Three Major Phases for Data Access in Headless Content Management Solutions

This blog post provides some information about the three major phases for data access in content delivery solution lifecycles for headless content management solutions. If you have additional perspective on this topic, please comment on this blog post.

For background information, see this previous blog post:

Headless CMS Data Access Phases

Content delivery solutions can retrieve data (both JSON text and binary media) from the CMS during three phases of the solution lifecycle:

  • Statically during the build process.
  • Dynamically from application services.
  • Dynamically from the client application.

Statically During the Build Process

Static solutions have advantages including simplicity, scalability, and performance. Static solutions can generate dynamic experiences, for example using JavaScript to retrieve content from the CMS or otherwise dynamically from the client application (see below).

The main disadvantages of static solutions are the need to regenerate, deploy, and deliver the solution to incorporate any changes. At some scale, the size of the deployed artifact may make it unwieldly for certain purposes.

Dynamically from Application Services

Content delivery solutions can use application servers or application services such as .NET, Java, and NodeJS to implement HTTP/JSON services that consume data from the CMS dynamically, increasingly in a serverless context where customers do not need to be aware of or manage server infrastructure. Applications running in visitor devices or elsewhere access services implemented by the customer that access data from the CMS. In addition to services, application servers may use content delivery services while generating HTML to service page requests.

Dynamically from the Client Application

Granted appropriate credentials, anything that can parse JSON over a network can access content delivery services directly rather than going through application services implemented by the customer. The most common example is Jamstack applications, where JavaScript in the browser accesses continent delivery services hosted by the CMS vendor. In addition to browsers, kiosks, dedicated apps on mobile devices, and any other content delivery channels can retrieve content from the CMS at runtime, as any CMS should be omni-channel/multi-channel.

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