This blog post describes some considerations for exporting data from Contentstack to a file system including both JSON and binary media. I have already implemented a static site generator for .NET and intend to extend that to generate JSON and media files described in this post as time permits (and especially if anyone shows any interest or volunteers to help!), which would likely lead to additional considerations.
Jamstack solutions typically deploy static files to a content delivery network (CDN). When a browser requests a page, the CDN serves the corresponding file with no additional processing.
Typically, the client requests JSON directly from the CMS. This approach has some disadvantages, such as exposing the CMS in use and its security tokens, but also tightly the content delivery solution to vendor-specific aspects of the CMS, which is against the objectives of headless systems.
Alternatives are possible, such as having content delivery access a system that contains a shadow of data in the CMS rather than accessing it directly. In selecting an approach, consider the need for frequency and immediacy in publishing and its impact on the solution.
To allow client-side rendering without the need for dynamic data from the CMS, solutions maybe able embed some or all the required JSON in the HTML served in the first response to the visitor. Alternatively, solutions can export the JSON, such as to the same file system used by the CDN hosting the website. Solutions that require dynamic data from the CMS may be able to use search indexes to store the JSON.
When exporting a small volume of JSON to files, the directory structure need not be complex. Some solutions may store all .json files for each content type in separate folders. A larger number of entries requires a more complex solution, such as a directory structure based on the URL paths of the entries.
Exporting assets involves exporting both metadata and binary data for the media.
By default, the solution will use the URLs of media assets hosted on Contentstack’s content delivery network. You may choose to export text content but let Contentstack host binary content.
Apply any required transformations, such as optimizations, when generating static files from images.
Consider creating a directory structure based on the media folder structure, which is only available through the content management API and not the content delivery API. Otherwise, consider creating a directory structure based on asset identifiers, but under /assets or /cms/assets rather than directly under the document root.
When retrieving data from file fields of entries, map Contentstack asset URLs to file paths.
Consider rewriting references to Contentstack asset URLs in markup and other fields, preferably before storage as JSON.
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