When and Why to use Decoupled Drupal Approach?

We all know that Drupal is an amazing platform for developing websites. But did you know that it’s also a peerless content API which can also be integrated with other technologies? Yes! It can now be done by decoupling Drupal.

The latest vogue in content management world is an idea of “decoupled CMS.” Instead of having a single giant system to manage everything right from content entry and management to theming, it is better to opt for different systems while working on different areas. Because, some platform will be really good in content storage and some other in content management and so on. The concept behind this decoupled CMS is to exploit the services of the content management systems to the fullest.

Theoretically, by separating different parts of a CMS platform into many pieces, a website can grow, scale and evolve more freely. Of course, there are millions of websites which are built using a single CMS platform. It doesn't mean that they can't be built by using decoupling methods. Just because that a CMS is designed with all the capabilities providing all-in-one solution, it doesn't mean that it can’t be used in a decoupled fashion. All that is required is a little proficiency and some open source goodness.

When to use decoupled Drupal?

  1. When your front-end development team is immensely acquainted with non-Drupal technologies and is scuffling to handle Drupal’s theming layer.
  2. When your front-end team wants to make use of new technologies designed for AJAX integration and easy DOM manipulation.
  3. When you want a front-end in non-browser context (a native mobile app).
  4. When you need broad cross-channel pliability; you may want to use Drupal as well as alternative front-ends like mobile apps.
  5. When you have a blend of real-time content sources; For example, a news site that drags dynamic data from web services to the top of abiding content.

However, there are certain drawbacks in using non-Drupal front-ends as they lose native functionality:

  1. Developers may find it difficult to change the content model or presentation, because if there are any changes to be made, it has to be re-implemented in the alternative front-end.
  2. Drupal can no longer create, validate or process your forms automatically.
  3. You may have to re-implement the front-end functionality, if you deploy new modules.
  4. Content developers won’t be able to preview how the content looks like once it goes into production.

There are several other advantages and disadvantages on this Decoupled Drupal approach. For instance, JavaScript-driven interfaces could make you feel irritable because lack of page reloads. Also, sometimes you may have to decide whether the cost of building your own front-end rather than theming Drupal is a worthwhile trade-off. Finally, the Decoupled Drupal approach is a right choice for some websites and use cases and not for all.

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