Web development has sure seen a sea of trends in past 2 decades. Starting from static websites to monolithic dynamic websites to the decoupled frameworks, now. Decoupled CMS is perhaps the one that has the ability to make a significant impact in the way web development practices are followed.And lately, there has been a lot of commotion around “headless” or “Decoupled” Drupal in the community, adding to it is the latest article by Dries. Decoding The Decoupled DrupalDecoupling a website implies that the front end is completely separated from the backend. The front end which is accountable for the presentation and display is detached from the backend which stores and assess the information. This way, we remove the (so-called) head of the Drupal and de-couple it with a different front-end framework. Adding a new dimension to the story is ‘Progressive Decoupling’. In this case, even though you detach the front end from the backend, you can still leverage the backend’s abilities while concurrently also using a JavaScript framework in the front end to bring quality user experience. You don’t completely remove the “head” but add new dimensions in the form of partial decoupling  through small components — or block like structures — which are developed with advance front end framework such as React or Angular. This enables better control on the front-end as well as quality and presentation. Elaborating the Progressively Decoupled Drupal – Is It Better?This is an imageFrom a technical point of view, a decoupled CMS has:A databaseAn admin interfaceA content-publishing frontend that is connected to another content management backend via an APIIt enables the developer to use any technology for the front-end with Drupal. This procedure uses Drupal as Content-As-A-Service. Unlike other CMS, Drupal as a content-service lets different content coexist as reusable chunks. As a result content becomes future-proof. Progressive decoupling means different things to its different stakeholders. For front end developers, it means assigning particular portion of page to JavaScript framework, while letting others work smoothly without any blocker. On the other hand for content editors, it allows contextualized interface with integrated workflow.The workflow is clearly defined and divided, while giving greater flexibility without crossing over into others territory. To change a certain component or block of website which hampers the performance of the website you can opt for Progressively Decoupled Drupal. The Drupal backend can smoothly share content with different frameworks, applications and IoT devices, for example, Amazon Echo. It likewise bolsters an already robust system supporting the core with GraphQL, JSON and REST API in addition to SDKs like JavaScript and Swift. This ensures that all the system can consume content easily. Integration is a built in concept in decoupling, as content is inherently published to the remote delivery system.All in all, these diverse approaches to progressively decoupled Drupal have one thing in common: their close attention to each use case’ specific requirements.How Effective Is Progressively Decoupled Drupal For My Website?Even though Drupal can easily fit your expectation criteria, there is always a scope for improvement. As progressive decoupled CMS architecture is rising in popularity, you would also want to know what qualities it offers against a traditional decoupled Drupal. In simple words, with progressive decoupling you get the best of both the worlds.(This is an image)Advantages of DrupalAdvantages of The New Frontend frameworksContent Management & WorkflowData-BindingDrupal CachingAPI Request/ResponseLayout ManagementRich UXTheme hook suggestionsSeparate FE LogicSECURITY (XSS, CSRF)Non-Blocking Front endOptimized SEOHere are the benefits of progressive decoupled Drupal:It is easy to scale high traffic websites, and easier to handle the multi-site arrangement.You need to scale only the components that you need. Components that are not needed will not be scaled. This lowers the cost and complexity involved. Because of two different frameworks code complexity is isolated within each of the two components of authoring and delivery. Each piece can be as simple or complex as is needed without impacting the other.Integration takes place while authoring tier safely away from the live site protecting stability and performance.Content migration and sharing requires less time, as the architecture of different frameworks is much more naturally supported with the core CMS.It is easier to develop and deploy rich features.Integrating with devOps is much easier. When you need to integrate your development tools, process and source code repository it is significantly more approachable if authoring and delivery systems are separated.Should I opt for Progressive or Traditional Decoupling?Taking examples of meetingpackage.com and weather.com, let us discuss the scope of progressive decoupling. Image of meeting package home pageHere, the ‘search’ functionality is part of decoupled CMS. Built on Drupal, the search is passed to drupal view which displays the result. This approach works fine for small database, but in case of large database it is very slow and takes up lot of RAM on server.To improve the search speed and search experience, it is better to do some of the computing operations in user’s device rather server. Fetching of search results and displaying them can be done using front end technologies in the browser itself. It decreases the server response time and user is able to get faster results.Allow for more interactivity by immediately responding to users’ actions.User can quickly filter out results on basis of venue, date, meeting length and number of persons.Resources shown from external libraries are also fetched directly from their API server instead of getting them from Drupal.  In this case the block has been replaced with React code which accepts user input and then renders result retrieved from server in the user browser.Image of meeting package home pageSimilarly, with the weather.com Drupal blocks have been replaced with “React Snippets” to perform most of the operations in user browser. Weather.com completely relies on user’s location for showing the homepage content. Using geolocation API via client side scripts, it fetched location and then also fetch content related to that location from Drupal without even refreshing page. In this way a viewer is served with most relatable content very quicklyConclusionDecoupled CMS is the great paradigm shift changing the way websites are seen and built. Changing the properties, architecture and the efficiency of the website, perhaps dWhile the concept of progressive decoupling offers the best of both worlds, we should be equally cautious when approaching such projects keeping in mind the the complexity involved. Planning to make a shift? Talk to Drupal 8 experts to solve any query, drop a mail at [email protected] and learn how decoupled Drupal can help you improve your bottom line.


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