Content is everything and everything is contentMonday, October 23, 2017
'Content is King', that's the saying these days isn't it? As web solution providers we strive to find better ways to manage content and present it to end users. As headless CMSs grow in popularity, do we need to rethink what qualifies as being content?
When working through the delivery planning process of a new site, we typically come away with two types of things: pages and components. Our pages are the entities that make up our content and have a distinct structure. Think of things like news articles, or perhaps products. Components are used to provide features such as call-to-action (CTA) blocks, or related articles. In the world of Kentico, components are created as web parts and widgets that can either be added to a page template or to individual pages. At Ridgeway, we've worked in this way for a while and it's served us, and our clients well.
What has changed?
Over the past year, we've been looking into headless CMS platforms and assessing the challenges that they bring. In particular, at Ridgeway, we have been looking into Kentico Cloud and how we can leverage it to bring benefit to our new and existing clients. One of the key things about a headless CMS is that - as they are channel agnostic - widgets and web parts simply don't exist. Indeed, we also see that web parts are not featured in the MVC delivery option for Kentico CMS. So how do we work with that?
Kentico Cloud has a concept called Modular Content. This allows you to manage the relationship between content and to embed modular content into rich-text fields. When you consume content in your customer-facing application, you can then decide what to do with that information and how best to display it for the relevant channel.
Working in the new world
So if we look at our CTA block; rather than considering a widget on a page, we consider a piece of content in its own right. Something that can be reused across our whole solution and that can be changed in one single location.
Through the search tools available in Kentico Cloud, it's also very simple to find and manage these pieces of content by using the filters in the content inventory.
As you familiarise yourself with thinking in this way and fully adopting the idea of modular content, you should realise that the same approach is, of course, available in Kentico CMS. In fact, it works perfectly with the MVC approach in Kentico CMS, as web parts simply are not a thing that you can use.
By taking a step back from the traditional perspective of web content management, we're able to envisage a scenario that has a much greater depth of content. In this scenario, almost everything can be thought of as content, even those things we might traditionally treat as components.