How To Future-proof your Content Stack

Use Headless or Decoupled Content-as-a-Service and define your Content Architecture as a foundation for your ongoing digital growth

Joel Varty
Joel Varty
February 6, 2019
How To Future-proof your Content Stack

When you look at all the output that your marketing and business teams create and want to deliver to various different channels, we call that your Content Stack. Optimizing your content processes now and for future growth, all comes down to starting with good Content Architecture.

This architecture is easy to set up and will drive the success of your digital teams. Good content architecture means that editors and approvers have a consistent experience when composing and delivering to all the different channel outputs in their domain. We've come to know this process as Content as a Server, or CaaS and Agility is the best tool to drive your digital transformation or journey to the next level.

Content as a Service (CaaS) is The Future

Essentially, CaaS is a SaaS (Software as a Service) that essentially replaces the ageing, more traditional CMS approach using a Headless or Decoupled approach to managing your content. Instead of editing your content inside of your website itself, CaaS takes your content OUTSIDE of the website and makes it available to developers in an API or SDK so they can use it anywhere.
That's how we get the idea of multi-channel or multi-output content delivery. For instance, when you add an item to a list inside of Agility, that content can show up on one or more websites, in an iOS or Android app, on your social media pages, etc. What's truly inspirational about Content as a Service is that you can re-purpose and re-use existing content as new technologies and new channels emerge.

What about other CMS Platforms?

CaaS is a term that has caught on in the industry. Traditional CMS platforms such as Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal have all added API access onto their current offerings to help folks get content out of the CMS and into other systems. That doesn't make for good content architecture, though; it's just a stopgap. Yes, those systems can now claim to have RESTful APIs, but if you are on the path to a more future-proof system that can grow with you, the platform should check off the following boxes:

  • SaaS (Software as a Service)
  • Cloud-based Content Delivery
  • Decoupled or Headless model


Kickstart Your Digital Transformation

Some organizations are just beginning their digital transitions, and others have experience with the benefits of several different content platforms. Wherever you are on that journey, it's worth looking at how you would architect your content in a way that works to improve your processes now and as your team evolves.

Decouple and Go Headless!

With a decoupled approach, you can rewrite your website, apps, and change your social network strategy all while using the same content in the backend. That means it's worth the extra work up front to specify exactly what your content is comprised of in terms of field types, lists, items, and relationships. Your team will be able to rely on that structure for composing, approving and publishing new content. It also becomes your blueprint for the future. I'd wager its the best investment that you'll make as a content-driven digital organization.

Let's see what Content Architecture looks like in Agility.

Start with Content Definitions

Agility lets you easily define out custom content types, but it's essential to draw that out in a diagram first.

Content Definitions

In the diagram above we have 4 Content Definitions defined, the main one being our "Post" type, which has several fields on it, which vary in what kind of data they store. The Post Definition has 3 special Content fields, which in turn point to other Content Definitions for Author, Category and Tags.

Agility makes it really easy to set up this structure.  If you take a bit of time to create a simple diagram as we did above, it doesn't take long to build out the Definitions to support it.  Here are the fields on the Author Definition.

Content Definition Fields on Author Type

Now we can create an actual Content List based on the Author Definition.  Let's go ahead and do that in the Shared Content section.

Create Content List

Alright, now for the really cool part.  Let's jump to our Post Definition, where we're going to set up a Content Field that will link to the Authors list that we've just created.

Linked Content Field

There's a lot going on in this screen, but it makes sense as you work your way through it.  We're calling this field Author, and we pointing it to the Author Definition, using the Post Authors List in Shared Content.  And, so that Developers can reference the correct item in code, we indicated that we wanted to save the selected Content ID in the AuthorID field.  

If we take the same approach with the other Linked Content references, we can easily create very sophisticated content structures to enable our Content Composers and Editors with a rich set of tools.  Here's what the actual Input Form can look like in the Content Manager, based on what we've setup in the Definitions.

That's it!  Congratulations, you've made it to the end of the guide!

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