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Headless CMS: A Breath of Fresh Air for Developers


by Radka Uhlirova

Jul 5, 2017

The web developer world—desktops, laptops, office buildings. "Fresh air" can often be seen as a luxury. But Brian McKeiver, Solution Architect and Co-Owner of the BizStream digital agency, wasn’t talking about the work environment when he shared his thoughts on headless CMS after launching his first project built on Kentico Cloud.

Brian and his team gained a lot of fresh experience with headless CMS while building a new website for their product CaseStream, a cloud-based case management software for domestic violence, abuse and shelter organizations. 

We talked to Brian in May after his showcase presentation at Kentico Roadshow in Boston and asked him a few questions about the benefits of a headless CMS and some recommendations for others gearing up to embrace the new technology. 

What did you find to be the biggest difference between a traditional CMS and a headless CMS?
When I think of traditional or standard CMS packages, I tend to first think about what it takes to install, set up, and configure the solution to enable developers to start developing. My second concern is what features or platform-included functionality I can start using out of the box. With a headless CMS offering, like Kentico Cloud, neither of these things is an issue. Shifting from traditional to headless requires a mind shift, too, as a headless CMS is a pure content repository without any presentation layer, and not a full-blown solution.

The best way for me to sum up the biggest difference between standard CMS and headless CMS is that a headless approach allows you the freedom to focus on your content first, which in my experience is key to delivering a successful solution.

Where do you currently see the best fit for a headless CMS?
Inside organizations that care about the quality and consistency of their content and about how that content is delivered, and want to re-use that content in multiple channels; like company websites, native mobile applications, paid search advertisements, and/or kiosk-based applications.

Brian McKeiver, BizStream


What was your experience as a developer when using a headless CMS?
As a developer, my experience using a headless CMS was a breath of fresh air. I was able to use some of the latest and greatest Microsoft technologies like ASP.NET Core, Visual Studio 2017, and Azure App Services to develop the solution. It was nice to use a few bleeding edge technologies that I don’t always get to use in my daily work.

How would you explain the benefits of a headless CMS to your clients?
Some people say that headless CMS is reactive in nature; that it just manages content and then waits for a developer or application to ask for it. I disagree with this. 

I feel that headless CMS gives our potential clients the ability to really focus on content creation and curation without any technical caveats, preconceived use for content, or handicaps that a standard CMS package may impose because of possible legacy technology. Headless CMS allows you to develop content quickly, closely collaborate with your content editors in a web-based environment, and provide an API for accessing content, all before a developer needs to get involved.

What would be your recommendation for other agencies starting with a headless CMS?
My recommendation for other agencies starting with headless CMS is the same as it is with any new technology: walk before you run. Use the new technology on a few small projects first, get past the initial learning curve, and then ramp it up to larger and more complex solutions for your clients.

We want to thank Brian for answering our questions and providing us with his presentation from the Kentico Roadshow. Watch the presentation or go through the slides:


If you are interested in more information about the CaseStream project and how 
BizStream built the website in just 12 days, read our CaseStream case study

Read other interviews with our partners who have a fresh hands-on experience with using Kentico Cloud for their projects: 

Create Content for Multiple Channels with Headless CMC / Jeroen Fürst
Headless CMS Changes the Website Development Process / Sean Lamacraft 
What Headless CMS Means to Digital Agencies and Their Clients / Andy Thompson