You Shouldn't Avoid Page Management for Headless CMS by@beveloper

You Shouldn't Avoid Page Management for Headless CMS

Most headless CMS solutions avoid page management. The most common activities that editors require assistance with when working with a Headless CMS are generating pages, arranging sitemaps, and re-ordering components on a page. Page management enables editors to manage and generate content by utilizing reusable building pieces referred to building modules. A headless content management system is completely divorced from the presentation layer or front-end, which is referred to as the "head" It is also called "Content-as-a-Service" (CaaS)
image
Blessing Krofegha Hacker Noon profile picture

Blessing Krofegha

Blessing Krofegha is a Software Engineer Based in Lagos Nigeria.

Most headless CMS solutions avoid page management.

The common reason: because the content is separated from its presentation, pages cannot be managed because they are only designed for a single output - your website.

While this is correct, it misses the reality that your website is the primary anchor for online material, which necessitates a particular instance.

The most common activities that editors require assistance with when working with a Headless CMS are generating pages, arranging sitemaps, and re-ordering components on a page.

The major advantage of headless CMS is that it allows you to maintain a complex content architecture across various digital sites in a much more flexible and efficient manner. This paradigm is a major reason why people use headless CMS to deliver content to mobile applications, websites, smartwatches, AR/VR, and other devices.

On the other hand, most headless systems reject the idea of "page management," claiming that the separation of information from its presentation precludes the administration of "pages," as they are only meant for a single output, which the concerned website.

While this is correct, it misses the fact that your website is the primary anchor for online information and requires a specific scenario.

What is Headless CMS?

There are several types of headless CMSs. Some call themselves API-first, others content-first, and there are several additional variants of the headless trend. However, there is a flaw in the way most headless CMSs work. 

Most of them can manage the content storage and delivery that makes headless so appealing. These platforms acknowledge the importance of distributing information via outlets other than traditional websites. This is feasible due to the ability to connect to APIs and distribute them to any front end. However, headless CMSs do not cater to the people who create this content - the editors and marketers.

In contrast to a typical CMS, a headless content management system is completely divorced from the presentation layer or front-end, which is referred to as the "head". At the same time, the backend is your content repository and content management system, also known as the "body". When you remove your content repository's body from its display layer's head, you have a headless CMS. What distinguishes a headless CMS from a typical CMS is its content-first approach, which includes full APIs for accessing and displaying material in any way preferred.

image

A headless CMS allows you to create your content via the RESTful API and send it anywhere you need it, not only to a templated website or application. Because a pure headless CMS does not create any frontend code, it is also referred to as "Content-as-a-Service" (CaaS). This approach yields the greatest digital experience for the end-users of a certain device. Frontend developers may continue to create new features for any channel, regardless of the core/backend CMS.

Headless CMS Without Page Management

A developer often pre-determines all of the pages and routes on your site at the outset of website creation so that they can subsequently construct the content types to reflect them. But what about future pages? I'm not talking about just adding new blog posts or articles here (they are list items, not pages), but rather about adding genuine new pages to the site, maybe nested under other pages. What about landing sites, new lines of business, and so on?

The second issue arises when we have a large number of pages that we wish to add to our website. If we have to develop a new content type to express it, we'll have a lot of content kinds to specify. Some CMS systems restrict the number of content types available, charging overages when a particular threshold is reached.

That's a constraint in itself, but the greater issue here is: who is performing the work? Developers

When we predefine our pages ahead of time, a developer must undertake the effort of actually coding those routes. Then they must map those routes to the previously established content categories. Not only is it a lot of effort, but it also means we have to enlist the help of a developer every time we want to create a new page! There is an easier method.

What is Page Management?

A headless CMS is essentially a content repository that stores material for usage across many channels. This is insufficient for today's marketer and restricts the organization's overall potential. 

While simple content definitions are a useful place to start for most developers and architects, they don't scale effectively. That is why built-in page management is so popular nowadays.

Page management enables editors to generate and manage content by utilizing reusable building pieces referred to as modules. Using these construction pieces, editors may manage their site's page tree, adjust SEO, and define content connections and page functionality.

Developers may also control which modules editors may add, where they go, and what they do. Page management also involves page templates. Developers build templates to limit the types of information that may be shown on your website, providing editors the ability to change them while maintaining consistent output. Each page template contains content zones where editors may drag and drop components.

Why Headless CMS needs Page Management?

One of the main benefits of a headless CMS is that it enables companies to build a modern content architecture across different digital platforms and devices. Headless CMSs allow content teams to compose once and then publish everywhere, sending content to every platform and device customers are using.

However, while headless CMSs give you robust functionalities, some vendors claim that the separation of content and presentation that characterizes the headless architecture makes the concept of page management obsolete. Websites are pretty much the anchor for every business and ought to be special care for the contents' architecture.

Amongst others, avoiding duplicate content is a clear advantage because it increases reliability and decreases administrative burden (you don't have to cope with duplicated content across multiple channels). 

Let’s recap this one day in a life of a content editor from a typical marketing team: I need to create a new landing page specifically for the press. It will have the same content layout as the home page but just different content. I need to be able to set the SEO properties for each page, such as meta tags and meta descriptions.

