end and the back end are both hosted on the same server. Similar to other monolithic systems, you develop material on a Drupal back-end, and it is later shown on a Drupal front-end. However, Drupal can be utilised without a graphical user interface.

Drupal as we know it

Open-source content management system Drupal had its debut in 2001. Since then, its user base and development community have both expanded significantly. After being made available on Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, it is now also available on Drupal 9. However, the Drupal 10 version is planned to be made available in December 2022. Many well-known businesses and teams, like Tesla, Oxford University, and Nokia, adopt Drupal, which is arguably the best enterprise-level CMS available.

When it comes to content management, flexibility is Drupal's main idea. In addition to traditional CMS features like content generation, editing, and publishing, the modular design of the CMS enables users to construct more dynamic online experiences for the end user.

Monolithic Drupal CMS systems have their front and back ends housed on the same server and managed from the same administrative interface (the Drupal back end). There are many reasons why this tried-and-true approach has been used for so long in the production of written material and online platforms: it simply works. However, it has become increasingly difficult for content teams to remain competitive in recent years due to the growth of new distribution methods.

The rising acceptance of headless content management systems

Due to the ever-changing nature of the client ecosystem, headless CMS was developed and has shown steady growth in popularity over the past few years. Customers are using many channels to consume material at once. Additionally, new channels are continuously emerging, such as those for smart home equipment. Companies need to adapt their content for cross-platform distribution in order to reach their target audiences.

With monolithic CMSes, this can be a time-consuming and laborious process. This is why the detached approach is gaining popularity. It allows businesses to rapidly create, update, and publish content across various channels without having to set up and maintain separate content management systems for each.

The definition of Headless Drupal

To fully enjoy headless' benefits, you must first understand how it works. As opposed to a unified content management system, this structure has several moving parts. The system lacks a user-facing interface. The admin panel is the sole place where material is created, updated, and managed (and optional custom integrations).

When finished, the content can be distributed by API to any distribution method of your choosing. It could be an app for a mobile device, a website, an e-commerce portal, or something else entirely. This setup is why going headless has become so popular recently. Instead of restricting the content, it improves how you may distribute it through the channels available.

Imagine that in addition to a web app, your company offers native iOS, Android, and Windows Phone applications, as well as two sample apps that show off its features.

If you're using a centralised content management system, you'll need to post the same content multiple times for each of these channels. With a headless content management system, though, you'd only need to add the content once, and the API would distribute it to all of your platforms.

When entering data such as a limited-time promotion or an important change for users, this helps save time and reduces human error. Having a decoupled Drupal configuration provides all the benefits of a headless CMS in addition to the benefits of Drupal, which your company may already be using.

The benefits of decoupled Drupal

Drupal's user-friendly interface and feature set make it a pleasure to work with. This familiarity with Drupal's backend makes it understandable that you and your team might be hesitant to switch to a headless solution, even if it seems like a good fit. The bright side is that you can keep using your existing Drupal installation even if you decide to adopt a headless approach. It is possible to modify your current setup so that you can take full advantage of Drupal and the many benefits of the API-first, headless world.

When is it appropriate to use a headless content management system?

Perhaps the most important aspect of headless is that it does not have to rely on a single content delivery channel, such as a website, because of the use of APIs. It is possible to use a headless CMS for all of your channels, whether they are internal (such as an intranet) or external (such as a web app or mobile app). When, though, would it pay off to go from a centralised Drupal CMS to a decentralised "headless" Drupal environment?

Make your digital product easier to use

Choosing a headless Drupal CMS is a great move if the success of your business hinges on your customers' reactions to your digital offering. The reason for this is that with a headless CMS, you may design the user interface of your digital product anyway you choose.

As opposed to a unified CMS, you have complete freedom in deciding which technologies you use. There is no purpose in migrating your complete ecosystem of digital goods to a new CMS if you already have one. Your best chance is to deploy a headless solution that works with what you already have in place.

You'll find it much easier to produce and oversee content in this way, and you can rest assured that your users will continue to have a positive experience.

Make use of up-and-coming channels of communication and emerging platforms to reach out to customers.
It's excellent to use a headless Drupal CMS if you want to try out novel approaches to content distribution and build points of contact to reach out to new audiences. It allows for the instantaneous dissemination of content across all platforms.

Here, smart home assistants like the Amazon Alexa or the Google Home would make a great showpiece. Their use has grown in prominence among consumers over the past few years, and they are now an integral part of many people's daily routines. Many companies use headless content management systems to serve their content on these gadgets or to manage payments made with them. This may be impossible with a monolithic CMS or need extensive additional work to execute, depending on the unique technical requirements of the CMS and the platform.

Security at the heart

Another attraction to headless is the possibility it may help firms better protect their digital products from unauthorised access. Many monolithic CMS platforms may increase the possibility of security breaches due to their use of third-party plugins and extensions.

You have significantly more control over the infrastructure and can make sure the solution is sufficiently safeguarded with a headless Drupal setup. Hackers are unable to access the backend server, which is why headless is safer. The frontend server is the sole server that can be accessed from the outside world.

Manage the information displayed in your apps on native mobile devices

A headless Drupal CMS is also great for handling content across numerous native mobile apps or if you now simply have one mobile app but have expansion goals in the future. It works best with native apps but may be used with cross-platform apps too, such as those built using Flutter or React Native. Instead of using multiple tools for each operating system, you and your team can manage content in a single area while having total control over the native code.

Maintaining your intranet is easier

Many firms use customised intranets. With a headless Drupal CMS, it's easier to grow and maintain internal ecosystems, which might be quite beneficial for these kinds of solutions. Using a headless content management system (CMS), you can modify and expand your intranet without disrupting the rest of your technology stack.