As the number and variety of digital experiences continues to expand, many development teams are turning to headless CMS solutions, or decoupled CMS solutions, to deliver content to different audiences on a wide range of channels and devices.

Drupal is one of the most powerful and popular solutions in the world for building and managing digital experiences. A growing number of organizations are using decoupled Drupal as a headless CMS, relying on Drupal’s open source, API-first content management system as a powerful back-end content repository, efficiently delivering content to the front-end tools that are best for any particular job.

How a headless CMS delivers greater flexibility

The content management system has been the foundation of web development for over two decades, providing a way of storing, managing and accessing data (the back-end) with a way of displaying data for users (the front-end). With the rapid rise of ways to consume digital information, a headless content management system or headless CMS, enables development teams to use the back-end of one CMS while rendering content for a wide variety of channels using different front-end tools. 

Drupal’s popularity and superior performance has created a rising demand for headless Drupal capabilities that enable development teams to take advantage of Drupal’s powerful back-end ecosystem of tools, web services and integrations.

With a solution for headless Drupal 8 architecture, development teams can continue to rely on Drupal for back-end services and content management while employing any front-end technology that is right for a specific digital experience. With decoupled Drupal as a headless CMS, developers can serve content to a wide range of front-end formats, including:

  • Websites, mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches
  • Internet of Things devices and apps
  • Digital signage 
  • Conversational UIs like Alexa, Siri and Cortana
  • Native applications for specific devices
  • Augmented and virtual reality platforms
  • CRM systems and chat platforms

Making Drupal your headless CMS

For development teams looking to deploy Drupal as a headless CMS, Acquia Cloud provides a comprehensive and powerful platform for building, hosting and managing Drupal 8 sites as well as decoupled Drupal applications. 

Providing everything developers need to build Drupal-based experiences – including fully managed hosting, development tools and enterprise-grade security – Acquia Cloud also supports Node.js runtime, allowing developers to use a single interface as they work with Drupal and their preferred JavaScript framework when developing decoupled or standalone applications.

With Acquia, developers can use Drupal in three modes. They can work with Drupal as a fully headless CMS, where Drupal serves content to a JavaScript application that is responsible for rendering and markup and that can communicate with Drupal via web service APIs. Acquia also allows developers to deploy hybrid (progressively decoupled) Drupal, where a JavaScript framework is layered on top of an existing Drupal front-end, or to build a site with traditional Drupal, where Drupal is responsible for both the back-end content and the front-end presentation.

Benefits of Drupal as a headless CMS

Relying on Acquia Cloud to manage Drupal as an open source, API-first, central data service, you can:

  • Enjoy front-end flexibility: With Drupal as your headless CMS, developers can create any front-end experience using the tools they prefer.
  • Create once, publish everywhere: A headless CMS like Drupal enables marketers and publishers to create content and deliver it to the vast and growing list of channels that aren’t tied to a website.
  • Maintain a single source for content: Headless Drupal enables all content to be kept in a single repository, simplifying version control, brand management and content organization.
  • Use an API-first approach: With Acquia and Drupal as your headless CMS, developers can use a set of APIs for data consumption rather than building an entire stack.
  • Accelerate production timelines: By enabling front-end and back-end teams to work concurrently, headless Drupal may allow applications to move through development stages more quickly.
  • Keep developers happy: Drupal’s headless CMS allows developers who are experienced in other front-end platforms to work with their preferred tools.

Why choose Acquia to manage your headless CMS with Drupal?

Founded by the same open source pioneer who founded Drupal, Acquia is an open digital experience company that enables ambitious brands to embrace innovation and create customer moments that matter. With Drupal in our DNA, we have unprecedented insight into the way that Drupal works and how, a headless CMS, Drupal can make it easier to build, manage and optimize exceptional digital experiences with a variety of front-end technologies.

Having invested in the development of Drupal as a headless CMS system for nearly 5 years, Acquia’s support for Node.js runtime now allows developers to use a single platform and a single interface to develop and run Drupal and Node.js applications, making Drupal a leading choice for headless CMS deployments for development teams everywhere.

What is a headless CMS?

What is a headless CMS?

A headless CMS is a content management system where the head – the front-end that manages the way in which content is presented – can be decoupled or separated from the back-end, which provides tools for storing, managing and accessing content. 

What are the benefits of headless CMS?

A headless CMS allows development teams to take advantage of the back-end functionality of a particular CMS while using any front-end technology to deliver data to a wide range of devices. As the number of ways that audiences consume digital information continues to grow, a headless CMS enables development teams to be far more flexible and agile in serving content to everything from websites and mobile phones to Internet of Things devices, smart speakers, digital signage, CRM systems and more.

What is headless Drupal

Drupal is a leading, open source content management system used by millions of individuals and organizations worldwide. Headless Drupal refers to a Drupal implementation that uses Drupal’s back-end capabilities to manage and deliver content while using the front-end capabilities from other platforms and software to control how the content is presented.

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