On the home page, we want the YoutTube video to be BELOW the Main Rich Text, but on our press page, we want the YouTube video to remain ABOVE the Main Rich Text. Our CEO doesn't like it. Can we have the YouTube video ABOVE the Main Rich Text area on the homepage again? The instances above demonstrate that the editor's requirements are hard to foresee. It's not their fault; it's simply the way the game is. Several changes occur when managing the material. Because not using Page Management for your digital solution makes it inflexible for editors, developers spend the majority of their time accepting orders, tweaking existing code to accommodate content needs, and wishing they were doing anything else! Developers should not be required to participate in content modifications. So, what does all of this mean in the end? Editors cannot create/manage pages on their own without a developer.

Editors cannot control which components are on each page. Developers get bored or burnt out. More development resources/expenses are required. Productivity on the website suffers. And, who's at fault in this? I'll give you a hint, it's not the editor, and it's not the developer... It's the architecture! 

The Benefits of Headless CMS with Page Management

Using Page Management, you can provide editors the ability to develop and manage pages for your digital solutions by utilizing reusable building blocks (modules & page templates). Content editors may use page management to control your site's page tree, page-level SEO characteristics, and page content/functionality.

As a developer and architect, you retain complete control over which page templates are exposed to the editor, where modules may be placed on the page, and what the modules may accomplish. 

To summarize the advantages of Page Management:

  • Empowered editors who can do more without a developer
  • Happier developers who can focus on new functionality and enhancements,
  • and less time responding to new content requirements
  • Increased productivity
  • Fewer resources/expenses required

The Elements of Page Management

While checking out Headless CMS vendors, the following are some elements you should consider. However, in this article, we would be using Agility CMS as a reference because they do have robust support for page management.

There are three things to consider during development: page templates, module definitions, and digital channels and sitemaps. Let's take a look at these three elements:

  • Page Templates: Templates allow developers to determine a name and a set of modules where content editors can add content. Developers can also write code to render this template into an HTML document. 
  • Modules: Modules are reusable fields from a header to more complex UI elements such as a sliding image carousel. In short, modules are the building blocks that enable complex websites. 
  • Digital Channels and Sitemaps: A sitemap is a content structure that developers use to render the website. In Agility CMS, websites have one or more sitemaps defined, each in its channel, enabling multi-site management and granular control over each digital property. These three things are the bedrock of potential page management headless CMS.

Which Headless CMS has Page Management?

According to G2 Crowd Headless CMS grid, there are 3 leaders in this space. Let’s review their Page Management options.

Agility CMS

image

Agility CMS is the pioneer in this space. Agility had Page Management from the very beginning since 2003; it is not a recently added feature. With Agility CMS, you can define three things that make Page creation and editing simple:

  • Page Templates: Templates allow developers to determine a name and a set of modules where content editors can add content. Developers can also write code to render this template into an HTML document. 
  • Modules: Modules are reusable sets of fields that can go from a header to more complex UI elements such as a sliding image carousel. In short, modules are the building blocks that enable complex websites. 
  • Digital Channels and Sitemaps: A sitemap is a content structure that developers use to render the website. In Agility CMS, websites have one or more sitemaps defined, each in its channel, enabling multi-site management and granular control over each digital property.
  • Fields: define meta keys words and Mets descriptions, page names and decide if pages need to be shown in your sitemap right in the CMS.

Contentful

image


Compose is a brand new application by Contentful that allows you to build and publish web pages in a few steps. Compose is a streamlined version of the Contentful web app that is designed specifically for editors and authors who don’t want to mess around with the more technical aspects of Contentful. Unlike the web app, Compose does not require content modeling knowledge. Instead, editors can assemble pages from predefined content components and media without involving additional engineering resources.

Compose experience is not the same as using Contentful with Page Management and has the following characteristics:

  • Compose is used for the quick creation of web pages.
  • Pages and fields are predefined and do not require extra setup.
  • The hierarchy of the page building blocks is displayed in a single editing view.
  • Entries can be published all at once with a single click.

Kontent

image

Recently, Kontent offers Web Spotlight as their Page Management feature. Web Spotlight combines in-context website management with the flexibility and multi-channel support of a headless CMS.

Web Spotlight makes it easy to create pages, add content, and rearrange components without any help from developers. Once you’re done, add the page to your navigation so all visitors can find it. With this feature, you can update content right within the pages of your websites. Changes can be made in seconds, without wondering how everything will look once it's published.

Conclusion

Headless CMS is the future of content management, with a clear shift away from traditional CMS. Headless CMS is no longer exclusive for developers. Headless CMS systems that empower content producers while freeing developers' time are required by enterprise teams and marketing experts. 

This is where Page Management enters the picture. Content editors may use page management to build and move pages across the sitemap in any way they see appropriate. They can also add modules to websites and update the properties of these modules.

No matter how complex a headless CMS vendor package seems, it's critical to know if page management is a function they take seriously, especially if you want your website's pages and contents to be dynamically organized.

Resources

Also published on dev.to.

Tags

Join Hacker Noon

Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.