API-First Drupal and the Future of the CMS

Preston So - Development Manager, Acquia Labs

Is the future of content management decoupled? Centralization around a single source of content has never been more important as marketers aim to reach a growing array of channels and touchpoints. New tools known as headless CMSes providing content as a service are challenging the monolithic architecture that has long characterized CMSes like Drupal. What role do Drupal and traditional CMSes play in an increasingly API-first playing field and fragmented future?

New architectural techniques such as JavaScript isomorphism and server-side prerendering illustrate the urgency of this question, while new approaches for querying data that aim to replace strictly RESTful architectures assign the CMS a primarily content-focused role. With the recent turn toward API-first approaches, what the future holds for longstanding CMSes like Drupal has never been a more pressing, or more intriguing, concern.

This tech talk will examine the role that Drupal and other CMSes occupy amidst a rapidly changing universe. Topics will include:

  • Impacts on markup, performance, security, and the relationship between the front end and back end against the backdrop of decoupled Drupal and the headless CMS
  • Imagining the API-first future and what this means for Drupal
  • Web services: REST, JSON API, and GraphQL
  • The benefits of SDKs such as Waterwheel