29 Jan 2016
“Headless” or Decoupled
Drupal followed by “Headless”, is a couplet word grabbing a lot of popularity in the Drupal world, but is it here to stay? We shall find out.

What is Headless Drupal?

So, what makes Headless Drupal differ from Vanilla Drupal? Well, when visitors access a website built using Headless Drupal, the front end is not rendered by Drupal. The front end is rather rendered by the connected Javascript framework such as Backbone.js, Angular.js, Knockout.js. Since the rendered front end is not Drupal theme hence it is called “Headless”.
 
In “Headless” Drupal implementation, Drupal is used as a backend CMS while the front end can be any javascript framework or may be a mobile application as well. 
 
 
 

How does Headless Drupal make a developer’s life easy?

  • Drupal installation is easy and smooth to maintain.
  • Drupal theming layer’s limitations are easily overcome and highly creative methods to present data can be used by decoupling the front end
  • Development teams working on the project can easily be decoupled. Eg: backend (Drupal), frontend, iOS App and Android App teams can work independently and simultaneously on the same project.
  • No pain, as editors do not have to learn new software or for developers to update the codebase
  • Content exposure is done as JSON or XML, HTTP authentication which are standard technologies for implementations

 

How Headless Drupal is used to create sites?

  • Check the availability of API from Drupal.
  • JSON is the most popular API format provided by Drupal and also most of the programming language can understand it. JSON API are ready to work for all program which access web.
  • The RESTful module or the RESTful Web Services modules make Drupal headless. The Drupal 8 puts the RESTful Web Services module into its core.
  • The most well-known interface for Drupal 7 and an alternate front-end is the Services module, which has a very Drupal-ish manner (e.g. hook_services_alter()) of exposing various interfaces. It comes with built-in REST and XML-RPC interfaces, and allows you to expose, nodes, users, taxonomies and other core data fairly easily behind custom endpoints (API paths). You can also use it as a basis for specifying your own custom services.

 

Some of the popular Javascript frameworks

  • Node.js
  • Backbone.js
  • Express.js
  • AngularJS
  • KnockoutJS

 

To Conclude

With the advent of numerous specialized technologies for front end, Headless Drupal would have a significant role to play in creating sophisticated technology platform implementations. Drupal shall also serve as a lightweight integration point for different technology platforms catering to varied verticals.