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Table of contents
- Typical use cases of CMS frameworks
- Development tools ranking
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Some key characteristics of a headless JS CMS framework:
It provides headless content management functionality for authoring, organizing, and delivering content through developer-friendly APIs. This decouples content from the presentation.
It typically handles backend CMS infrastructure like storage, authentication, routing, caching, search indexes, etc. This allows frontend apps to consume purely content APIs.
It is modular and extensible, allowing custom plugins and integrations to expand functionality as needed.
The content APIs exposed are platform/frontend agnostic. This means content can be consumed across the web, mobile, IoT, and other interfaces.
The headless architecture enforced by these JS frameworks allows greater flexibility and omnichannel content delivery and separates concerns between backend engineers and frontend developers. They represent a shift towards API-driven modular content management.
Typical use cases of CMS frameworks
Content management systems (CMS) provide a centralized platform to create, manage, and deliver content. JS CMS frameworks specifically offer backend content infrastructure and headless APIs that can be used to build modern applications, websites, and other digital experiences. Some of the most common use cases of JS CMS frameworks include the aspect presented in the next paragraphs.
Building Web and Mobile Applications
One of the main uses of headless CMS frameworks is to power the content in web and mobile apps. The CMS allows you to focus on developing the app UI and presentation layer while it handles all the backend content delivery and infrastructure. Famous examples are building custom React-based web apps, Angular SPA experiences, and native mobile apps that all pull structured content from the CMS.
Managing Content APIs
Integrating Content Across Platforms
Scaling Content Across Channels
As companies grow, they often need to scale content across new channels and touchpoints. Headless JS CMS platforms provide an abstraction layer that allows frontends to come and go without engineering changes on the content backend. This creates a future-proof content infrastructure.
Separating Frontend Code from Backend
Decoupled CMS architecture enforces a separation between ephemeral front-end code and backend content that persists. This improves developer experience, helps achieve CMS and codebase agility, and reduces risk.
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Strapi is a flexible, developer-first open source headless CMS focused on custom API creation. It features an intuitive admin panel where content editors can manage content that feeds customizable APIs serving data to applications, sites, and other platforms. As a headless CMS, it decouples content management from content display.
Developer-first CMS optimized for API creation needs including custom data structures
APIs fully adaptable to content requirements supporting multiple formats like JSON, XML, CSV based on project needs
Database agnostic supporting SQL, NoSQL, cloud databases enabling optimal choices
On-premise self-hosted option or cloud deployment on platforms like Heroku, AWS
Strapi empowers developers to quickly build customizable APIs and manage content for delivery to websites, mobile apps, smart devices, and more without complex infrastructure setup and maintenance. Its flexibility makes it a great choice for teams creating content across multiple platforms.
Ghost is an open source content management system optimized for online publications and journalistic content. It provides an intuitive, minimalist editing interface combined with powerful content management capabilities for single authors and commercial publication teams alike.
Intuitive editor interface providing seamless writing and content creation abilities ideal for blogging
Integrated scheduler enabling content visibility control based on set dates and times on posts and pages
Themes marketplace with free and paid options to apply designs and customizations
SEO best practices baked into the platform to optimize content discoverability
Ghost offers a purpose-built CMS solution for publishing user-friendly blogs, online magazines, newspaper sites, personal branding sites and other editorial content sites needing streamlined content production and distribution tools.
Directus offers an open-source, real-time headless content management system allowing flexible SQL and NoSQL database content management. Its admin app enables intuitive direct database interactions while its modular architecture delivers content through customizable APIs.
Customizable database manager providing a user-friendly interface for directly accessing and modifying database content across SQL and NoSQL options
Real-time preview editing capabilities allow instantly viewing content changes in context during the authoring process, improving productivity
Granular permissions system at the collection, row, and field-level to control user and group data access appropriately based on roles
Extensive API layer supports GraphQL and REST APIs to feed content to websites, apps and other platforms based on specific project requirements
Directus offers developers and teams a flexible database manager and CMS for building internal tools and dashboards or headless architecture public sites. Its modular system integrates well with a range of projects.
4. Decap CMS
Decap CMS offers an open source Git-based headless content management system designed for static websites built with generators like Gatsby, Hugo and Jekyll. It features an intuitive editor and built-in Git workflow.
Intuitive editor interface for authoring content,
Built-in Git workflow based on pull requests, enabling version control and rollbacks during content creation workflows,
Seamless integration for sites hosted on Netlify allows easier production deployments.
