How to create API first decoupled CMS with Drupal

How to create an API-first, decoupled CMS through the development of websites Drupal 8

Website development Drupal 8: how to separate the frontend from the backend and create a "Decoupled CMS" with an API-first approach


One of the most followed trends in recent years by the community of web developers, and therefore also by those involved in the development of Drupal websites, is certainly that of the "Decoupled CMS", that is the possibility of separating the frontend from the backend to make the contents available on more channels and in the most appropriate formats. The evolution of traditional websites towards interactive web applications and the need to access the data in the most disparate ways have made necessary a "decoupled" approach where the traditional web frontend is flanked by more frontends. In some cases, even, native web frontend ceases to be a requirement, becoming secondary to a "client side" framework that allows frontend developers greater control over presentation and interaction with data. 

One of the CMS that was first able to grasp (if not anticipate) this need, giving technological solutions to the new needs of the market is definitely Drupal, the CMS that Archibuzz has chosen as the main platform on which to develop websites and web applications for the most demanding projects.

Our Drupal website development team in Turin knows that there are many ways to reach a solution, and over the last few years a multitude of different approaches have proliferated in the community to achieve a "Drupal Decoupled". While this has enabled different methodologies to be tested to solve the same problem, highlighting the strengths and limitations of each approach, on the other has created ambiguity in the choice for those who work in the development of Drupal websites and that addresses the issue. To be tested, each solution required in-depth research on multiple documentary sources; and operations of a certain complexity in the installation and configuration of modules, to finally come to the conclusion that there could have been a more suitable solution, performing or similar to the way each developer is used to use Drupal - And so, it was up, every time, to start again.

However, two new initiatives have recently emerged that have made us talk about ourselves: the Waterwheel project, by our partner Acquia, and Contenta CMS. These are two Drupal 8 distributions created specifically for those who want to have a "Decoupled Drupal" out of the box, that is ready to use immediately after installation. Let’s look at it in more detail.




archibuzz decoupled drupal waterwheel




Waterwheel comes from the need to make available to all developers of development kits (SDK) to facilitate the development of Drupal websites according to the logic so-called "API first", or starting from the development of the API for the creation of a mobile app, a website, a web application, etc., and only subsequently establishing the channels on which to activate its functionality. Waterwheel consists of a collection of Sdks serving not only Drupal and PHP development teams, but also for all those who do not "speak" in Drupal but want to take advantage of its acknowledged efficiency as a content management system. For this reason, the mission is to help developers to create Drupal applications in Javascript and Swift queries without having to learn all the facets from real "drupalisti". The Waterwheel team also made add-on and a reference app available for the Ember framework and a reference app also for Drupal-React integration for those using the React framework.

Contenta CMS

archibuzz decoupled drupal content cms


Contenta is a Drupal distribution that makes use of JSON features for creating Apis. It is an ambitious project that is receiving much praise for its goal of providing all the tools to create from scratch its own CMS in Drupal even if you have a very limited knowledge of language for the development of Drupal websites. Contenta also allows integration with numerous popular frameworks such as React, Angular, Elm, Ionic and Alexa skills. The ambitious project of Contenta’s team is to include all the Drupal modules and functionalities to know in order to build your own back-end decoupled. Its mission also includes the possibility of being usable "from the first minute" (also thanks to the demo distributed within its package) and the creation of a "Decoupled Knowledge Hub", a documentation centre specifically dedicated to the modules of which Contenta CMS is composed.

Does your project require an API-first approach? Do you need to develop a system with a client-side frontend? Do you want to make the content on your Drupal installation accessible to users via the App interactively? Tell us about your project: our Drupal website development team will provide you with the most suitable "Decoupled Drupal" solution to meet your project needs.