Simply copy and paste the following command line in your terminal to create your first Strapi project.
npx create-strapi-app my-project --quickstart
There are so many ways to reach your audience now that keeping up with all the channels users expect is an ongoing struggle. Adapting your software architecture to support everything is like trying to keep plates spinning in the air
Monolithic software platforms make the job harder. Working new channels into your system takes time and makes your setup more complex. Each new change comes with increased risk and cost. Make a big enough mistake and the whole lot could crash down.
Using a headless architecture to keep your content and data separate can mitigate these problems. With a simple API, you can pipe content into each of your channels and then tune and change them as needed.
Let’s talk about how a headless CMS can help you stay ahead of the competition, and how it supports modern content needs.
A typical monolithic setup keeps the authoring system, the data layer, and the presentation together, which is what most server-hosted websites do. If you run Salesforce or WordPress, you use the same platform to create content and to present it to users.
Headless architecture separates your authoring and data from the presentation layer. In a CMS, that means you’re free to supply backend data to multiple frontend channels, which access the common data store through an API.
This gives you greater flexibility to add and update new vectors for reaching your audience. Each channel can be designed independently. As long as it follows the API, you can work on it without needing to change anything on the backend.
On early websites, content was usually static, but later monolithic platforms build sites dynamically, injecting data into their frontend template designs. The first way is slow and inefficient, but the second puts pressure on your servers, especially when traffic is high. Dynamic sites are also vulnerable to malicious attack.
With the right headless solution, you can build static pages dynamically and then serve them repeatedly until the next time your content is updated. That has speed and security benefits, giving your customers a better experience and reducing your costs.
Your customer-facing servers just have to deliver static content, and as users interact with this layer, they have less scope to cause security issues.
A headless system that deploys to multiple frontend channels can also give your creators a single intuitive interface. You can add components and features to it, which are then available for all channels. You can also easily create links between them.
To reach the broadest range of people, you need to promote your content across multiple channels. As well as a website, you may have smartphone apps, content for wearables, smart TV applications, and more. Managing it all is potentially challenging, so the simpler you can make it, the better.
A headless CMS simplifies the movement of data, allowing developers of assorted backend and frontend systems to exchange data via API without having to worry about the internals of the other tools. It also means you can plug in various frontend applications quickly, without risking your whole system.
To begin designing your headless CMS, you would first need to decide what your API will include. Content modelling is the process of defining your APIs and the data format and structures you will use to communicate with frontend channels. There are lots of technical decisions to make at this stage and getting them right for your purposes will affect the efficiency and speed of your system.
The content architecture you put in place can make it easy for you to create and reuse content that powers multiple channels. One of the benefits of having your own API is that you can modify it, removing and adding services as required.
However, if you haven’t developed an API before, you may have limited understanding of what you need. You’ll gain that understanding as you progress, but getting help from a specialist team can help you make better decisions from the start and avoid having to make changes later.
There are several ways a headless system helps you get better results.
With headless, your backend becomes a content hub that supplies data to multiple frontend channels, and your core components are shared. Everyone can work on the same platform, with a common interface and tools.
Having a single interface makes it easy for different people to learn and train others how to use it. With multiple systems, knowledge is fragmented, and people may only know how to use their own tools. For example people that deploy content to your web app might not know how to deploy it to your mobile app.
You can tailor your interface to the needs of your team, too, which is particularly important if you have non-technical people working for you. With permission management, you can give people the rights to read or edit whatever is appropriate for them. And with everyone working on the same software, you increase visibility across your organization.
You can also compare metrics, such as how many times content is viewed. That can give you insight into what content might work on other channels. User data can also help you decide what works best and where.
Keeping everything together saves your teams from repeating themselves, and the content hub makes managing everything simpler overall. It’s much easier to build a coherent, cross-channel strategy when you have common tools and metrics to work with.
Say you want to deliver content in a new format. How does that work? With a monolith, you may need to find a dedicated plugin, and even then you’ll be limited to the functionality it offers.
With a headless CMS, you can work on deploying the new format separately. If a ready-made app is available, you may be able to pipe the content directly in, especially if it uses a standard format, such as JSON. That allows content creators and technical teams to work with a higher degree of autonomy than the more traditional content pipelines of a monolith.
Designers and content producers don’t have to worry about the complexities of updates or deployment on the backend. Developers can handle that, with minimal impact on the creative team.
As a case in point, Google's new AMP stories let you deliver visually rich stories in a method designed specifically for mobile. It uses limited image sizes and aims to provide a narrative flow, with chunks of text displayed over each image.
When sports paper L’Équipe began using AMP stories, it benefited from having an independent backend and frontend connected via microservices. Using Strapi, they reduced their development time for new apps to days rather than weeks.
A headless CMS lets you push whatever data your channels you need. If you want to use a particular video or audio format to deliver podcasts, you can, and you can use or build a channel to deliver it precisely how you intend.
You also only have to upload files to a single place, and then the content is available to all your frontend channels. You can adjust or edit it at the source, and the changes will be reflected everywhere.
For example, if you have a podcast, you can use a single file as the source and make it available to your presentation layer via your API. If you want to edit it, then you only have to change it once, and all your content channels will use it without having to be specifically updated.
If you have apps for different devices, you can provide them with content via a single content management system, and again, a single change is all you need if you want to update content on every channel you provide.
Your backend then becomes the backbone for your entire organization. Rather than have multiple versions of the same content, you can keep it all in one place, with platform specifics handled by the various frontend applications. You can use your single authoring platform to access everything.
Features like tagging can work across platforms, letting you view content for multiple sources, as well as separate content for specific channels as needed. With a headless CMS, you have the flexibility to take multiple approaches with managing your content, making it easier to adjust your workflow to suit your team.
Adapting quickly to take advantage of new opportunities is much easier when you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The modular approach of a headless CMS means you can change direction fast and adapt your services to the needs of your team and your users. With content stored in one place and an API to get data in and out, you can power multiple channels while maintaining control of your architecture.
With Strapi, you can get up to speed with a headless system that handles the technical side for you, letting you get straight into producing and distributing your content. If you don’t have developers on hand, or if you just want to get started quickly, get in touch with Strapi and see what they can do.
Uncertain if he's a coder who writes or a writer who codes, James tries to funnel as much of this existential tension as possible into both of his passions but finds it of more benefit to his writing than his software. When occasionally hopping out from behind his keyboard, he can be found jogging and cycling around suburban Japan.