In 2023 we will hear a lot about headless, composable and jamstack. While jamstack is a rather technical term, composable and headless are two terms that have entered everyday parlance for those working in e-commerce.
Massimo Pegoraro experience design studio of Atoms, part of the Retex group.
Headless technological approach.
It starts from the design of the interface and experience. Until a few years ago – says Massimo – designers planned experiences that developers then found it difficult to create. Because the developers had to implement with "monoliths". The monoliths were platforms that managed both the logic part, therefore functionality and database, and the interface part. For example Magento, Salesforce, Shopify.
The headless approach consists in separating the front-end from the back-end to allow for the customization of the user experience without the constraints of the e-commerce platformMassimo Pegoraro, Atoms.
In these monolithic solutions, everything is done within the platform, which has a major limitation. That is, since the functions are linked to the interface, there are many limits to customization. We at Atoms wanted the design team to be able to design without having limits given by the platform, but thinking about what is the best experience for the user. Atoms therefore chose to adopt the headless approach, which from a technical point of view means separating the front-end from the back-end.
In headless, the platform no longer manages both the features and the interface, but the platform only manages the features, exposes the APIs and the interfaces integrate with these APIs in a transparent way for the user.Massimo Pegoraro
The user who uses has a smooth and performing experience using different platforms.
Software as a service has the advantage of maintaining a higher level of performance than an 'on premise' solution.
The reason we made this choice was to satisfy the requests of customers who asked to design particular experiences that could not be created with monolithic platforms.
The Jamstack approach in particular is a serverless solution that avoids running into all the maintenance activities that a server needs. Let's think, for example, of the Black Friday in which, as visits to the site increase, it is necessary to increase the server capacity to satisfy the growing number of requests for access to the site.
When a brand is global and with a server-based approach, we can have slower or slower browsing experiences depending on the distance from the server. For example, if a user is located in Japan and our server is in the United States, navigation for the user in Japan could be slower than for a user located in the United States, where the server is located. The Jamstack approach ensures geographical scalability, with a homogeneous level of performance.
Another requirement that we can effectively address with the headless approach is the enabling of omnichannel features such as ship from store, collect in store and so on.
The development of the web application works in a similar way to the development of the app for the iPhone, that is, the front end is developed, then the user experience part, and then it integrates with the backend APIs. Then you use moc or static APIs until the production APIs are ready to integrate. In this way, front-end development activities can be parallelized with those of back-end development.
The composable provides a best of breed approach which is based on the choice of various software that perform specific functions and which guarantee high performance in their specific sector. For example:
- Headless e-commerce platform e.g. Commerce Layer
- Search engine e.g. Algolia
- Front-end framework
- CDN Content Delivery Network
- CMS Headless e.g. ContentFul