Can API-Driven Technology Help Save the Media?

The digital age has not been kind to media outlets. While the importance of a message, its medium, and knowing how and where to spread it is becoming ever more critical, it doesn’t help that in most cases the media is being held back by old online digital architecture.

Can new technology save media from being trapped by slow, siloed, and expensive traditional systems? The so-called Headless CMS (content management system) tears apart the monolithic website architecture from 10 years ago, replacing it with a flexible API-led approach at a far lower cost and a new level of efficiency and flexibility.  This approach enables the same content to be displayed on nearly any device -- a website, smartphone, smartwatch, you name it. This represents a big step forward for publishing in efficiency and in lowering costs.

What is the headless CMS?

The headless CMS represents the next step in the ever-evolving strategies and technologies behind publishing on the Internet. A headless setup opens up an incredible level of flexibility, making it simple to publish on any medium (website, smartphone, etc.). The headless CMS is completely customizable using application programming interfaces (APIs) so that content from databases and files can be accessed for display on websites or used by smartphone programs or almost anything including the Internet of Things (IoT) or virtual reality devices. In addition, the headless CMS can be used with the popular Front-end JavaScript frameworks ( React, Next.js, Node.js) giving developers the freedom to use their favorite design tools. This combination of APIs and headless CMS available as open-source software gives content creators and developers unprecedented easy access to content enabling media publishers to build better digital experiences.

What are the benefits of a headless CMS?

Rather than trying to reshape an outdated architecture, headless CMS solves the legacy problem once and for all by being future-proof by design. New channels for accessing digital content are instantly accessible with an API, key components of the Stack are easily replaceable, and Scaling is simplified.

This translates into an efficient ecosystem where media publishers have less to worry about, letting the conversation shift from basic maintenance to innovative ideas and experiments on new platforms.

Breaking it down further while keeping things simple, there are four main benefits that come with a headless solution: flexibility, performance, security, and cost.

Infinite Flexibility

When talking about headless CMS, it’s important to remember that everything comes back to the architecture. This isn’t a new form of technology or a killer app, it’s a new way to organize web development.

Relying on nothing but an API turns the entire management structure into a system that works with a universal adapter. It’s as big a change as going from proprietary I/O for every piece of hardware to using a USB for nearly everything. All that’s needed is the right adapter and you can have content wherever you want. The same data can be used and deployed across multiple platforms. Any new device, any new outlet, any new technology can be ready to serve content in minutes. All that’s needed is an API, which gives media publishers great efficiency and flexibility to push their content out.

It’s possible to deliver perfect user experiences using the latest user interfaces. With a headless CMS, customizable front-end displays adapt to whatever people want.

Lightning Fast Performance

The added flexibility that comes with moving away from the coupled stack of the monolithic CMS brings with it a nice boost to performance as well. With headless CMS, only the most relevant parts of the stack are ever running when a user makes a request, speeding the whole process by removing the number of steps.

Those benefits are amplified by the use of static websites to quickly serve content rather than rebuilding everything from scratch for every request. To paint a clearer picture, imagine how a static site generator (Gatsby, for example) gathers all the data it needs to build a website from an API created by a headless CMS. Once that site is built, there is no more need to gather the data, ensuring access to the website for all future users, reducing the number of API requests, and once again speeding up the entire process.

The cherry on top is that because of that structural change, even if the API is down and not working, the website or app will continue to Function normally since it was already successfully built.

Built-In Security

Many of the very same aspects that allow for faster performance and allow for infinite flexibility also provide better security. All components operate independently and only the most relevant parts of the stack are activated at any given time. By separating content creation from content delivery, much less is exposed publicly. The always-available static deployment that comes with a headless CMS reduces the overall surface area attack points for malicious actors. Most of the stack remains hidden making it less vulnerable to hackers.

Low Cost

The last benefit may be hard to believe, but a direct result of shifting to a headless CMS is lower cost. In fact, all the benefits listed above come with an intrinsic reduction in maintenance and management. Not to mention, there are headless CMS available as free, open-source software.

Breaking content silos allows for simpler coordination, allowing more time for the creation of effective and impactful content across all devices with less time spent struggling to manage specialized teams with different needs limited by legacy systems.

For the exact same reasons, it instantly becomes easier to target new audiences and new devices with a headless CMS. Limitations caused by building specific implementations for every emerging technology are completely eliminated. Content lives wherever end-users, customers, consumers, and visitors want to access it.

Unleash media content with a headless CMS

A headless CMS is the easy way to overcome the issues tied to proprietary, restrictive, outdated, and expensive content management, which are so vital to media publishers. It’s time for media publishers to step away from the historical baggage of their current digital publishing systems and move into the immeasurable potential of the headless CMS as the obvious path for the future to deliver impactful content.

Be sure to read the next Web Site Management article: How to Create High-performance, Scalable Content Websites Using MACH Technologies