If you own an online store, you must have heard about headless commerce, implying separated frontend and backend. Many merchants nowadays turn to this custom Magento development to ensure flexibility, better customer experience, and UX/UI design.
According to a Salesforce report, 80% of companies that don’t yet have headless architecture today say they plan to implement it in the next two years. But how exactly does it work? The article explains the peculiarities, benefits, and implementation of headless Magento.
How is Headless Magento Different from Monolithic?
Think of most online stores, including many Magento ones, as a combo package where the frontend and backend are tightly bound together. Change something on the frontend? You’ll probably need to tweak the backend too. But this approach has some downsides.
Ever notice how some mobile online stores feel a bit slow? That’s because every time you hop between pages, they’re pulling an entire HTML document from the backend. Plus, many stores aren’t tailored for different devices, which can be a real bummer for users.
Imagine a website designed for desktop use – it can feel super clunky on mobile. You might see a gigantic header hogging the screen, or maybe the main product page only gives you a tiny glimpse of the item details.
As far as headless commerce is concerned, it has three independent elements: a frontend, a backend, and an API as a communication layer between them. The frontend is no longer supported on the backend.
When a user visits the site, the frontend fetches the content via API calls. It then processes and displays this content dynamically using frontend frameworks like React or Vue.js.
Benefits of Headless Magento
Why would we even consider turning to headless Magento? The answer is in the number of benefits and solutions to traditional architecture issues it provides. Here are some of them:
By separating the frontend and backend, developers have the freedom to design the storefront without being constrained by platform-specific themes or templates. This gives brands the ability to deliver unique and tailored customer experiences.
When you split up the frontends and backends, the website gets lighter and loads up faster. Think about it like this: if you’re working on a headless Magento site, tweaking its speed can be a breeze because of the flexibility in customization. Plus, folks often swap out the old frontend for these cool PWA storefronts. These use something called Service Worker tech to store data right on your device, making web pages zip by even faster.
So, back in the day, if you wanted to upload content to your website, phone app, or any other gadget, you’d be juggling a bunch of admin dashboards. But with the headless approach, everything’s hooked up to the Magento CMS. This means you can upload content super quickly and make sure your brand’s message stays consistent across all devices.
Customizing and maintaining an open-source platform like Magento takes a lot of code. Errors and defects can be produced by careless modification. It is simpler to make changes to the frontend without impacting the backend or vice versa after the backend has been decoupled from the frontend. Without the constraints of the traditional frontend, businesses can implement custom features, animations, or interactions that stand out and match their brand’s vision.
Better Integration Capabilities
Headless Magento is constructed to connect seamlessly with other systems, tools, or platforms through well-defined APIs. Whether it’s CRM systems, ERP solutions, or other third-party tools, integration becomes a more straightforward process with a system built to communicate via APIs.
How to Make Your Magento Headless?
There are several ways to make your Magento website headless:
Apply a PWA
Everybody wants your Magento store to be snappy and responsive on both desktop and mobile. If it’s your desire as well, PWAs (Progressive Web Apps) is your choice. They’re the brightest actors of the headless Magento world, delivering speed, reliability, and a top-notch user experience. Think of PWAs as those cool sites that load bit by bit, giving users a smoother ride compared to traditional websites.
Create a Flexible Headless Framework
Got some talented devs up your sleeve? Well, you could craft your very own headless Magento frontend. This is like going off-road – you get all the freedom to create whatever you want. But a heads-up: you’ll need some good professionals well-versed in the frameworks like React.js, Vue.js, Next.js, or Gatsby.
Integrate a Headless CMS
Another choice is to use a content management system (CMS). A headless CMS has a content management interface and a RESTful or GraphQL API for content delivery. Contentful, Agility, Netlify, and Sanity are among the well-known headless CMS technologies.
Switching to a headless setup with Magento gives it some extra pep, making it more agile and ready to play nice with other integrations to boost your business. Still, while it’s got some serious perks, don’t forget there are challenges like potentially longer rollout times and the need for more development efforts.
About the Author: Alex Husar is a chief technology officer at Onilab. Working at the company for almost a decade, Alex has gained proficiency in web development, creating progressive web apps (PWAs), and team management. Alex constantly deepens his knowledge in various technological areas and shares it in his articles. He helps programmers overcome common challenges and stay updated with the latest web development trends.