(credit image/Pixabay/Ron Greene)WP Engine, a leading WordPress digital experience platform has launched Atlas, its new headless WordPress product line. The platform enables exponentially faster, dynamic sites with the flexibility and security that comes with headless solutions.

What is headless?

Headless content management system (CMS) is a back-end only CMS built from the ground up as a content repository. The platform makes content accessible via a RESTful API for display on any device. The term “headless” comes from the concept of splitting the “head” (the front end, i.e. the website) off the “body.” (The back end, i.e. the content repository). A headless CMS remains with an interface to add content, in addition to a RESTful API to deliver content wherever you need it. A headless CMS has only one focus. Storing and delivering structured content which can be distributed across a range of devices.

A developers delight

The company says it’s new headless platform should delight both developers and content publishers. Atlas brings together the customer’s choice of modern development framework with powerful front-end node.js hosting and headless WordPress all in one complete package, providing one trusted partner, one price, and one responsible party for troubleshooting.

Jason Cohen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at WP Engine
Jason Cohen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at WP Engine

According to Jason Cohen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at WP Engine “Headless solutions are the future of enterprise WordPress. Yet there isn’t one end-to-end solution out there that includes the dynamic Node.js layer, the static CDN layer and the Headless CMS layer, in one package.

That’s why we created Atlas. Using the modern frameworks they prefer, developers can build personalised, omni-channel experiences integrated with backends at the speed normally reserved for static brochure sites. Marketers maintain critical publishing functionality lacking in other headless CMSs like post previews, SEO optimisations and pages they can control. With Atlas, developers aren’t forced to choose between incredible site performance and dynamic experiences. They retain open source CMS platform that drives 40% of the web. Now upgraded to support developers’ modern architecture. It’s the best of all worlds,” Cohen added.

Why Headless Matters

In short, headless WordPress simply means “no WordPress front-end.” Companies who use an entirely headless solution will typically host a separate JavaScript application for the front-end. This pulls specific WordPress data via APIs — the WordPress REST API or the WPGraphQL plugin.

Headless WordPress provides developers the flexibility and freedom for the “right tech, right job.” WP Engine says it provides integrations with other software and additional layers of security. Moreover, the ability to future-proof the CMS for marketers who gain a new level of flexibility and control of content. They can anticipate new channels, new devices and the ability to publish more broadly and to any device.

Traditional monolithic CMS can restrict content publishers’ content types and location and prevent developers from using modern JavaScript frameworks. Static site generators can solve client site speed. However, they inhibit easy content updates, limit dynamic site builds, and lack custom APIs to integrate with other corporate systems. Native headless CMSs are fast and provide supreme front-end flexibility for omnichannel and internet of things (IoT). Conversely, can get expensive with scale, forfeit an agencies’ expertise in WordPress. They may also lack critical CMS features like SEO, layouts, and authoring workflows that restrict publishing.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business?

This announcement is significant since WP Engine is one of the leading managed WordPress providers in the world. The company is a leader in large WordPress sites, in terms of number of sites, agency partnerships and WordPress tools. It’s also the fastest among the top WordPress hosts with the highest percentage of sites that load in less than 200ms among all other WordPress platforms. This speed advantage is a critical feature. WordPress now powers 40% of the entire Internet, making it the most dominant form of website in the world.

The move towards headless CMS is irresistible. Today’s developers are under pressure to deliver high-performance and secure omnichannel digital experiences. App-like experiences are expected to rank higher and convert better on a platform that easily scales. The platform also integrates with an increasing array of MarTech SaaS tools.
Solution engineers have had to fill in the gaps to architect a complete stack that meets these needs. In doing so, they faced significant time-to-market delays and had to hire talent to manage multiple systems. This lacked transparency on total cost of development and had to jump through a lot of technical hoops to troubleshoot. Roll on the march towards headless.


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