Over the last few years we’ve seen the tech world seriously embrace front-end frameworks and, consequently, reap the benefits of decoupling their front-end from their Content Management System (CMS). Before I carry on, if you’re not sure what front-end frameworks are, these names may ring a bell:
What does a front-end framework look like? In a nutshell, adding a front-end framework unlocks a whole new world of performance, presentation and development efficiencies on a website.
On a recent project I worked on for a major car manufacturer, we used front-end tech to create an automotive 3D brochure for users; allowing them to view the car from different angles, hover over and zoom into different parts of the model and even do things like change the wheels.
In short, the customer got truly immersed (and hopefully entranced) by the car and could imagine themselves taking it home. Who needs a test run, when you can hop inside from your desk?
Why doesn’t everyone do it? Some CMS have pretty restrictive boundaries and although the frameworks are open-source, they can be a little pricey to implement if you don’t have the in-house resource to do it. But for corporate sales journeys, it’s increasingly the standard for high-end/high value retail sites that want to really flex its potential.
How does a front-end framework relate to the CMS?
Traditionally, Content Management functionality has prioritised content creation over technical flexibility. By separating out front-end technologies from the CMS, your front-end can be managed as though it was a completely different entity.
Meanwhile, the latest front-end technologies can be adopted and updated – keeping your website up-to-date with the latest trends, without the headache of changing the whole CMS (and everything that lives in it).
AEM and front-end frameworks
As an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE), I’ve had experience in delivering Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) solutions with integrated front-end frameworks.
I’ve seen first-hand how the technologies complement each other, because AEM allows authors and editors to create well-structured, visually-stunning content using its powerful authoring tools, and this content is then passed seamlessly to the front-end framework.
- Future-proofing – You can keep your digital estate in-line with the latest trends, without implementing massive changes to your CMS
- Consistency – Your teams get the same CMS experience, so they don’t need any upskilling, despite big changes to the front-end
- Improved performance – Pages render much more efficiently within a front-end framework, even with large amounts of content or functionality that’s been added;
- Wow-factor – The visual impact can be huge and the user experience really impressive. Think highly responsive, interactive site experiences
- Efficiencies – Front-end code is super reusable, saving on development time and cost
Is it right for your organisation? Although it’s definitely proven popular and certainly not a passing fad, it’s not essential to go down this route. Some sites don’t require this approach and the advantages it provides, or don’t have the budget to work with front-end frameworks. It’s on a case by case basis. However, CMS like AEM present their content in a solid and consistent way and provide a seamless customer experience.
If you’re interested in learning about the possibilities of incorporating front-end framework, with or without AEM, we’d be happy to talk you through it.