Gatsby is a React-based framework that enables developers to build fast, secure, and powerful applications that support the use of CMS. This article will be helpful for content creators and Gatsby developers who want to improve efficiency, easy collaboration, and access.
In this post, we will introduce you to what a content management system (CMS) is, what a Headless CMS is, and its advantages and disadvantages. We’ll introduce you to a React-based framework - Gatsby, the pros and cons of using a headless CMS with Gatsby, and finally, a list of all the Headless CMSs available for Gatsby with their pros and cons.
At the end of this article, readers will have a good grasp of how Gatsby works and the CMS options available for Gatsby.
What is a CMS?
According to Wikipedia, “Content Management (CMS) is computer software used to manage the creation and modification of digital content. It can be used to build simple and complex applications from scratch.”
A CMS aids in making and managing content for your website without even writing a single line of code. It is software that empowers users to create and manage content on their platform, including its design, image, videos, and text. A user can be anyone; even a person with limited technical knowledge can use a CMS. It can be utilized to make and manage your landing pages, product pages, eCommerce stores, blogs, etc. It handles all those essential foundations such as storing images, creating web pages, coordinating efforts, and different capacities. You can focus on more forward-facing pieces of your site.
What is a Headless CMS?
A headless CMS is a backend-only CMS that manages and organizes digital content and data, making it accessible via an API for seamless display across any device or channel. The term “headless” comes from the idea of separating the “head” where contents are designed and deployed (i.e., front-end) from the “body” where the content is stored and created (i.e., back-end).
A headless CMS couldn’t care less concerning the site’s front end. It centers around putting away and passing on organized content and permitting content editors to team up on new content. It takes into consideration more prominent adaptability and control of the client experience.
Advantages of headless CMS
- Fast content production and content can also be reused. Authors can rest easy without worrying about how different platforms will display content.
- It provides complete control over how and where your content appears.
- Since it separates the front-end from the back-end. Headless CMS allows developers to use any tool or framework they are comfortable with in delivering a better user experience.
- It is future-proof and integrates easily with new technology and innovations. And it is always up to date.
- Secure third party integration
- It provides complete flexibility in terms of front- and back-end integrations for each content block. This can then be conveyed individually or collectively to different channels via different mediums or formats and on different devices. It allows you to publish dynamic content to any device connected via IoT.
- It is scalable and provides security. You can optimize or upgrade your website without worrying about back-end security issues affecting the front-end and compromising performance.
Disadvantages with headless CMS
- No built-in presentation functionality. It lacks features like workflows and drag and drop editing. Content creators may need to wait for developers to see if they have more custom requirements for a new landing page that isn’t supported by previously created modules or templates.
- It isn’t easy to see a live preview without the support of someone with technical knowledge.
- It relies on additional technologies like React and Vue for its front-end.
- Requirements to maintain two separate systems for a single site, which can require more resources.
- It can be costly to implement because you will have to pay separately for the CMS, the infrastructure for it to run on any platform and channels, and the developer.
What is Gatsby?
Gatsby is widely known as a Static Site Generator (SSG). It uses SSG to produce static HTML pages from templates or components that can be loaded onto a server. A static site generator automates the task of coding individual HTML pages and getting those pages ready to serve users ahead of time. Because these HTML pages are pre-built, they can load very quickly in users’ browsers.
Gatsby is a Modern Site Generator because it uses the best features of React and GraphQL in creating dynamic and performant websites from marketing sites to eCommerce stores to blogs for a better digital experience.
Features of Gatsby
Due to the fast performance of the sites it powers, it has some spectacular out-of-the-box features, which will be stated below.
Gatsby being open source makes it have a massive ecosystem that can serve various needs. the ecosystem consists of plugins, starters, themes and React packages. the Gatsby community has created over 2,000 plugins, which means you’re normally ready to track down instant tools to achieve your task.
- Gatsby plugins help you source data from CMSs like WordPress, Shopify, and Contentful. It also allows you to integrate with SaaS solutions and 3rd-party tools like Algolia.
- Gatsby gives you fantastic performances and speeds out of the box. It is fast because it combines the capabilities of static site generation and dynamic rendering of the content and also provides effective code splitting to serve only the necessary code for each page.
- Gatsby offers a cloud platform that helps
- Integration with headless CMS and real-time previews.
- Incremental Builds. If you make changes to your CMS, it increases the build time by x1000 faster than a normal one.
- Built-in lighthouse report.
- It pairs well with platforms like Netlify and Vercel, allowing you to connect with one click. You can add your domain and use the Gatsby cloud.
- It provides an advantage to scale along with traffic spikes and protects website data from any loss or theft.
- Due to the build time nature, SEO optimization, and most importantly, the application’s security.
- Gatsby’s documentation is superb. Detailed technical guides with tutorials and examples.
Pros of Headless CMS on Gatsby
- It makes it easier for authors to modify content on the website. Users also have complete control over the content and determine what should be accessible to the public.
- It allows you to focus on the front end of the website.
- It helps reduce the cost of maintenance on the website. With the knowledge of the basics of CMS, users can handle the basic functions there, thereby reducing the cost of hiring a developer.
