The content model from the 5 Contentful APIs

Felipe SilbersteinSeptember 20, 2021

Usually, when we talk about Contentful overcoming the limitations of a web and desktop-centric model, we focus on its headless CMS status. It's true; it's an excellent, award-winning content manager. But this time, we will tell you a little more about the architecture that gives life to this solution for your content.

Contentful is a cloud-based service that uses 5 APIs to manage all the content on your web platform. As you may have already guessed, each API addresses a part of the features you might need to manage your content freely (assuming you are familiar with the freedom of headless).

The 5 APIs that makeup Contentful

When it comes to content, the most critical aspect is that it is displayed correctly and ideally in a fraction of a second, and Contentful, thanks to its API-First philosophy, comes very close to the ideal.

A remarkable aspect of the Contentful documentation is that it is explicit in the names used for the APIs. In fact, this makes it easier for teams that are just starting to integrate this headless CMS for their platforms to understand what each one is doing.

1. Content Delivery API (CDA)

This API is read-only and is the one that delivers the content to the applications or platforms. The API connects to the CDNs to distribute content in JSON and binary for multimedia files.

In other words, the CDA reads the content types stored in the workspace. Always remembering that this headless CMS does not manage files or disaggregated content but instead categorizes content by type for more efficient management.

2. Content Management API (CMA)

Through this API, you can connect your workspace to the back-end of other systems (SaaS), for example, to create an eCommerce. Unlike the previous API, this is a read-write API but requires authentication in the Contentful platform. It provides editors with more control over content types.

This logic allows better governance of your platform both internally and with other services.

3. Content Preview API

The Preview API is a variant of the CDA; it reads the content being developed and allows to visualize it as if it were published, although it holds it in test mode. If you are familiar with the idea of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), then this API's meaning will be familiar to you.

It allows your content team to experience and view the pages created without risking your platform or any of the related services.

4. Images API

Although it sounds obvious, Images API allows you to manage all the images in your workspace. Either resize them, crop them, or change the background color. It even allows editors to change the file extension format.

Likely, you can also do it from any other program. However, for larger companies, this practice becomes duplicate work and loss of files as they circulate between teams. Instead, by keeping the modification process inside the Contentful space, you ensure that you maintain the traceability of your assets and preserve their quality.

5. GraphQL Content API

The goal of integrating this API is to provide an interface that allows you to handle the content hosted on Contentful as a data schema. This directly benefits the digital experience, as GraphQL is an API-query language based on back-end data schemas, enabling the customer to query the data they are looking for specifically. If you are interested in learning more about the properties and features of this language, we recommend reading one of our previous articles, where we discussed what GraphQL is.


When you use this headless CMS, your platform is always ready for change

Contentful speeds up your ability to respond to change; this is a fact. But more important than acquiring the highest possible speed is the simplicity with which it manages all the content your platform may need. For eCommerce companies looking to develop an omnichannel strategy, Contentful allows them to manage content for all channels by reusing files or elements without replicating work.

It helps create fast digital products, delivering content on any device that can display it; mobile, desktop, smartwatch; you choose. To achieve this, it uses various APIs that communicate in JSON format, which is compatible with any front-end technology.

Forgotten is the convenience trap of using a template that gave companies a bulky solution for all web statuses; that was fine when browsing was mainly from desktop computers, but not anymore. Today, reality calls for multilingual technologies that know how to communicate with hundreds of thousands of different devices.

This is no exaggeration; in the "Annual Internet Report 2018-2023" Published by CISCO in 2020, this tech-multinational revealed that two out of every three people in the world will have access to the Internet by 2023. By that same date, it predicts that there will be an average of almost four devices per inhabitant in the world. In other words, the diversity and volume of connections are some of the biggest challenges for any digital platform.

Contentful provides various benefits for your platform, including preparing it for the future. At Reign, we know this headless CMS in-depth; that's why we are Contentful Gold Partners. We recommend it especially to large companies with sufficient maturity who seek to provide a friendly experience to their customers.