Access and Feeds

Headless Computing: Using APIs to Glue Best-of-Breed Back-End Technologies

By Dick Weisinger

Headless refers to the decoupling of the front end user GUI experience with the backend data and functionality. In 2019, headless content management became popular. Headless e-commerce solutions are expected to proliferate in 2020.

Headless pulls together a collection of technologies that intercommunicate via APIs to push and pull information that is ultimately displayed on the front-end GUI. The architectural design allows the combination of best-of-breed components when building the solution.

Kelly Goetsch, Chief Product Officer at commercetools, said that “as retailers shift away from monolithic, legacy platforms they are also moving towards microservices – small, self-contained applications that can be developed and deployed individually. API-driven microservices allow developers to easily and quickly update specific parts of the front-end, resulting in shorter release cycles and faster time-to-market.”

But Forrester cautions that headless deployments require extensive development, something outside the competency of many small and mid-sized companies. In those cases, SaaS options may be a better route. “Certain approaches like headless tools require a steep learning curve, but if your competency is branding instead of [technology] development, then the right choice for you is a SaaS platform with practitioner-friendly tooling you can use without writing code.”

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