Introduction to Adobe Experience Manager as a Headless CMS

Learn how to use Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) as a Headless CMS, with features such as Content Models, Content Fragments, and a GraphQL API that power headless experiences at scale.

You can read detailed documentation of the various features involved and/or follow the selection of Headless Journeys to get an overview of the first steps.

NOTE

See also What is Headless? for an introduction to Headless concepts and terminology.

Overview

AEM Headless is a CMS solution from Experience Manager that allows structured content (Content Fragments) in AEM to be consumed by any app over HTTP using GraphQL. Headless implementations enable delivery of experiences across platforms and channels at scale.

Headless implementation forgoes page and component management as is traditional in full stack and hybrid solutions and focuses on the creation of channel-neutral, reusable fragments of content and their cross-channel delivery. It is a modern and dynamic development pattern for implementing web experiences.

AEM Implementation Models

Features of AEM Headless

AEM as a Cloud Service is a flexible tool for the headless implementation model by offering three powerful features:

  1. Content Models
    • Content Models are structured representation of content.
    • Content Models are defined by information architects in the AEM Content Fragment Model editor.
    • Content Models serve as a basis for Content Fragments.
  2. Content Fragments
    • Content Fragments are created based on a Content Model.
    • Created by content authors using the AEM Content Fragment editor.
    • Content Fragments are stored in AEM Assets and managed in Assets Admin UI.
  3. Content API for delivery

Your First Steps with AEM Headless

There are several resources available to get started with AEM’s headless features. Each guide is tailored for different use cases and audiences.

Resource Description Type Audience Est. Time
Headless Developer Journey For developers new to AEM and headless technologies, start here for a comprehensive introduction to AEM and its headless features from the theory of headless through going live with your first headless project. Guide Developers new to AEM and headless 1 hour
Headless Setup For experienced AEM users who need a short summary of the key AEM headless features, check out this quick start overview. Reference Setup Developers, Administrators with AEM experience 20 minutes
Headless hands-on tutorial If you prefer a hands-on approach and are familiar with AEM, this tutorial dives directly into implementing a simple headless app. Tutorial Developers 2 hours
Headless Architect Journey For architects new to AEM and headless technologies, start here for an introduction to the powerful, and flexible, headless features of Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service, and how to model content for your project. Guide Architects 1 hour
Headless Authoring Journey For business users new to AEM and headless technologies, start here for an introduction to the powerful, and flexible, headless features of Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service, and how to model content for your project. Guide Content Creators 1 hour
Headless Translation Journey For those interested in AEM’s translation approach to headless. Learn about headless technologies and how to create and update translation projects in AEM from A to Z. Guide Translation Specialists 1 hour

Comparing Headful and Headless

This guide focuses on the full headless implementation model of AEM. However headful versus headless need not be a binary choice in AEM. Headless features can be used to manage and deliver content to multiple touch-points, while also enabling content authors to edit single page applications. All in AEM.

TIP

See the document Headful and Headless in AEM for more information.

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