Authoring for Headless with AEM - An Introduction

In this part of the AEM Headless Content Author Journey, you can learn the (basic) concepts and terminology necessary to understand authoring content for headless content delivery with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) as a Cloud Service.

Objective

  • Audience: Beginner
  • Objective: Introduce the concepts and terminology relevant to Headless Authoring.

Content Management System (CMS)

What is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System (CMS) is just what it says it is - a computer system used to manage content. That’s a bit general, so to be more precise, it is (typically) used for managing content that you want to make available on your website(s).

Headless CMS

Headless is a term used to describe systems that effectively detaches the content from the manner of displaying that content on the web.

Traditionally you would manage your content in a CMS, and the same CMS would be responsible for rendering that content on your webpages.

Now, headless means that your content-set can be managed in the CMS and then accessed by one, or more, (independent) applications.

This means that your content can be delivered to any device, in a wide range of formats. This makes the whole process much more flexible, and also means that you do not need to worry about layout and formatting.

NOTE

If you want to learn more about the technical details of Headless CMS you can read more at Learn About CMS Headless Development.

Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service

So what is AEM?

First and foremost, AEM is a Content Management System with a wide range of features that can also be customized to meet your requirements.

This all means that it can be used as a:

  • Headless CMS

    • For headless, your content can be authored as Content Fragments.
      These are self-contained items of content that can be directly accessed by a range of applications, as they have a predefined structure, based on Content Fragment Models.
      This means your content can reach a wide range of devices, in a wide range of formats and with a wide selection of functionality.
      (And as a double-whammy, these fragments can also be used when constructing AEM web pages - if you want.)
  • “Traditional” CMS

    • Content is authored for web pages, using a range of components that define how the content will be rendered on your website. Even here AEM is extremely flexible as your project team can develop customized components.

Content Modeling

So content modeling (also known as data modeling) is another technical term - why should it interest you as an author?

For the headless applications to be able to access your content, and do something with it, your content really needs to have a predefined structure. It would be possible to have your content as free-form, but it would make life very complicated for the applications.

Basically the process of defining the structure for your content to adhere to involves designing a model - and this is called data modeling.

For AEM the Content Architect role (often a different person) will perform the data modeling to design a range of Content Fragment Models - that you then use as a basis for your content by using Content Fragments.

NOTE

If you want to learn more about data modeling you can read more under the AEM Headless Content Architect Journey.

What’s Next

Now that you have learned the concepts and terminology, the next step is to Learn the basics of authoring Content Fragments. This will introduce the basic handling of AEM together with how to author Content Fragments.

Additional Resources

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