- It is easy to maintain and update.
- It streamlines the process of multiple user contributors.
Cons of Headless CMS on Gatsby
- It can be pricey if custom systems are needed.
- Must have an understanding of the tools Gatsby makes use of if custom systems are needed.
- There could be a security risk if it is not maintained and updated regularly.
- Any mistakes on the website become live on the site immediately.
- Some CMS like Joomla can put a heap on your server assets, thereby reducing the speed and performance of the website.
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List of Headless CMS available for Gatsby
Here are a few lists of headless CMS available for Gatsby with what they offer.
Headless WordPress Not many realize that you could likewise use WordPress as their headless CMS. You can use Gatsby and other Static Site Generators (SSG) as the front-end, which is made conceivable by a free and open-source WPGraphQL plugin. Gatsby supports WordPress as a content manager with the gatsby-source-wordpress plugin. As with Gatsby, you can install the gatsby-source-WordPress plugin using npm.
- Development Experience
- Adding custom development for plugins to work.
- Difficult to set up
- Not free
Contentful is a modern headless CMS that integrates with development teams and their workflows. With an API-first approach, it can be scaled effectively to meet complex and diverse business needs. The CMS features a customizable interface, content modelling, and cloud-based governance. Gatsby supports Contentful as a content manager with the gatsby-source-contentful plugin. You can install it with npm
- Flexible. This CMS can be easily extended and provide access to dynamic content
- It’s simple. WYSIWYG is very easy to work with, and identifying pages and content in the system is relatively easy.
- Contentful has an intuitive user interface and good support for multiple spaces, which can be helpful for companies that need separate projects for dev/staging/production. It’s easy to set up and configure with multiple languages.
- There is no easy way to import large chunks of data - you need to write your own custom script that will do that through the API.
- Contentful does not have a way to organize fields within an entry. Entries with many fields are somewhat tiresome to scroll through.
- At US$489 per month for the version of the team, the plan makes it expensive.
Prismic is used by some big names in the tech industry, such as Google and Netflix, as their CMS. Prismic provides a clean and intuitive interface that feels familiar to most users, and it integrates well with many programming languages and frameworks. The feature-rich back-end CMS provided by Prismic is free to use for one admin and commercially provided to organizations with large content management teams. You can install it with npm install
gatsby-source-prismic. It allows you to integrate live prismic previews into a Gatsby site to enable content editors a seamless content editing experience.
- You have extreme flexibility and a great user experience. and can be used by anyone (developers, marketers/editors/content managers, PMs, and buyers)
- Easy control over versioning and scheduling
- A very extensive free tier with unlimited API Calls, Documents, Custom Types, Locales, Assets, Image Optimizations & 100 GB of Built-in CDN.
- Prismic offers a free trial and very affordable plans for small teams (Starter Plan $7/month & Small Plan $15/month)
- SDKs and starter kits for a variety of programming languages and frameworks
- Prismic maintains its content infrastructure; therefore, it doesn’t require infrastructure setup, configuration, or maintenance - so teams can start building a project immediately.
- The way API and bandwidth quotas are managed is not ideal. Due to high traffic usage, it might get very expensive to the point where you need to build a bespoke caching / optimization layer.
- SLA (service-level agreement), backup, and restore are not available on lower-tier than Medium
- User roles are only available on plans for “organizations” starting at $100/month, making Prismic unusable for small developers with individual clients.
- It is not open-source, but it has an active community on the official forum
Netlify CMS is an open-source, free-to-use CMS that you can add to any static site generator. It has intuitive work processes and a pleasant UI part. It offers a SPA admin panel where you can edit content stored in the repository when added/admin to your site.
- It is easy to integrate with GitHub and GitLab.
- Flexibility and extensibility by specifying an unlimited number of content types with custom fields and creating custom previews, UI widgets, and editor plugins
- Easy installation
- It can be used with any static site generator
- It is a free and fully open-source CMS.
- It is challenging to create content types through the interface, just in the config.yml file
- Customers cannot implement changes by themselves, and they need the support of a developer.
- Unlike real-time alternatives, all content changes will be available to users after the build process is completed
- Some settings are a bit confusing, especially regarding the Github integration and Auth.
- The free version only allows one team member.
GraphCMS enables developers to build content APIs while giving content editors the tools they need to manage their content. It offers JAMstack development and user experience.
- Great documentation.
- Built-in localization and locale-based publishing
- JAMStack development and user experience
- They offer a free plan.
- Integration with Netlify, Vercel, and Gatsby Cloud for a quick preview.
- Lack of value-added integrations (i.e., search, auth, analytics, APIs) in core products.
- GraphCMS is very expensive at the enterprise level. starting from $299.
In this article, we started with what a CMS is and how it will benefit our business and project how we manage it, which helps either by reducing time and cost or by making it faster with plugins and so on. We also looked at what a Headless CMS is and how it can help us distribute content anywhere on the website and in any format on different platforms or channels. We looked at what Gatsby is and how it works with its features, and we rounded it up with some Headless CMS available for Gatsby.