I imagine that some of you will have replaced a website in the last 10 years. Indeed, some of you will have re-built features that replaced the same functionality in a previous website.
As websites become more sophisticated, with more crucial functionality, the idea of rebuilding these mission-critical tools every time we require a CMS or design change, becomes less appealing.
It’s expensive and time-consuming. Data integrity also suffers. The modern systems architect is increasingly turning to ‘de-coupling’ the front-end and back-end services of websites and apps, to allow current and future interfaces to be bolted on, keeping the functions that make stuff happen.
(For future interfaces – think apps and voice services like Alexa and Siri. They’re coming whether you like it or not!)
For example: Let’s say that your website features a login system, with a list of users held in a WordPress database. Registrations and validation take place in WordPress code.
If you re-build the website in another CMS, you need to build all of this again, from scratch. If you were to de-couple the user registration software and database into a detached standalone service, a future rebuild or new CMS simply sits back on top of the existing user system – saving data, time and money – less time/cost to rebuild and no need for users to re-register.
You can also more carefully control who can access that information – delivering serious security benefits.
Perhaps you are a property business, with a list of available rental properties, available on your public website. By de-coupling this property database into a standalone service, you can now more easily build a new app which accesses the same information as the website.
Want to make this property library available to another website? That’s simpler to do if it’s standalone, and means that the other websites aren’t required to re-build when you do!
E-commerce businesses in particular have taken this approach, employing PIM software to manage inventory (rather than their CMS), ensuring longevity of their valuable product data.
This modern approach adds a little initial complexity, but provides significant cost-savings, security and flexibility over time.
Before you re-build your website – take time to think which features you might keep on the next version, and which contain information that you may want to publish elsewhere.
There’s a better way, you just need to de-couple!