Headless system

Headless definition

In the software field, the term headless describes a software application or program that functions without a frontend. This usually means that it has to be connected to another frontend application or interface via API to achieve full functionality for end users.

Benefits of headless systems

Headless software has a variety of benefits. These mostly center around the fact that multiple pieces of software can be integrated together to create a custom system for any purpose. This modularity and customizability allows businesses to adapt a headless system to a new frontend layout whenever needed.

Making frontend layout changes to a monolithic system (a system with a fully-connected front and backend) usually requires changes to the entire system. This is because the frontend and backend are tightly intertwined. Headless systems solve this problem by allowing the frontend and backend to be altered, managed and even hosted separately.

Headless systems are also perfectly suited for launching omnichannel campaigns. This is because each frontend channel can be connected to the backend separately. Headless systems are designed for scalability, as the system can be changed incrementally to deal with higher demand as and when necessary.

Headless content management system (CMS)

A headless CMS provides the backend infrastructure that allows businesses to upload, edit, and publish content. This backend system is then connected to a separate frontend that controls how the content appears.. 

A headless CMS can be connected to multiple different frontend channels/devices. The ability to connect with multiple different channels makes headless content management systems perfect for large-scale, omnichannel marketing or content campaigns. The CMS takes the content, as uploaded by the user, and feeds it to each of the separate frontend channels.

Headless commerce

In much the same way as a headless CMS, headless commerce makes use of a headless backend to manage an ecommerce operation. It allows businesses to control all the essential functions of their ecommerce operation from one single backend application. This backend is connected to a separate frontend ecommerce interfaces that display the online shop to the end user.

A Headless commerce stack gives businesses much greater flexibility when altering the appearance of their end product. This is because frontend changes are much easier to implement when using a headless architecture.

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