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With the rise of the digital era, decoupled Drupal has become the talk of the town. The glitter of the exciting technology is scattered everywhere. Inspired by its massive appeal, a majority of businesses are planning to adopt it without any second thoughts. However, it is imperative to understand that every technology has some drawbacks associated with it, which make it inappropriate for certain business cases.
Hence, before availing decoupled Drupal development services, carefully weighing the technology’s pros against the cons is advisable. In this blog, we’ll discuss decoupled Drupal, its advantages and disadvantages in detail, and help you make an informed decision.
What is Headless/Decoupled Drupal?
Headless/Decoupled Drupal separates your site’s frontend: the incharge of content presentation and display from the backend: the controller of the content. The need for this separation arose with people becoming capable of accessing content through multitudinous platforms such as the web, mobile, and IoT. Decoupled Drupal makes it possible for you to cater to all these platforms in a hassle-free manner.
Another factor that prompted the Drupal community to come up with a headless architecture is the requirement for a faster response time by users worldwide. As decoupled Drupal was also the key to taking website scalability to a whole new sphere, the Drupal community worked day in and day out to bring it into existence.
Now that you have become familiarized with decoupled Drupal, let’s discuss the major advantages responsible for its massive appeal.
The 5 Lucrative Benefits of Decoupled Drupal
1. Perfect front-end display on all platforms
One of the biggest reasons behind the sensation caused by decoupled Drupal is its ability to render websites perfectly on all platforms. Whether it is an Android or iOS-powered mobile device, a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, or a smart TV, a decoupled Drupal website can cater to all.
Imagine what a relief it would be to not have to worry about your site’s front-end display on various platforms.
2. No interdependence between frontend and backend developers
With the separation between your site’s frontend and the backend, your frontend development team and backend development team are no longer dependent on each other. They can do their work independently, more efficiently, and quickly. No doubt, synchronization may be required at times, but for the majority of the development process, both teams can work independently.
3. It is not compulsory to hire frontend developers with Drupal expertise
When it comes to decoupled Drupal sites, the frontend developers have to ensure two major things. Firstly, they have to make sure that the user interface is in line with the requirements of the respective devices or platforms. Secondly, they have to make certain that correct data gets transmitted through the content management system (CMS) at all times.
None of the two requires them to possess Drupal expertise. Hence, you are free to hire frontend developers who possess little to no knowledge about Drupal. The backend development team will take care of the Drupal aspect of your site.
4. You can upgrade your site’s frontend and backend independently
At times, you need to make some changes to your site’s frontend or backend. With a coupled architecture, you have to tweak the frontend whenever you change something in the backend and vice versa. This is because both facets are seamlessly intertwined.
However, with decoupled Drupal, frontend developers can introduce the required frontend changes independently without introducing the slightest change in the backend. The same holds true for the backend developers as well.
All in all, decoupled Drupal simplifies the lives of your frontend and backend developers and also enhances their productivity to a great degree.
5. More interactive websites
This gives frontend developers the capability to make websites highly interactive and personalized for the users. On top of it, users don’t have to reload the website whenever something changes in the user interface (UI).
After discussing the advantages of decoupled Drupal, now it’s time for us to proceed toward its drawbacks.
6 Drawbacks of Decoupled Drupal You Shouldn’t Overlook
Despite being an incredible technological advancement, decoupled Drupal has some drawbacks associated with it. It is crucial to carefully analyze and understand them before building a decoupled Drupal website. If the drawbacks outweigh the advantages in the case of your business, it is better not to switch to decoupled Drupal.
1. A decoupled Drupal website comes at a high cost
As decoupling a website requires additional infrastructure and recreation of solutions, it is a costly affair. So, once you decide to avail decoupled Drupal development services, you should also be prepared to make a significant financial investment.
2. You need to hire frontend experts along with Drupal backend developers
When building a decoupled Drupal website, you are required to hire both expert frontend developers as well as Drupal backend developers. So, it is usually more time consuming to hire a development team for decoupled architecture as compared to coupled architecture.
Besides, hiring two separate teams costs more than hiring one single team of Drupal developers. No doubt, there are developers who can handle both frontend as well as backend, but if you need expertise, hiring separate teams is better.
3. You’ll lose access to numerous Drupal features and contributed modules for frontend
This is the sad part of switching to a decoupled Drupal website. You’ll lose access to numerous Drupal features and contributed modules that are limited to coupled architectures.
For instance, within a coupled architecture, you can view a page before making it go live. With decoupled Drupal, this feature is no longer accessible to you. Your frontend development team will have to generate this functionality for every frontend where the page has to render.
4. Your site’s performance may get negatively affected
These words may have left you feeling perplexed as decoupled Drupal sites are known for quick response time. It is true that these render incredible performance but only if the frontend developers put in some additional work to make that happen. Wondering why is that so?
It is because a decoupled architecture cannot leverage the complete power of Drupal’s smooth and effective caching system. Consequently, frontend developers have to create it entirely from scratch to ensure top-notch performance for your decoupled Drupal website. The cache is required to be on the front-facing side and in incessant synchronization with the server.
5. Handling decoupled architecture is not possible for all hosting providers
6. You get numerous frontend apps that are challenging to maintain and debug
With decoupled Drupal, you have numerous frontend apps consuming the same Application Program Interface (API). At the surface level, it seems like an enormous advantage, but when you get to the bottom of things, you realize that it is also a disadvantage in itself. After all, the more apps you have, the harder it is for you to maintain them and ensure their error-free functioning.
On top of it, your frontend development team will have to expend a lot of time and energy on the maintenance and debugging process. When you encounter a problem, it may be challenging to identify its source. It could be anything from the app sending an incorrect request to the developers having made a mistake while generating the API.
Hence, you may have a hard time keeping all your applications functioning in fine fettle.
Let’s Wrap Up
The bottom line is that decoupled Drupal is an incredible technology but like everything else in the world, it has its own advantages and disadvantages. This calls upon you to carefully go through the above-mentioned benefits and drawbacks of headless Drupal before finally availing decoupled Drupal development services.
In case you still feel confused about what to do, LN Webworks is always eager to assist you. Our experienced Drupal developers can help you approach the right decision with their immense knowledge of decoupled Drupal. So, reach out to us anytime you need help.
Manpreet SinghDrupal Expert
Manpreet is a detail-oriented website and web application developer with 6+ of experience delivering solutions, ranging from small microsites to big portals, including corporate intranets. He has been building Drupal-powered sites since version 7.