What is Headless WordPress: Is it the Future of Web Development?

What is Headless WordPress: Is it the Future of Web Development?

WordPress is used by more than 40% of the websites in the world. WordPress developers and users are familiar with numerous themes and plugins. 

However, in the recent announcement, WP Engine – the most trusted WordPress technology across the world – announced Atlas. This is the latest, new Headless WordPress product. 

The Atlas is a headless WordPress platform, allowing security and flexibility to exponential dynamic sites. 

In a way, Atlas combines the modern development framework with the powerful, robust front-end Node.js hosting and headless WordPress in one package, offering a trusted partner, one support organization and one price. 

However, for the unaware, let me explain to you what headless means.

What is Headless WordPress? 

In simple words, headless is not referred to such a CMS that doesn’t have a header section. Rather, it means that you can easily use the headless CMS as a generic content management system, regardless of the type of technology used to develop the front-end. 

Rest API enables developers to interact with the interfaces of cross-technology until both are speaking the same JSON language. WordPress Rest API brings out data in JSON format, which a massive number of internet technologies can understand.

Is Headless WordPress the Future of Web Development?

To put in simple words, headless WordPress signifies no WordPress front end. Companies using a completely headless solution can generally host a separate JavaScript app for their front end. 

This will pull certain WordPress data through APIs. With headless WordPress, developers can attain ultimate freedom and flexibility for the right tech and right job. 

Extra security layers, seamless integration with other software, and a future-proof content management system are a few plus points that make headless WordPress worthy of the future. 

Moreover, marketers can also control their content, predict new channels and publish more broadly.

Benefits of Using a Headless WordPress CMS

Considering that it is an open-source platform, WordPress provides amazing flexibility to create almost every type of website. 

Thus, using this platform as a headless CMS lets you create the front-end of the web applications with any web technology and manage the content with the help of the popular CMS. 

You may face such a situation where you may add a blog feature in the existing app built with either Angular or React. 

Rather than coding the entire content management system in a native framework, you can use WordPress headless CMS to manage and regulate content with the help of Rest API.

How to Use WordPress as a Headless CMS?

Jotted down below is a step-by-step guide that will help you understand how WordPress can be used as a headless CMS.

  • To begin with, download the WP-Rest API plugin zip file and upload the same inside the WordPress plugins folder.
  • Once uploaded, activate the plugin. This will allow the activation of WordPress Rest API inside the website.
  • Now, navigate to Settings and click on Permalinks. There, choose either Custom Structure or Post name. Since you will be working with API calls, you will have to download Postman – a chrome extension. Inside the Postman, enter the below-mentioned URL:

https://yourwebsitename.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts

  • This URL will take post data inside the WordPress website.
  • Next, to create custom posts, you will have to download the Custom Post Type UI plugin.
  • Once installed and activated, move ahead to add a new post type.
  •  Inside the Post Type Slug, type the custom post’s name.
  • Ensure that the checkbox of Show in REST API is set to True. Apart from that, the REST API base slug also has to set.
  • Check all of the boxes for the required information you need from the REST API.
  • After you have saved the changes, you will see a new option in the sidebar. Click on the same and add a new Book in the custom post type.
  • To verify whether the data through API is available, click on the URL inside the Postman.
  • Now, the URL should look like this:

https://yourwebsite.com/wp-json/wp/v2/books

  • With the help of ACF to RestAPI and ACF plugins, you can also add more fields.

Examples of Headless WordPress

Here are a few examples that are making the most out of headless WordPress. Have a look!

1. TechCrunch

TechCrunch is one of the prominent examples of WordPress websites. It’s one of the largest technology blogs hosted on WordPress.com VIP. Back in 2018, they re-built their site completely. 

Apart from making the design more accessible and usable, they also followed a best-in-technology approach. 

They developed a Redux / React app and a decoupled WordPress back end and connected them both with the REST API. Through this, they managed to

  • Eradicate the requirement to load pages fully every time
  • Make the site easier to maintain
  • Achieve faster performance
  • Make the site behave like a native app

2. Facebook Brand Resource Center

This one is a website that the social network uses as its style guide for the brand assets. It is yet another beautiful example of a site developed with headless WordPress. 

This site has an open, cool design that adjusts upon clicking through any of their brand sites. 

Even on the subpages, it can be noticed that just parts of the page load whenever you click around. Static elements, such as the menu, stay visible on the site’s screen.

It also has a smooth scrolling effect when the left-side menus are used. Overall, it looks more interactive and fluent than a regular PHP website.

3. BeachBody on Demand

The next headless WordPress example is this workout streaming platform. It has a slick user interface that comes up to be a JavaScript interface developed on WordPress. It could be React based. 

Upon looking around, you can discover a lot of custom functionality, recipes, products, courses, videos, and more. 

Even the blog is well-designed. The site has been developed using XWP. Accordingly, the purpose behind headless WordPress was to streamline the management of content and to automate the asset handling, such as images. 

Conclusion

With a headless CMS, editors can acquire such an interface that makes managing content easier and seamless. 

For developers, it offers APIs to develop applications, making it faster and simpler to store, edit and publish content. 

Headless WordPress is different from decoupled and traditional CMSes as they are API-exclusive and don’t have any connection with content rendering. Thus, choosing such a WordPress can help you be a part of this futuristic technology. 

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