Decap CMS is ideal for teams building static websites powered by generators like Gatsby, Hugo, and Jekyll that require a streamlined CMS environment for content editors to produce content collaboratively. The Git-based workflow makes it easy to track changes.
5. Payload CMS
Payload CMS offers an extensible open-source headless content management system built on Node JS, Express, and MongoDB. Its modular architecture and developer-focused configuration make it fully customizable to specific project needs, ranging from content types to workflows.
Modular components for highly adaptable architecture catering to diverse project requirements
Custom post types, fields, and workflows to model content according to application needs
Granular access control permissions customizable to user roles within the system.
Payload empowers developers with complete content management control, allowing them to build fully tailored CMS solutions based on application requirements rather than being constrained by rigid off-the-shelf products.
6. Tina CMS
Tina CMS offers an open-source toolkit for integrating inline editing features into React-based websites and applications. This enables direct on-page updates, avoiding separate admin environments.
React components for in-context editing enable immediate updating of text and media on pages, facilitating intuitive changes. No need to navigate elsewhere.
Minimalist library integration via React Hooks averts complex build setups. Tina builds editing abilities on existing sites with minor tweaks, avoiding overhaul.
Live preview editing shows unsaved amendments in real time before publishing. Reduces reviewing steps, allowing rapid create-verify-deploy cycles.
GraphQL data source integration leverages existing APIs to feed content from decoupled backends
Authentication and access controls available to limit editing abilities per user roles
Tina Shadowing allows granular editability down to the component level based on templates
Tina CMS is ideal for React developers looking to build sites with integrated editing functionality without a separate backend CMS.
Keystone JS offers an open source headless CMS and full-stack web application framework built entirely in Node JS. It features auto-generated GraphQL APIs, an intuitive Admin UI, user access controls, and database integration supporting simple prototypes and complex solutions.
Auto-generated GraphQL API accelerating development by providing out-of-box backend content delivery capabilities
Admin UI dashboard and granular access control systems enabling secure and permission content authoring
Seamless integration with MongoDB, PostgreSQL and other SQL & NoSQL databases
Keystone JS supports diverse applications with its headless CMS, auto-generated GraphQL API, admin dashboard and database integrations powering full-stack solutions. Websites leverage Keystone's content authoring and permission content delivery abilities to front-ends for streamlined CMS implementations.
Headless CMS capabilities enable decoupled content authoring and omnichannel distribution workflows catering from websites to apps
Visual page builder accelerator empowers drag and drop assembly of pages, layouts, and themes, minimizing custom coding needs
Integrated security schemes injection guard infrastructure elements and app components safeguarding data integrity
GraphQL APIs provide flexible content delivery while SDKs streamline app builds integrating Webiny capabilities
Multi-tenancy allows serving multiple isolated clients from the same Webiny instance lowering costs
Typical use cases include e-commerce sites, web apps, documentation portals, personal sites, and proprietary back office tools. The framework caters to early-stage startups and large enterprises. Careful compliance with standards ensures interoperability and avoids vendor lock-in across the technology stack.
Sanity is an open-source, real-time headless content management system that empowers omnichannel structured content workflows ranging from web and mobile apps to digital signage solutions.
Customizable structured content models enable fine-tuning schemas matching content types
Flexible collaboration abilities allow concurrent authoring with rich editorial workflows
Global CDN distribution powers content to devices and apps worldwide with low latency
Portable Structured data sets allow moving Sanity projects across regions and accounts
Sanity streamlines authoring and management of structured content for distribution across experiences catering from marketing sites to apps to digital displays. It shines when handling complex, evolving content models in collaborative teams producing high-value media and editorial assets.
SonicJS provides an open source, developer-focused headless content management system catering to rapid custom CMS builds powering sites, apps and static site generators through its declarative data modeling and preset admin interface.
Auto-generated admin dashboard accelerates authoring environments to manage custom models
GraphQL and REST APIs deliver content from databases to apps and sites
Modular architecture allows extending capabilities as needs grow
Integrates out-of-the-box with AWS, Netlify and Heroku for faster deployments
Development tools ranking
Curious about the preferred development tools and libraries used by our Mobile Reality team across various technologies? Interested in learning about the choices our developers have made in other domains? Explore our comprehensive rankings of development tools across diverse categories and technologies. Don't miss this chance to gain insights from our expert team!
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