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Solve Forward® is a journal of learned lessons and experiences from the digital transformation front-lines. We are here to share our experiences, and interview others who Solve Forward and learn along the way.

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GraphCMS and NextJS - The Modern HeadlessCMS Stack

Headless CMS

Content is both multi-channeled and dynamic and needs maintenance. Moreover, the content management systems (CMS) currently lack the flexibility to meet the demand for modern-day content distribution. However, the concept of a headless content management system has emerged as a game-changer to help offload content management and focus on content delivery. [See our previous journal entry: Headless CMS for the Enterprise]

Unlike traditional CMS, headless CMS platforms have no front-end system to show how content is presented to the users. It provides an admin backend that can be used to manage the content that can be published anywhere with any framework. Headless CMS is witnessing increasing use across enterprises. With enterprise-ready features like no content duplication, omni-channel, reduces time-to-market, ensures security, minimizes the risk of a DDOS attack, and an API-driven architecture, using a Headless CMS is a no brainer. By integrating the modern Headless CMS such as GraphCMS, marketing teams can easily collect and distribute content on mobile applications, websites, and other applications from a single source.

What is GraphCMS?

GraphCMS, founded in 2017, is the cloud-based headless CMS and is based on GraphQL, the API language open-sourced and used by Facebook. GraphCMS headless system allows building content-rich APIs that can serve content and assets on websites, mobile applications, web applications, smartwatches, and other devices. GraphCMS provides a better experience for developers by leveraging GraphQL and offers multi-channel accessibility by eliminating the need for multiple SDKs. Below are some of the best features of GraphCMS, making it one of the best options for enterprises looking to adopt headless CMS.

  • It is based on GraphQL - solving the problem of over-fetching and under-fetching
  • It can cache content to over 190 locations globally, providing faster delivery. With GraphCMS, it is easy to transform image content at the time of fetching for optimized delivery.
  • It is easy to test the queries and mutations as GraphCMS has an interactive API playground.
  • The roles and permission feature in GraphCMS helps in assigning different roles such as editor, developer, and collaborator.

GraphCMS last year announced major product updates to position itself as the go-to-headless CMS. The latest key features include content staging, polymorphic relations, and a high-performance GraphQL engine. These new features will allow development and editorial teams to fasten the delivery of a better digital experience across all platforms. GraphCMS has been growing by providing vertical-specific solutions for e-commerce, travel, and fin-tech.

GraphCMS and Next.JS

GraphCMS aim to remove the pain points of traditional CMS by using GraphQL. Companies are focusing on creating Next.js projects and integrating them with GraphCMS. It provides various operational and editorial features such as global marketing campaigns, SEO friendly, rich content editing, and built-in localization.

GraphCMS is considered one of the best headless CMS for Next.js applications and websites. Next.js offers server-side rendering, CSS-in-JS, and static exporting, and it also includes all boilerplates configured for a better user experience. Pairing Next.js with GraphCMS can result in a high-performing site, giving more independence to the marketing team without compromising developer efforts and expertise. Combining GraphCMS and Next.js allows developers to create high-performing, interactive, and SEO-friendly websites and applications.

It is easy to integrate GraphCMS with Next.js. GraphCMS includes access tokens that can be utilized while requesting data from the backend, which provides an extra layer of security.

The Future of the Web is Headless

Headless CMS offers flexibility for consumers using different ways to consume content. Modern headless CMS can provide customized experiences across different front-end channels, including mobile apps, websites, and other devices such as smartwatches. With the workforce forced to work from home due to the pandemic, various smart home devices have increased. According to Forbes, the market for smart home devices is likely to reach $174 billion by 2025. Most smart home devices display content, and many audiences are expected to use these channels for the content.

Consumers are increasingly are using different channels to access content, and with the de-coupled Headless CMS, the content can be pushed to multiple channels. Enterprises are focusing on using Headless CMS to handle existing and emerging channels that consumers will likely use to access the content. With the growing demand for Headless CMS, companies focus on updating their content and commerce stacks with platforms such as GraphCMS. Migrating to GraphCMS enables mid to large organizations to migrate to Headless CMS without worrying about infrastructure, security, scalability, and flexibility. The modern headless GraphCMS is being used globally, including some big players like Shure, Unilever, Discovery, and Prym.

The future holds a significant opportunity for Headless CMS with the rise in multi-channel publishing and growing complexity. Moreover, with the era of IoT, virtual reality, and augmented reality, publishing to a limited or handful of channels will no longer be enough. With new channels and devices being developed, large organizations are looking forward to posting their content on these devices and media such as VR headsets, smartwatches, smart home, and smart city devices. Moving from traditional CMS to modern headless CMS is helping brands to offer a better omni-channel experience to their customers.

Enterprises are planning to adopt Headless CMS to provide a consistent content experience to the customers. According to the new research study by WP Engine, 92% of respondents agreed that implementing headless CMS makes it easy for companies to deliver content across platforms. With the growing importance of digital experience, more than 90% of enterprises plan to use Headless CMS technology. The modern Headless CMS landscape is likely to witness tremendous growth in coming years due to its core advantages, including improved scalability, flexibility, security, and fast editing.

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