5 min read

Over the past few years, headless e-commerce has been pretty much in talks often being touted as the ‘future of e-commerce’. Last year, in a joint webinar conducted by Magento on ten B2B eCommerce trends for 2018, BORN and Magento predicted that headless CMS commerce will become a popular type of website architecture in the coming year and beyond, for both B2B and B2C businesses. Magento Headless is one such headless CMS which is gaining rapid popularity.

Those who have recently jumped on the Magento bandwagon might find it new and hard to grasp. So, in this the post we will give a brief on what is headless Magento, its benefits, and why should you opt for Headless Magento 2.

What is a Headless Browser?

Headless browsers are basically software-enabled browsers offering a separate user interface. You can automate various actions of your website and monitor the performance under different circumstances. If you’re working under command line instructions in a headless browser, then there is no GUI. With the help of a headless browser, one can actually view several things such as the dimensions of a web layout, font family and other design elements used in a particular website.

Headless browsers are mainly used to test web pages. Earlier, e-commerce websites like Magento, Shopify used to have their back-end and front-end tightly integrated. After the introduction of the headless architecture, front-end separated from the back-end. As a result, both parts work independently.

There are various e-Commerce platforms that support a headless approach such as Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify, and many more. With Shopify, if you already have a website you can take the headless approach and use Shopify for your sales with links to it from your main website. Like Shopify, BigCommerce also offers a good range of themes and templates to make sure stores look professional and get up-and-running fast. The platform incorporates a full-featured CMS that allows you to run an entire website, not just your online store.

Going headless with browsers means that you are running the output in a non-graphical environment such as Linux terms, without X-Windows or Wayland.

For Google search algorithms, headless browsers play quite a crucial role. The search engine strongly recommends using Headless architecture because it helps Google to create Ajax websites on the web. So, websites which integrate the headless browser on the web server get easy access by the search engine. This is because Google can access the Ajax website program on the server before making it available for search engine rendering.

What are the benefits of using a Headless browser?

Going headless has a variety of benefits. If you are a web designer, the markup in HTML would be simple to understand. This is because PHP code, complex JavaScript, widgets are no longer in use – just a plain HTML with some kind of additional placeholder-syntax is required. This also means that the HTML page could be served statically, bringing the application load time down by a significant amount.

From the e-commerce perspective, it acts as a viable channel for sales, where a majority of traffic comes from mobile. With the advent of disruptive technologies such as Headless browser for Magento, the path to purchase has expanded. Today it not only includes mobile traffic but even features a complex matrix of buyer touchpoints.

Why use a headless browser for Magento?

Opting for Magento featuring a headless browser has benefits of its own. Because in Magento, JavaScript coded parts are loosely coupled but the scope of flexibility widens when it comes to choosing any of frameworks such as AngularJs, VueJs, and others. In other words, one does not need to be a Magento developer to build on Magento. All you have to do is focus on a REST API. For instance, if a single page is loading 15 different resources of course from different URLs, the HTML document would become optimal. Magento is a flexible framework that can be used to create your own logic such as pricing, logins, checkout, etc.

With a headless browser, Magento gets a clear performance boost. All static parts of the pages are loaded quickly, and the dynamic parts of the pages are loaded lazily through Ajax. In Magento 2, you have the additional support of full page cache. It may even interest you to know that Magento 2 offers Private Content which is equipped to handle lazy loading more efficiently.

Isn’t Magento 2 headless already?

One of the common misconceptions that I have come across is people believing that Magento 2 is already headless. For Magento to be headless, a JavaScript developer requires knowing KnockoutJS ViewModels to make use of the Magento logic. If the ViewModels do not suffice, a Magento developer should add backend logic to this JavaScript layer. However, this also applies to go 100% headless: Whenever a REST resource won’t be available, professionals must make headless for Magento 2 available.

To be or not to be headless will always be in talks because an HTML document not only contains the templating part but also static content that shouldn’t be changed. For me, a headless approach is best suited for businesses who have a CMS website for B2C and B2B storefront. It is also popular among those who are looking to put their JavaScript teams back to work.

Author Bio

Olivia Diaz is working in eTatvaSoft. Being a tech geek, she keeps a close watch over the industry focusing on the latest technology news and gadgets.