Blog / Digital Agencies

Headless CMS Changes the Website Development Process—Interview with Sean Lamacraft


by Radka Uhlirova

May 30, 2017

Sean Lamacraft shares his views on developing a website with headless CMS and how using Kentico Cloud changed the development process and project plan. He explains where he sees the best fit for a headless CMS and the limitations of the headless CMS approach.

Sean Lamacraft, Head of Technical Services at Distinction, presented a great case study at Kentico Roadshow in London, explaining how the Distinction team used Kentico Cloud to rebuild the Family Business Awards website. We took this opportunity to have a short interview with Sean about developing websites with a headless CMS.

If you're interested in Sean's presentation, Website Development Using a Headless CMS, where he also compares developing websites with a traditional and headless CMS and how typical and headless project plans differ, scroll down to the end of this blog post.


What was the biggest difference for you between a traditional CMS and headless CMS?
Currently, the biggest differences between the two are the feature sets and the limitations of tech usage. The traditional CMS will, at first glance, appear more attractive to end users due to the vast amount of options and modules available. The headless CMS strips back the approach and allows the user to concentrate on the core offering of a CMS—the content. Due to the reduced feature set and simplified approach, the headless CMS allows developers to use a wide range of technology.

Where do you currently see the best fit for a headless CMS?
While the potential options are growing every day, currently there are two main uses for the headless CMS. Firstly, a content-first, streamlined microsite or brochure site, and secondly, a platform agnostic, omni-channel solution.

What was the biggest difference in your development and deployment process?
The biggest differences we found around the development process are the speed of development and the removal of several project bottlenecks. With a traditional CMS, you are generally restricted on how much you can progress through a project until a prior section is complete. For example, wireframes need to be complete before design can start, design needs to be complete before front-end build can begin, and so on. With a headless, content-first approach, back-end development can start as soon as the first wireframe has been signed off and the user can start adding content at the same time. This speeds up the development considerably.

Where do you see limitations of the headless CMS approach?
The only limitations to a headless CMS approach are time and cost. It gives you the ability to control and organize your content, but the rest is up to you. If you want to run an e-commerce site using a headless CMS, you can, but a lot of the functionality will need to be custom—compared to a traditional CMS where it comes off the shelf. Alternatively, you could look to use other third parties to provide the functionality, but then you run the risk of running a complex solution with more points of failure.

What would be your recommendation for other agencies starting with a headless CMS?
Try it. You won’t be disappointed as long as you control your expectations and understand that headless and traditional CMSs are not the same thing. Choose the right project. Have a good briefing on how it's going to work and get going. I’m convinced you’ll love the freedom you have and the reduction of those pesky project bottlenecks.


We want to thank Sean for answering our questions and providing us with his great presentation. After getting familiar with Kentico Cloud, Sean also wrote a blog post reviewing the benefits of Kentico Cloud. And, do not forget to watch Sean's presentation from Kentico Roadshow.

We apologize for the recording's poor sound quality.

Recording
Presentation