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      Building Feature-Rich Interactive Websites with Headless Drupal

      Nov 24, 2021

      3 minute read

      User experience (UX) is key to driving successful business interactions. And to provide an effective user experience, businesses rely on content management systems (CMS).

      But given the rapid growth of digital channels, your agile business requires innovative solutions to manage and deliver consistent user experiences all across.

      Enter Headless CMS.

      Decoupled from its front end, Headless CMS enables you to add on different APIs to publish content on different channels, thus offering users true omnichannel experiences.

      Headless Drupal is one such popular headless approach that empowers you with fast and interactive digital experiences.

      So, how exactly does headless Drupal do that? Let’s find out.

      What is Headless Drupal?

      Conventionally, a Drupal CMS manages both the backend and frontend of the website. But in headless Drupal, the frontend is replaced by a client-side framework.

      This allows you to adopt advanced front-end technologies like ReactJS and AngularJS to deliver content while leveraging the power of Drupal for the backend content repository.

      Drupal 8 introduced REST APIs in Drupal 8.0 core for its headless architecture. Later on, further improvements were made to provide better RESTful and non-RESTful web services like JSON-API and GraphQL.

      The headless Drupal architecture sends out data in HTTP/JSON formats which is then rendered by a frontend UI framework. Additionally, the user request does not need to be processed by the server all the time, thus enhancing the load time and UX of the website.

      Why Choose Headless Drupal?

      Although Drupal websites are built to multi-task and are capable of delivering rich user experiences on their own, you may feel the need to upgrade to headless Drupal if you want instantaneous responses with seamless multi-channel content experiences.

      With headless Drupal, you’ll be able to utilize cutting-edge and modern front-end technologies with the robust backend of Drupal.

      Here are some key benefits of going headless with Drupal.

      benefits of headless drupal

      1. Write Once, Publish Anywhere

      With headless Drupal architecture, you can create content once and publish it on multiple channels via APIs. This enables you to cater to various audiences and provide consistent experiences across mediums like websites, mobile applications, IoT, and more.

      2. Effective Presentation

      Drupal is written in PHP but to create a more interactive UI, Javascript and other frontend frameworks are better options. Marrying Drupal with an effective client-side framework yields a richer, faster, and seamless experience.

      3. Team Diversification

      With separate frontend and backend technologies, you can diversify your team with specialized developers so they can work independently on different components for speedy outcomes.

      4. Enhanced Efficiency

      Headless Drupal reduces your business’ dependency on a single platform, thus, resulting in more flexibility and efficiency of the Drupal content model. Moreover, in the case of multiple sites, Drupal can serve as a shared content engine with a different delivery end for each microsite.

      headless drupal engine

      Top Websites with Headless Drupal

      Owing to its various benefits, many businesses have gone the headless Drupal route. Some examples include: – AngularJS frontend

      The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – Node.js + Backbone.js

      The Drupal Hivemind – AngularJS frontend

      Is Headless Drupal for You?

      It’s true that headless Drupal can help you achieve your speed and UX goals, but there are certain things you’ll miss out on with this approach. These include:

      Layout Management: You’ll lose access to Drupal’s highly configurable page layout management that can place elements in various parts of the page without coding.

      Preview: Editors will have to add content without previewing the end result. One has to separately architect the preview option if needed.

      Additional Cost: You might have to spend more for specialized front-end developers and rebuild certain features that were earlier freely available.

      Final Notes

      Headless Drupal is an interesting approach with the promise of faster, interactive, and feature-rich websites for businesses. It is, however, not without its cons. Hence, a suitable way would be to get an expert opinion before going down this road.

      Need Help with Your Headless Drupal Strategy? Contact Us!

      Our Drupal certified developers have years of experience delivering effective and scalable solutions to businesses of all sizes. To learn more about our services, drop a line at [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.

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