Modern development - Contentful: The joy of programmatic stacked eXperiences
This series is devoted to examining the leading trends that go towards defining the shape of modern software application development.
As we have initially discussed here, with so many new platform-level changes now playing out across the technology landscape, how should we think about the cloud-native, open-compliant, mobile-first, Agile-enriched, AI-fuelled, bot-filled world of coding and how do these forces now come together to create the new world of modern programming?
There’s a lot of talk out there relating to digital experiences… so much so that we’re now hearing about companies who describe themselves as Digital eXperience Platform (DXP) specialists.
Working to push forward its notion of modern software application development tooling in the DXP arena is headless content management specialist Contentful with its new App Framework.
The company suggests that developers look to build a digital experience stack, as opposed to buying a monolithic suite. The stack approach offering greater flexibility, apparently.
What makes a modern tech stack?
The App Framework builds on Contentful’s extensibility function, which the company says deliberately champion the ‘modern tech stack’, an approach to assembling a group of best-in-class services, seamlessly integrated with open APIs.
Steve Sloan, CEO of Contentful argues that this approach also enables brands to evolve their tech stacks to incorporate new tools — he claims thousands of brands are moving from legacy suites to modern platform architectures.
“We’re in a new era of digital experiences, where customers expect unique brand experiences across an increasing number of channels,” said Sloan. “Brands can’t keep up with this demand using monolithic, legacy CMS suites. Contentful’s App Framework enables businesses to build connected experiences with scalable apps on a unified content platform.”
He insists that when customers connect their growing portfolio of digital experience services (such as optimisation, analytics, collaboration, translation, deployment and delivery) to Contentful’s content platform, they make more of both content and technology investments.
“We’re in a new era of digital experiences, where customers expect unique brand experiences across an increasing number of channels,” said Sloan. “The best developers think about the long term and how to future-proof their content management systems. While it’s impossible to plan for — or even imagine — every future need, extensibility and adaptability are design principles that are the key to lasting value.
The best developers also make their future lives easier by choosing technology with open APIs so they can adopt new tools as they become available. The technology and tools should give them the freedom to work in any language or framework, and come without the technical debt burden of legacy systems.”
He also insists that when customers connect their growing portfolio of digital experience services (such as optimisation, analytics, collaboration, translation, deployment and delivery) to Contentful’s content platform, they make more of both content and technology investments.
“Creating the full experience for customers or users takes a ton of collaboration among the people we call ‘builders’ — developers, content creators, editors, designers and their teams. Historically, this has been hard since a traditional CMS required each group to wait for the other to finish their work before the next group could get started.
We’ve massively decreased the time to create new digital experiences or change them by helping builders work in parallel. As an example, editors can write or update copy without waiting for developers to finish the front-end coding. The same is true for front-end and back-end teams. The content model creates a clear framework and the teams can then create, update and deploy code independently of each other,” said Sloan.
Dirk Weckerlei, global head of partner management at cloud ecommerce company Commercetools says his company is happy to team up with Contentful on its quest to enable our customers to create seamless commerce experiences.
“Our microservices approach, combined with Contentful’s API-first App Framework, enables brands such as Bang & Olufsen to unify content across all their channels.”
A set of new API endpoints, libraries and blueprints make up the App Framework. These tools are designed to help developers build custom apps and integrate existing services.
The company says that developing apps with its platform is made easier because developers can use open source code to build integrations. More than a dozen independent software vendors, including Optimizely, Netlify and Commercetools, now offer apps on Contentful to help customers to apply these services across their entire organization in just a few clicks.