It's been two years since I worked on my last big project with Contentful, a headless CMS platform. Back then, I was impressed by the reasonable list of features and friendly UI for content managers, which made the experience enjoyable and productive. Now, I'm excited some of the new features have been added to Contentful by 2023, and I can't wait to share my impressions with other developers.
In this article, I will talk about the latest updates to Contentful that caught my attention and how they can help engineers, content creators, editors and managers make their work easier and more productive.
Content orchestration (Manage Content Across Your Organization)
One of the interesting features is Content Orchestration which allows big businesses to keep their content organized and coordinated across their organization. This feature is especially useful in the following cases:
- for big projects with multiple teams working together
- for projects with multiple environments as developing stages
- for projects with extended publishing flows
With Content Orchestration, project managers can set up a centralized hub for all their content, ensuring that everyone involved in the project can collaborate and work on the same version of the content.
This also allows businesses to set up workflows and approvals by having several stages in the content creation process, and ensure that the content is consistent across all of them.
Unfortunately, Content Orchestration is only available on Contentful's premium plan. While this may be a limitation for some small projects, as an engineer who had to set up projects with various CMS I’m pretty sure these features it worth having out-of-the-box rather than implementing it manually on complicated projects.
Scheduled publishing is a powerful feature in Contentful that allows you to automatically publish and unpublish content at specific times. This feature is essential for editors and content managers who have to deal with big content resources. Especially when it has to do stuff like seasonal promotions, product launches, or important updates.
Here are some features and benefits of scheduled publishing in Contentful:
- Easily schedule content publishing and unpublishing: With scheduled publishing, you can set the exact date and time when your content should be published and unpublished. This ensures that your content is only available when you want it to be, and it reduces the risk of errors or delays.
- Manage complex publishing workflows: If you have a large team of content editors or complex publishing workflows, scheduled publishing can simplify the process. You can use Contentful's built-in scheduling tools to manage the publishing process and ensure that your content is published on time.
- Improve your search engine ranking: Consistent publishing schedules can improve your search engine ranking, making it easier for your target audience to find your content.
With scheduled publishing, you can publish content at regular intervals to help improve your SEO.
I wish I had this feature when I worked on my project. For example, I once had to wake up at 1 AM to publish updates on a website because they had to be published at a certain time. With scheduled publishing, you can set the exact time when your content should be published and go to bed knowing that it will be published automatically.
Good news for Contentful users: Scheduled publishing is now available on all plans! This means that regardless of the size of your project, this feature will help streamline complex publishing workflows and ensure that your content is published on time. So make sure to take advantage of this Headless CMS and make your life a lot easier!
GraphQL makes it easier for developers to interact with their CMS. It allows to fetch the exact data they need from a CMS. Contentful had GraphQL API from the early stages but it was available only on the highest plans. But now Contentful offers GraphQL on all pricing plans, making it easy for engineers to build applications that are powered by content stored in Contentful.
To get started with GraphQL and Contentful, there are several tools available that can help developers quickly build powerful applications. These include GraphiQL, a graphical interactive in-browser IDE for exploring GraphQL APIs; GraphQL Playground App and so on. Read more in their blog post.
Reference view in Contentful helps to manage the relationships between different content types.
It displays the references visually and allows you to see at a glance how each content type is related. You can also use Reference View to quickly check if all referenced documents are in the correct stage before publishing. This is especially useful for larger projects with multiple content types, as it ensures that all references are correctly managed before publishing. Reference View also lets you quickly add or remove referenced documents, making it an invaluable tool for streamlining complex publishing workflows.
This is a great feature for streamlining complex publishing workflows, but unfortunately, it's only available on the highest pricing plan.
Contentful's Sync API allows developers to access content stored in Contentful, and keep it up-to-date with the latest changes. This helps developers to quickly build powerful applications that are powered by content stored in Contentful. It works by providing a single endpoint that returns all of the available content and then provides push notifications when any updates occur. This ensures that applications built using Contentful are always up-to-date with the latest changes.
Sync API is useful for applications that need to quickly access large volumes of data, or applications where data needs to be kept up-to-date in real-time. For example, an e-commerce application may need to use Sync API to access product information and ensure it is always up-to-date with the latest pricing or stock availability. Similarly, a news website may need to use Sync API to keep its articles up-to-date with the latest news stories.
Sync API is also great for mobile applications, as it allows developers to keep users up-to-date with the latest content even when they have a bad connection. This ensures that users can always access the most up-to-date information, regardless of their connection quality. Additionally, Sync API can help reduce bandwidth usage by sending only the minimal amount of data necessary to keep content up-to-date. This is especially useful for mobile applications, where bandwidth and battery life are limited resources.
Structured content and Compose App
Contentful's Compose App is a powerful tool for managing content and creating structured content. It allows users to quickly create, edit, and manage structured content in Contentful. With Compose App, users can create complex data models including relationships between different types of content. This makes it easy to create complex data structures that can be used across multiple applications.
Compose App also includes an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to create and manage content without writing code. It includes a drag-and-drop editor for quickly creating fields and adding relationships between entities. Additionally, it provides powerful features such as the ability to preview changes before publishing them, as well as the ability to save drafts of changes while they are being worked on.
To learn more about how Compose App works, check out this YouTube video which provides an overview of its features
Image Editor: Optimize Your Images for the Web
Contentful's built-in Image Editor enables you to optimize your images for the web, ensuring that they load quickly and appear correctly on various devices. With the Image Editor, you can crop, resize, and apply effects to your images, enhancing their visual appeal and performance.
The Image Editor also supports image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF. This makes it easy to optimize images for different devices and ensure that they appear correctly on various screen sizes. Additionally, the Image Editor allows you to set up custom rules to automatically apply changes when uploading an image. This helps to ensure that your images are optimized for the web without any extra effort from your team.
Webhook Transformations and Templates: Enhance Integration and Automation
Webhook transformations in Contentful allow you to modify the payload of a webhook before it is sent to the specified URL. This feature enables you to customize the data that is sent to external systems, enhancing integration and automation capabilities.
Webhook templates in Contentful enable you to create reusable webhook configurations, streamlining the process of setting up webhooks for different use cases. By using webhook templates, you can quickly set up webhooks for various events, such as content publication or asset updates, ensuring that your external systems stay up-to-date with the latest changes in your content.
Content Management Systems have come a long way in the last few years. They have become the backbone of many businesses, helping to keep the right people working, with the right tools and for the right amount of time.
But there's a catch.
They aren't easy to choose the right one.
Currently, our toolkit contains a range of specialized Headless CMS designed for particular functions. Choosing the right CMS is crucial and should be decided at the project's inception.
This requires familiarity with different CMSs and knowledge of potential intricacies that may arise later on. The FocusReactive team is eager to offer their expertise to clients. Schedule a call with us for any discussions.