What’s an API and how are they connected to a headless CMS

Everyone knows the scenario: when you possibly can’t hear what somebody’s saying, however after three “sorry, what was that?” makes an attempt, you find yourself reducing your losses and reply with a hesitant “Oh… yeah!”. 

Maybe you’ve already skilled this with APIs. The time period will get tossed round on a gaggle assembly, so that you ask what they’re and possibly even ask a second time, however quickly follows the sluggish “I get it, however I don’t get it” head nod.  

Or possibly you haven’t requested about APIs in any respect – that’s completely high quality, too.  
Both method, there’s no denying it: headless is scorching proper now. So, let’s chat about APIs and microservices, what they’re, and what on the planet they must do with headless CMS. 

What’s an API?  

The tech business loves its three-letter acronyms, so let’s begin there. API stands for Software Programming Interface. An API is just the intermediary that permits two totally different software program methods to work together with one another. So, how do APIs work? 

An excellent API design will get information and performance from one place to a different with out exposing you to the complexity behind the scenes. They’re facilitators, request takers, deliverers, messengers – they’re accountable for the hyper-connected world we’ve come to know and count on.   

The restaurant analogy is a basic rationalization of API use whereby you (you = the person) have a look at a thoughtfully designed and formatted menu (menu = the front-end interface of software program system #1, like a cell app or a web site).   

You inform the waiter (waiter = service API) what you’d wish to order (order = information), however the waiter doesn’t know the way to prepare dinner your meal, the way to function the kitchen home equipment, or the way to handle backstock components. They merely give directions to the kitchen (kitchen = the backend of software program system #2), the place your order is then ready, handed to the waiter, and delivered to you simply as requested.   

That’s an API: a handy waiter ready to take your request to allow them to optimize and ship every little thing simply the way you prefer it, with out you having to carry a finger.    

What are some real-life examples of APIs?   

APIs play a vital function within the automation of every little thing from cell apps to e-commerce websites, and also you most likely work together with public APIs far more typically than you suppose. When you’ve booked a visit on-line, ordered meals on a supply app, or referred to as a rideshare at any time in your life, you’ve used an open API. And should you checked your climate app this morning… you guessed it, you used an API.   

In all of those situations, the data you’re in search of lives elsewhere. However as a result of your API is a loyal messenger, it begins to trade information. In your behalf, it asks a 3rd celebration about flight costs, lodge availability, menu gadgets, driver areas, climate forecasts after which studies again – all so that you didn’t must. 

Okay… so what do APIs must do with headless CMS?  

In contrast to a standard CMS – generally referred to as a monolithic CMS, like WordPress – a headless CMS separates the backend (the place the content material is saved and managed) from the frontend (every little thing you see and work together with, like this text you’re studying proper now). There’s an amazing overview of coupled vs. decoupled vs. headless here.  

As a result of the frontend (head) is chopped off from the backend (physique), headless content material administration methods use an API-first strategy, counting on these little messengers to ship something in your content material repository to totally different front-end channels and gadgets like webpages, cell apps, internet browsers, and social media platforms. 

Mainly, no APIs = no headless CMS  

I’ve heard about RESTful APIs, what are these?  

We all know that an software programming interface is how one software program system talks to a different, so now REST (quick for Representational State Switch) is a set of ordinary guidelines that programmers comply with to construct an API. And if an API is constructed to stick to these REST guidelines, that API is what we name a RESTful API. There are different customary guidelines and forms of APIs like internet API, however REST is the most well-liked.   

This customary makes positive that your API speaks the identical language as the applying it is making an attempt to speak with on working methods, and RESTful APIs are essential to preserve that software lively. RESTful APIs use a regular set of requests (get, put, put up, patch, delete) to retrieve and manipulate information.   

Word: there’s much more to the RESTful API story, however we might ideally want a full programming crash course to embody your complete image.  

Listed below are some headless CMS RESTful API examples:  

  • Content material Supply API permits you to ship content material to show in several channels, like cell apps or different non-HTML purposes. 
  • Content material Administration API permits you to create, edit, replace, or delete your content material.


Why is headless CMS such a scorching matter proper now?  

Headless CMS has gained numerous consideration in recent times because of its most tasty traits: flexibility and scalability for the tip person. Some are even open supply. In a local weather the place velocity, agility, and fast supply is sink or swim, headless generally is a win-win scenario should you’re in the hunt for a platform that can scale with you as you develop, with out having to begin from scratch each time you launch a brand new services or products. Responding to altering market traits turns into each simple and fast, and you may tailor omnichannel content material supply to particular use instances or API requests– it is the proper recipe for an amazing buyer expertise. 


Headless CMSs give content material creators and content material editors the house they want – and crave – to focus solely on authoring, creation, and administration. They will work intently with the CMS with out worrying in regards to the technical facets of the presentation layer or relying closely on a workflow of developer involvement. Headless additionally permits for higher reuse and repurposing of already-existing content material, that means their exhausting editorial work stretches lots additional. Nevertheless, this isn’t true for all distributors. Some closely deal with the developer expertise, typically neglecting the creator expertise. 


On the planet of software program improvement, a headless structure lets cell and internet builders rapidly and simply construct composable, partaking digital experiences that may be personalized for various channels and tailor-made to the wants of particular customers. It additionally means their relationship with any headless CMS is comparatively non-committal – if the CMS itself ever wants to vary, the entrance finish of the system (and all of the developer’s exhausting work) stays intact. Going headless additionally creates a church-state divide between front-end and back-end builders. Much less battle, extra deal with areas of experience. For their very own inner APIs and person interface, builders can use programming languages equivalent to Java, Python, JavaScript, and so forth. 

How do I do know if a headless CMS is the suitable possibility for my group?  

Headless CMS options aren’t all the time for everybody, they usually could or will not be the suitable possibility to your group. API administration is about understanding your enterprise and tech stack necessities. Earlier than investing, have a look at your internet software complexities, digital expertise objectives, and the assets inside your dev and advertising groups to mark your API specs. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *