Part 2: To headless or not to headless? A checklist to help you decide by Jochen Meischke

From buzzword to hype: in a very short time headless has grown into a serious phenomenon. A developer’s darling because of speed, flexibility and low(er) licensing costs – sometimes it can seem like the silver bullet of development. But that’s certainly not always the case. How to choose between headless or not? We’ll help you make heads or tails on headless with these two short checklists.

Headless photo | Code
placeholder | Code

A quick re-cap to refresh your mind: headless uncouples the storefront of your website (what visitors see when they visit your pages) and the ‘back’ of it (your content). Usually a CMS will manage both, determining the look and feel of your website and managing your content, page templates and site structure. Headless decouples those two and puts the focus on a way of managing content that allows for easy access from different places, be it (different) websites or apps. In part 1 of our checklist, we looked into working in different countries, pageload and static versus dynamic webshops. In this part, we’ll look into developer (in)dependency and the advantages and disadvantages of going solo or working with existing platforms.


Independent but unflexible?

Headless flexibility goes hand in hand with customization. The speed of adding new functions depends on your developers. Customization often also means that you are tied to a specific team or company. Does something no longer work properly? Then it is often difficult to have another party build on it. So often you are tied to a single developer - and higher maintenance costs. And this brings us to the next point.

Piggybacking or developing it all yourself?

The playing field of e-commerce is ever-changing. Your competitors will continue to innovate in terms of service, ease of access, product presentation, content marketing, SEO, and so on. Headless has the advantage that your custom-build front can be adjusted very quickly. But you have to devise and realize every visual or technical improvement yourself or together with your developers. With existing platforms and Software as a Service (SaaS) you profit from the continuous development of a platform. This is not only getting better thanks to the combined knowledge and commitment of hundreds of developers, but also through the user experiences of thousands of other e-commerce merchants.

Headless remains an interesting development and is in full swing, but it is far from crystallized. Start-up costs are often low, but managing and further developing your platform is usually expensive. To keep up and continually improve you’re going to be very dependent on developers, and scalability remains a concern. CODE wants to offer customers the best platform to run a webshop. Affordable, manageable and never unnecessarily complicated. We are happy to sit down with you and talk you through this further!

Pro's and con's of headless | Code
Jochen Meischke
Written by

Jochen Meischke

This article was written by Jochen Meischke, content marketeer and editor. He spends most of his time helping the TU Delft Campus ecosystem grow and occasionally writes about wildly unrelated topics for Code and De Marketing Ninja. Loves cats, got tricked into getting a dog and bakes a mean oatmeal cookie.

Back to insights overview