See our headless Drupal case study for Powdr/Boreal Resorts with Hoorooh Digital

Decoupled Drupal, on the other hand, leverages Drupal as an admin and content management system only. It provides content and data through web service APIs to a entirely different frontend system for maximum flexibility, including:

  • Highly interactive websites
  • Voice apps
  • Progressive web apps
  • Javascript apps
  • Native/mobile apps
  • Third-party services

When Take It Off—The Benefits of Decoupling

Decoupled Drupal's main benefit is the freedom to present content in a variety of user experiences. It also future-proofs a platform. Using decoupled Drupal, the front-end experience could be later updated or replaced entirely without needing to migrate or rebuild the underlying Drupal architecture. This approach is great if you’re looking for:

  • "Pageless" navigation with little transitions for a fast, app-like feel
  • Numerous state changes to control data visualizations or dashboards
  • Updating parts of a page with real-time data like complex ecommerce or booking apps
  • A native mobile app and web app  powered by a single codebase

When to Leave it On—The Downside to Decoupling

You may be asking, "Why you wouldn't always go headless?" The answer is there are always trade offs. With decoupled Drupal, you're typically spending additional time building out the front and back end separately, which takes more time up front. Often, some core Drupal functionality is lost in the process as well and must be recreated, such as user authentication or page routing. It all depends on how it's built and the use case at hand.

However, hybrid approaches to decoupled Drupal can offer the best of both worlds—interactivity with a robust and reliable backend that scales.

Javascript Frontend Friendly

A decoupled approach allows Javascript frameworks such as React, VUE.js, Angular or Node.js to have complete control over frontend user experience.

Drupal + Single Page Apps

Single page apps that dynamically render data on the fly are entirely possible with a decoupled approach. Leverage Drupal's robust content management functionality without sacrificing user experience.

API-First Development

An API-first approach means Drupal can output to any number of outputs by design, including emerging technologies such as IoT devices, voice assistants, and conversational Uis.

Headless Drupal Experience

Decoupled Drupal is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it pays to work with someone with experience. For any decoupled Drupal a project to be successful, a sophisticated technical architecture developed by an experienced team is critical to avoid collisions and redundancies between systems. 

Are you ready to go headless?