What is Strapi and how it will dominate the world of headless CMS?
What is a headless CMS?
Have you ever used WordPress or a similar content management system? They are convenient tools, with the frontend, backend, and database all in the same place. But what do you do, for example, if the frontend is too slow? How can you change it out for something faster when you’ve got a setup like that?
A headless CMS separates the frontend, backend, and database into independent components. This has a few big benefits. It makes things run faster and it makes it possible for developers on different teams to work on different components at the same time, rather than having to wait for others to finish before they can start working.
A headless CMS gives you far greater control over what you can do on a particular part of a project, such as the frontend. This is especially useful in developing mobile apps, where you want your frontend to be fancy, or when you prefer to use something other than PHP in the backend.
So why choose Strapi?
Strapi is user-friendly and easy enough to pick up that you can start using it right away. Most developers should be able to pick it up in less than an hour, and in fact, with Strapi, you don’t even need to be a coder. Sure, being able to code helps and is useful, but it isn’t a necessity.
Strapi is also a secure way to manage data and the connection between frontend and backend.
In sum, Strapi is fast, user-friendly, scalable, secure, and works well with most modern frameworks, such as React and Node.
Strapi content management
Strapi includes content and role management, and you can set admin and user roles to help with content management authority. For example, you can set roles for frontend and backend developers, as well as the scope those roles have authority over. Strapi’s security and permissions, especially for content and data management, are among its greatest strengths.
While Strapi doesn’t have as many plugins as WordPress, there are plenty of options to fill your needs. Webhooks can be set up for different triggers to send messages, and cron jobs are easy to set up.
Pros and cons of Strapi
Strapi is easy to develop with and has great integration, especially with Node. In addition, it has several other factors going for it.
- Customization is the main reason why I use Strapi, as its headless CMS offers endless options in what can be done.
- The speed at which you can develop is also a selling point. Different development teams can work on different components in parallel to each other. This allows for easily scalable projects and eliminates a lot of the headaches of work being blocked.
- Strapi’s built-in authentication and solid security and permissions system can be quickly applied to numerous developers, which makes Strapi one of the more secure options for development and data security.
- Documentation within Strapi is on point and thorough, generating a trail for you to backtrack.
However, Strapi does have some downsides and tradeoffs to keep in mind.
- Strapi has limited support for typescript, which is rapidly gaining popularity in coding.
- Strapi puts out frequent updates, which might sound like a good thing, as bugs are rapidly fixed. But this poses a challenge for developers. Major updates can mean that you have to rework things that were fine in previous versions, but no longer work after the update. With frequent updates, you might have to do this often, depending on how unfortunate you are. In general, the bigger your project is, the greater the headache this becomes.
- Schema changes are also an issue, as migrating data can be difficult after changes. This extends to migration in general to and from Strapi. For example, migrating from WordPress is cumbersome. And even within Strapi itself, migrating from Strapi 3 to Strapi 4 has a major issue with documentation, as there isn’t enough documentation to tell you how and what to do. This could be a major issue depending on what you are doing. Simple data migrations are not too much of a hurdle, but migrations involving e-commerce, with payments and logins, can quickly get complicated.
Should you use Strapi?
In conclusion, use Strapi if you want the flexibility that a headless CMS provides. Strapi is convenient and offers a tool to get the job done quickly and with great control, especially when your development team is large. A rough analogue to the choice between Strapi and something like WordPress is comparing a PC and a Mac.
Strapi, like a PC, offers far more options for what you can do and how you can do it, while WordPress, like a Mac, gives you a convenient package that contains just the things that you would most likely use within a set framework.
Strapi has its issues and isn’t likely to become a “Wordpress killer,” but in my opinion, its pros far outweigh its cons. I find that I prefer working with Strapi to all the other options I have.