What is headless Drupal and why all the hype?

In this post today we provide an overview of headless or decoupled Drupal and look at some of the benefits when compared with the standard Drupal we know.

What is headless Drupal?

Conceptually it's pretty simple - involving 2 changes from standard Drupal

The “headless” concept aims to separate the frontend of the site (ie: the way info is displayed – theming, presentation layers etc) from Drupal. Traditionally, Drupal controls the frontend, services and backend. With headless Drupal, content is delivered through a separate frontend JavaScript framework, which can be different depending on the developer, whilst Drupal uses its RESTful API to provide the content and logic of the site from the backend.

What are the benefits of headless Drupal?

  • Future proofs your site

As new technologies and designs come out (whether compatible with standard Drupal or not), only the frontend would need to be re-programmed, whilst the backend with its logic and content management can be left untouched. Furthermore, headless allows developers to implement multiple frontends, achieving responsive design easily ie: the SAME information can be displayed in UNIQUE WAYS on a desktop, widget, mobile or app.

  • Speeds up your site

A lot of the limitations of Drupal’s own frontend architecture are eliminated with the use of JavaScript frameworks, which are speedy and easy to use. These frameworks deliver API calls from Drupal to HTML, focusing only on content delivery itself, hence the entire site gets faster.

  • Improves site security

As content is created through one system and delivered to the user through another, system administrators can easily limit access to various areas of the infrastructure, resulting in improved system security.

  • Developer experience

Headless Drupal allows teams with different specializations to work in parallel on different components of an implementation without hindering or delaying the other’s work or compromising the project’s integrity.