Decoupled/Headless CMS Concept


Traditional CMS systems are designed to render web pages based on a given design template that incorporates content authored by non-technical users.

The rendering of the content to alternate consuming applications is not usually considered, with the exception of perhaps different HTML variants targeting different devices (mobile vs desktop for example)

A decoupled CMS system does not assume any particular consuming application, but delivers content in a format suitable for simple programmatic integration by any consuming target. This format typically is XML or JSON in a documented schema.

We can extend your existing RedDot CMS or Obtree WCM deployments to expose existing content as structured data to suit your integration requirements.

Both these products, although originally intended as stand-alone web content management systems, are capable of delivering content wrapped in XML or JSON for consumption by any enabled application.

The underlying design of Obtree WCM means it is very simple to expose all content, templates, images and other component objects either directly, or formatted as wrapped structured data.

Obtree WCM has, out-of-the-box, a number of SOAP interfaces (so-called 'managers') that allow both retrieval of, and interaction with, various aspects of the system. This model of object access, while core product, is aimed at complex integrations.

Further, all objects - if given a URL - are instantly accessible over HTTP(S), though the object contents will be returned as-is, with no structural or formatting wrapper.

We can can very easily develop a simple interface to retrieve and present content wrapped in XML or JSON, in response to a structured URL, using the Obtree WCM scripting layer. This can be extended to return lists, or include a simple API to get texts, or images, or templates.

In other words, a simple REST API.

Please see the technical discussion page for further details of how this can be achieved with Obtree CMS.

RedDot CMS is conceptually different from Obtree WCM - it is a publisher, not a dynamic renderer. It assembles pages based on template and authored content, and publishes the end result as flat files. RedDot CMS has the concept of 'variants'. These are simply different templates associated with a given content container, or 'content class'. These templates can be any format you like.

Therefore, it is straightforward to add a variant to the system that renders XML or JSON. This is standard out-of-the-box functionality, but is dependent on careful management to ensure that the end result is consistent. The URL endpoints are not standard REST style, but can be made so with URL rewrite rules in the web config file.

A more complex option is to extend the pre-publication environment with an RQL enabled application that can respond to a REST request with a consistent XML or JSON response. This option is more complex, but exposes the pre-publication content in a completely dynamic way

What we can offer

Using your Obtree or RedDot CMS as a headless CMS offers the following benefits:

  • Reduce the need to re-train authors in a new system.
  • Remove the need for laborious content porting into a new system.
  • Maximise your ROI on your RedDot or Obtree system by extending its lifespan.

We now offer a WordPress plugin that is specifically designed to allow embedding of arbitrary CMS content into your WordPress site. It is of course dependent on your existing Obtree or Red Dot deployment exposing content in a suitable format and JCMS can assist with this as well. Please see here for further details.

Please contact us to discuss this in detail.