The future of web is here.
I’m so inspired by the simple concept of a headless CMS that I feel the need to share my thoughts on it with you. The impact headless CMSs can have on digital business is significant and feel more people need to learn about the process and start using it. I hope this post inspires you to consider going headless.
Nine years ago I was part of a team at Sony Music that created an award-winning digital ecosystem for the debut of The X-Factor in the United States. The concept was to target younger audiences by digitalizing experiences that went far-beyond anything the world had seen before in broadcast television.
Our concept was nothing short of a multiscreen masterpiece, delivering a plethora of exclusive content during live broadcasts and every day between live shows. The digital ecosystem also allowed fans to interact across multiple screens at the same time.
This quick video we produced at the time pretty much says it all.
What did it take?
The infrastructure behind the scenes of The X-Factor Digital Ecosystem was pretty intense. The starting point was Drupal and with months of custom development we were able to extend the reach of its database to power desktop, mobile and tablet applications for nearly every kind of device on the market.
With an army of developers we connected various applications to the database to integrate points systems, user accounts, voting and a whole lot more. It was a significant technical infrastructure to build at the time, and it would be extremely inefficient and wasteful with all the modern tools we have today.
A new way: The headless CMS.
It’s nearly 2020. While we all thought we would be travelling around in tubes and flying cars by now, the fantasy world of the digital space has indeed seemed to keep pace with many of our expectations. We are able to explore places we never dreamed of being able to see with virtual reality and we have digital money independent of government oversight with cryptocurrency. It’s an amazing time to be alive!
In an era of lightning-fast evolution in the digital space, it’s only natural that our experience should shift to match how we interact with it. Enter the headless CMS.
The definition of a headless CMS is really simple even if you only have a basic understanding of the web. Web applications (like websites) are typically built leveraging a content management system that has front-end and back-end. The front-end is everything you see and interact with, and the back-end is where all the deeper functional elements of the application happen. The back-end is the body, and the front-end is the head. And, as you might have guessed, a headless CMS is a content management system without a front-end.