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Open Source CMS Options for GatsbyJS Projects

I’ve been studying React on the side for a couple of years and GatsbyJS ties it beautifully into a lightweight web site deployment framework. GatsbyJS is decoupled front-end, so there’s no opinion on what Content Management System (CMS) to use, although the Lumen starter site ships with the simple Netlify CMS. I’m writing this post with it. Netlify CMS is clean and very portable— it simply works off of markup files in a content folder; there’s no database layer. But it is totally insufficient for content creators who are building and managing more complex sites.

I’ve recently asked professionals deploying production GatsbyJS sites what CMS they are using, and haven’t gotten a satisfyingly clear answer. It is either proprietary in-house, or proprietary hosted solutions contentful or sanity or prismic which all have different issues.

Of course there is plenty of room for proprietary solutions, but given how much of today’s web runs on open-source frameworks I expect one or more open-source, headless CMS options to be the go-to for Gatsby.

Indeed, the GatsbyJS team says Wordpress is working towards first-class GatsbyJS integration. Drupal of course is famously decoupling from the front-end display layer, and here the GatsbyJS team offers a plug-in. But there doesn’t seem to be much adoption yet.

The main issue for any CMS working on the JAMStack is the challenge of previewing content that needs to be generated into static files. The line between content creation and deployment is blurred and it makes it hard for the CMS to be truly decoupled.

This is all evolving pretty rapidly and I’m looking forward to playing with GatsbyJS more and contributing to the NetlifyCMS and Drupal implementations.