The “create once, publish everywhere with close to zero knowledge of Drupal” is nothing but a myth! And you must have surely convinced yourself of that by now!
This is why harnessing the power of decoupled Drupal has been a discouraging “mission impossible” for non-Drupalers. A “privilege” exclusively for those familiar with decoupled back-ends, for those who do know a thing or two (or more) about each of the Drupal modules' particularities.
Well, it looks like the Drupal community is innovating for a brighter future! One where you, the non-Drupaler, get to leverage the decoupled Drupal 8's power hassle free!
And this future (which recently turned into present) is called “Contenta”!
What started like an innovative and promising initiative at Drupalcon Baltimore is rapidly developing into a powerful, stable API-first Drupal distribution adapted to the needs of the non Drupal “gurus”.
How do its initiators plan to do that? By providing the users out-of-the-box Contenta “kits”, with all the needed tools, configuration and demos that they could possibly need to start “fueling” their cutting-edge apps with content in no time (having Drupal 8 as a back-end CMS to rely on)!
What Was The Context That Favored Contenta's Emergence?
Two key factors defined this favorable context:
- The app development process in a decoupled situation itself: for non-Drupalers it could easily turn into a daunting “ordeal” with all the set ups to be made, the tools to be put together, master matching the app's front-end with its Drupal back-end etc.
- Drupal 8's outstanding capabilities for building decoupled applications
A solution had to be found so that everyone should be able to benefit from a decoupled Drupal CMS at its full potential, especially since Drupal 8 already provided a truly powerful “toolset” to be leveraged.
What Goals Has The Development Team Set For Contenta?
Now that we've outlined the “problem” that this Drupal distribution comes to solve, how about pointing out the “objectives” that its team has set for it, as well?
- it should be highly accessible to non-Drupalers thanks to the provided “out-of-the-box” kit of tools (or quick installer) they'll need when building their apps (content models, demo content, modules suggestions, example consumer apps, default setup...)
- it should be quick and easy to use (thanks to its “load” of helpful demos and inspiring consumer examples)
- it should also turn into a go-to source of needed documentation
- it should be full-featured, perfectly equipped for powering decoupled projects, irrespective of the used front-end technology: Angular, Ract, Vue, Ember etc.
How Do You (Quickly) Install It?
Since we've already mentioned Contenta's “quick installer” feature, it's time we come up with proofs, right?
Here are the simple steps to take for installing your API-first Drupal distribution, so that you can start building your consuming app in no time:
- first things first: install Composer
- ensure that you have the sqlite-extension installed in your local machine, as well ( sudo apt-get install php-sqlite3 in debian/ubuntu)
- then enter the following command for creating your new project: composer create-project contentacms/contenta-jsonapi-project MYPROJECT --stability dev --no-interaction
- next, just install Drupal as usual
What Type of Demo Content Model Will You Get, Out-of-The-Box?
“A recipe magazine”!
That's right, this is the type of pre-built content model and demo content that you'll get to implement and to work with once you've installed your content API.
What Front-End Technology Should You Go For?
“Whichever you prefer”, since Contenta “spoils” you with a whole load of inspiring examples of consumer apps built in different technologies.
And there's no need for you to get “suspicious” once you notice that all these examples feature the same structure.“In real-life” it's the front-end technology that will be powering them that will determine their look and feel (if it will be Angular, then your app will feature that already iconic material design, if it will be Elm, then...)
Wrapping Up: Hypothetical Contenta Use Case
Now, what a more suitable way to sum up our short presentation on this API-first Drupal 8 distribution here than with an hypothetical use case scenario, right? Let's proceed:
“Let's take Matt, our hypothetical non-Drupaler (let's assume that he is a React developer instead). Matt here is in search of a powerful back-end CMS for that impressive app that he's planning to develop. He'll just need to install Contenta, quick and easy, and dig through the out-of-the-box collection of React-powered app examples that Contenta will deliver him, by default.”
This way, via a quick installation process and helpful examples of consumer apps to get inspired by, Matt will be able to develop his React and Drupal 8-powered app in no time!
Now we're curious to read your own thoughts on this initiative! How do you feel about this project? Which are your projections of its future? Are you currently looking forward to using it in your future decoupled Drupal projects?