The Headless CMS Showdown: Dato CMS vs Agility CMS

Choosing between Dato CMS and Agility CMS: the guide.

Joel Varty
Joel Varty
Mar 26, 2021
datocms vs agility cms

The headless CMS ecosystem is growing exponentially. As more developers learn about the Jamstack architecture and begin using it build omnichannel digital experiences, they get convinced of the viability of a headless CMS vs a traditional one. 

However, if you're convinced that the headless approach is for you, there's another problem: how do you distinguish between different headless CMSs? They are all very similar, and the differences only start to appear when you look closely at each vendor. That's why we created a series of articles comparing Agility CMS with other top headless and hybrid CMSs.

In this showdown, we pitch Dato CMS, a pure headless CMS against Agility CMS, a hybrid headless CMS, and compare both to see which emerges victorious.

Dato CMS Product Overview 

DatoCMS is a cloud-based headless Content as a service (CaaS) platform created to work with static websites, mobile apps and server-side applications of any kind. It allows both non-technical users and team members to manage their content operations. 

DatoCMS provides a content infrastructure that comprises two different APIs, a content delivery API and a content management API for working with your content. Users can leverage the content management API to create and deploy digital experiences; this includes creating, updating, deleting, and fetching your projects' content. 

DatoCMS ships with an official API client for Javascript and Ruby. Both clients use JSON Schema for API typing.

Agility CMS Product Overview

Agility CMS evolved from a .NET-based CMS to become a Jamstack-ready, API-first headless CMS designed with speed and flexibility in mind. It gives users the tools to build, manage, and maintain their content with ease. 

Agility CMS lets authors and editors create and customize their digital experiences by following the content-first approach to building digital experiences with low friction. Traditional development processes begin with design, and prototyping, for example, the final layout of a web page with lorum ipsum text as placeholders. 

The Agility platform has a rich and deep set of powerful features to power your omnichannel experiences. Most headless CMS platforms offer workflow functionality for approvals, publication schedule, and similar needs. Agility also offers an HTML and text e-mail builder that can be tied to workflow triggers. It provides multi-site functionality, linking the same content and user permissions across multiple sites. 

Agility has robust analytics and convenient report generation built-in. Website search is a capability built into the platform, rather than requiring third-party services like Algolia. On the hosting side, Agility CMS leverages Microsoft Azure's hosting services and provides users with enterprise-grade security and support, and data protection. 

Why Agility CMS?

Agility CMS is a headless CMS platform designed with speed and flexibility in mind. Agility CMS gives users the tools to build, manage, and maintain their content with ease, having evolved from a . NET-based CMS to become a JAMstack-ready, API-first headless CMS. 

Generally, API-based headless CMSs allow you to repurpose content across multiple channels: web pages, native mobile apps, kiosks, even smartwatches, and football stadium billboards. This flexibility comes at a price with many headless platforms. Changes to the layout of web pages (and other channels) require developer time. Agility CMS solves this by offering Built-in Page Management at no additional costs: using page templates and page modules determine how content will look when it’s rendered on the website. Editors can modify the layout of pages in the easy-to-ease visual interface using drag and drop functionality. 

Dato CMS vs Agility CMS 

datocms vs agility cms features and offerings on agilitycms.comAccess the full table with other CMS options here.

Sitemap and URL Management

Most headless CMSs leverage APIs to generate a map of the pages on your site and manage URLs. In Agility CMS, your pages live within your sitemap. You can see at a glance where each page is and how it is related to the other pages. We also call this a 'page tree' and we use it to show the hierarchy of all the pages as they appear on the website. 

Dato CMS, on the other hand, doesn't offer sitemap and URL management out-of-the-box. The only way to generate or manage URLs of any kind in Dato CMS is to integrate third-party software or code your own solution. 

Integrated Page Management

Agility CMS's hybrid headless approach provides templates and modules that determine how content will look when it's rendered on the website. Editors can modify the layout of pages in the easy-to-ease visual interface using drag and drop functionality. The system is extensible, with many built-in modules and the opportunity to add new modules created by your development team.

Dato CMS is a pure headless solution that was created to integrate with static site generators like Gatsby to offer an intuitive web UI for content creators. A static site generator enables content editors to publish content without developers. However, without the aid of third-party software, all that Dato serves is structured content.

Unlimited Number of API Request

Agility's CMS offers users an unlimited number of API requests starting from its Standard Plan, giving you unlimited users and content items. On the other hand, Dato CMS doesn't offer an unlimited number of API requests; they offer 100k/month with their free plan and up to 2M/month with their enterprise plan and you have to pay for additional requests.

Here is a 2 min video with Agility CMS Overview:

The Verdict

When choosing a CMS, decision-makers always ask themselves the same question: should I choose a CMS that benefits my content editors or one that caters to developers? The truth is that this is no longer an issue because you can have the best of both worlds. However, pure headless CMSs like Dato CMS, while a solid choice for developers, still lack functionalities for content editors. 

The main strength of Dato CMS lies in its developer-focused architecture. Dato CMS presents a simple-to-use platform for developers that enables plenty of third-party integrations to make up for the, sometimes bare-bones, structure and UI of Dato CMS.  

As a pure headless CMS, Dato CMS enables developers to customize it and create static websites and single-page applications to deliver them to different channels, but it falls short on catering to content teams and editors. For non-technical users, Dato can present too much of a challenge because it needs a high degree of customization to get it up and running the way you want to, which is something that doesn't happen with Agility CMS.

Also, Dato CMS is a younger and less established platform when compared to Agility CMS. Plus, Agility CMS, due to its hybrid approach, offers greater flexibility and out-of-the-box functionalities than Dato CMS. That means that Agility CMS needs to integrate with fewer tools, which results in fewer constraints to create a digital experience.

Keep reading:

Check out the full comparison table here.

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