Four Kitchens

Nearly headless Drupal

2 Min. ReadDigital strategy

Drupal is a pretty strong content manager, allowing you to build robust data models, easily enable content revisioning, and build a publishing workflow complex enough for even the strictest of editorial standards. However, the blistering speed of development on Drupal 8 appears glacial when compared with the rate of invention on the frontend of web development.

Why headless?

Headless Drupal has rapidly become hot topic: DrupalCon Austin had zero sessions directly on headless, DrupalCon Amsterdam had three, and DrupalCon Los Angeles boasted EIGHT! As the business types like to say, headless is a hockey stick curve of interest. But why would you want to abandon the sleek new Twig templating framework and muck about with API requests? Many are interested in having the ability to build a central content store, with powerful editing tools, that feeds to any number of client types – web sites, native apps, the refrigerators of the future. Frontend developers are often excited to use the latest tools to build interactive, stateful web experiences with app-like stickiness. Large organizations are drawn to the natural split that occurs when you decouple the frontend development from the backend — redesigns and CMS upgrades can now take place asynchronously with separate teams.

It’s not for everyone

However, Headless Drupal isn’t the answer to every problem. The typical Headless setup either offloads rendering to the the client’s browser, where browser or bandwidth limitations can cause page loads to fail, or requires the building and hosting of a separate software stack that provides the rendered content to the client. And as we all know, the more moving parts a website has, the more surface area for monkeys to jam it up with their wrenches.

Learning more

Maybe you just want to dip your toe in the decoupled waters? Perhaps you have a new mobile app you would like to feed the most up to date data possible. Or did you run across a new dashboard framework that needs JSON feeds to show off your data?

You’re in luck! I’m presenting Nearly Headless Drupal this Saturday at NYC Camp 2015. We’ll take a look at how you can use core Drupal 8 API features to leverage the content management strengths of Drupal while taking advantage of the latest advances in frontend technologies to build more interactivity into a Drupal website with minimal effort and maximum portability.

Photo credit: Headless horseman by Windell Oskay*