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Can content authors be happy on the JAMstack?

shortdiv profile image Divya ・2 min read

A common JAMstack setup has the content of a site, live in a git repository alongside code and templates. This setup makes working with JAMstack sites easy since setting up, running and deploying sites is a matter of simply pulling a git repository and running a build command. Generally, a separate content database is not a requirement on the JAMstack though it is strongly encouraged. It is a rare case where every contributor on a JAMstack project is technical. Expecting a non technical content author to write in markdown and commit directly to Git is unrealistic. Especially since many have found proficiency in feature rich CMSes like WordPress that provide tools and plugins to customize how content looks.

Fortunately, there are numerous headless CMS options that integrate well with the JAMstack approach to keep both developers and content authors productive and happy. Contenful, WordPress REST API, and Netlify CMS are some examples of headless CMS solutions available today. Through an easy to use, WYSIWYG UI inspired by traditional CMSes like WordPress, headless CMSes provide a rich content authoring experience that content authors crave. Features like open authoring in Netlify CMS moreover, offer a seamless way to support guest content contributors so content can be easily submitted without the overhead of setting up new user accounts in a CMS and with the backing of version control through Git. All this gives content authors the freedom they need to make changes and confidently deploy directly to production, thanks to the inner workings of version control to back them up.

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Divya

@shortdiv

Tea drinker in a coffee drinking world

Discussion

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Good post Divya! I agree that headless CMS give the authors a much improved experience in writing and editing content (seeng as editing straight Markdown files really doesn't cut it for most non-dev contributors). There are still some bridges left to cross though, such as previewing changes, inline editing, and so on. Obviously I am biased since that is something Stackbit is focused on building tools to improve, but others are as well including Forestry with TinaCMS and even Gatsby with previews. I think we're getting there in terms of the experience for content authors and editors and 2020 may well be the year we fully solve this.