The architecture of a headless CMS is very flexible, making it excellent for dynamic data processing and content-as-a-service (CaaS) services. It can also be used to enrich and enhance product information and e-commerce sites for B2B and B2C markets.
The individual technical components that make up a headless CMS and their functions are explained in more detail below. The first core element is the backend itself. In it all contents are administered, which are entered in form form. They are basically maintained in a structured and format-neutral way. The structure is divided into titles, text blocks, individual photos, product names and descriptions, and links. Format-neutral means that all content is unformatted, i.e. it does not exist in a particular design or layout. They therefore do not exist as complete pages, but are only reassembled and formatted into a page in the respective front ends.
The second core element is APIs (Application Programming Interfaces or interfaces) – also called REST API or RESTful API. These APIs are programming interfaces that describe how networked resources in the network – for example, a cloud – are defined and addressed. The basic principle of the REST API is statelessness, which states that all information necessary to understand messages can be used anywhere. They are based on the paradigms and behavior of the Internet and describe an architectural approach to communication between client and server. With the help of the APIs, individual systems can always be programmed according to the same pattern.
Different frontends act as output – from normal web browsers to virtual reality glasses. However, the templates are developed separately from the CMS. Thus, they can be written in any programming language and use many different technologies. The templates themselves consist of containers that are filled with content. The respective frontend fetches the content from the containers and can be displayed through multiple channels. The template used determines the layout and design. Other backend systems can also be connected to a headless CMS via an API for data exchange. This allows, for example, products and videos to be integrated into the website.
Small software solutions – so-called microservices – can also be integrated into a headless CMS. For example, it becomes possible to integrate a credit card payment via an app in order to make a direct purchase. For users, the microservices fit seamlessly into the overall offering, but run completely separately from the company’s own systems.