• Drupal + Magento Headless Integration: The Perfect Union of Content + Commerce

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    With digital moving at a rapid pace, online consumers are now looking towards personalization or better experiences while making a purchase. And, with their attention span decreasing by the day, if they do not get the information that they are looking for, be it at the click of a mouse or a swipe of a mobile or a tab, then they quickly move on to another site. Given that, businesses have begun to work towards enhancing the customers buying journey such as improving product descriptions and product videos, customer’s testimonials, user-friendly GUI, etc. By adding different forms of content, they would also be able to retain customers’ attention span and help them in their buying decision.

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    Then there is Magento – The Undisputed Leader in eCommerce

    One of the best e-commerce solutions available, Magento is a name to reckon. Given its multistore capability, multi-language options, complex configurable products, and layered navigation, and more, it scores high when compared to other e-commerce platforms.

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    Magento is highly scalable. This makes it a perfect option for big e-commerce businesses or businesses with custom selling experiences, custom needs, etc. Being feature-rich, there are varied options available, which store owners can choose from. It allows store owners to host from few products to thousands of products.

    Its highly flexible platform enables you to add customized workflows to meet specific business requirements. In addition, Magento gives full control of customer information, inventory, billing, products, and records for multiple websites and stores from a single admin dashboard.

    Why Magento Alone Is Not Enough

    Given its myriad benefits yet Magento, on the other hand, lacks in one distinct area: the content management system (CMS) The reason being, Magento by default provides only what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor to manage content from either blocks or static pages.  Hence, there is no flexibility to manage this content. Thus, one needs to have good knowledge of HTML as all the design needs to be added in a WYSIWYG editor to manage the content.

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    Further, businesses have not added tools for managing their rich content; rather, they have been more focused on capabilities that would make them scale above their competitors – omnichannel mode of shopping (mobile, kiosks, desktops, point of sale, etc.), order management systems (OMS), improved product information management (PIM), and other capabilities. Given such a limited investment in the content management, businesses began looking for an ideal platform, which would house a strong CMS along with a best-in-class e-commerce system, something that Drupal is better equipped to handle.

    Drupal as the Anchor

    Drupal has the capability to flawlessly integrate with the e-commerce architecture of a business. As for example, Acquia, the leading cloud platform adopted this “Content for Commerce” strategy where their products and Drupal were integrated with their e-commerce platform. Those integrations spanned commerce platforms including IBM WebSphere Commerce, Demandware, Oracle/ATG, SAP/hubris, Magento, and even custom transaction platforms. Other companies following suit included Quicken (Magento), Puma (Demandware), Motorola (Broadleaf Commerce), Tesla (custom to order a car, and Shopify to order accessories).

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    Given that, integrating e-commerce with a content management system (CMS) would serve the purpose. Thus creating a hybrid solution i.e. a hybrid Drupal CMS-Magento e-commerce store, using the headless approach, seemed the most logical solution. Here’s why –

    Why Drupal – Magento Headless Integration

    With this integration, businesses can now look forward to a powerful and engaging site. Personalizing the content based on demography (Gender, geo-location, age, etc.), customer’s journey (educating and motivating customers while they are on the site via product showcasing, blogs or vlogs, images, etc.), is now no longer a wish list.

    Given below are other benefits that come with this integration:

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    • Two separate platforms would exist. One for product management (Magento) and the other one for the content (Drupal). This will make it easy to manage both i.e. commerce and content independently.
    • Content will be managed in a user-friendly and advanced way than Magento’s usual way of doing that in a single editor.
    • Content will be displayed in a way that there is no or minimal overhead in terms of server and database resources on the Magento Store.
    • Drupal’s easily scalable and secure platform will help in scaling in future and will also reduce the risk of security breach.
    • Other configurations include:
      1. What content types need to be shown
      2. How should the content be shown
      3. What would be the URL aliases
      4. Management of content fields

    Now that you are aware of the benefits that this integration brings, let’s now look at how the integration process is carried out.

    The Integration Method

    Below are the easy steps to integrate:

    1. Drupal and Magento will be integrated in a headless manner so that for the front-end user, there is only the Magento store, which is displaying the commerce and the content. Therefore, for the user, there will be no Drupal.
    2. The content will be managed in Drupal only, which will automatically be displayed in the Magento Store
    3. Magento will have a content listing page, which will list the content added in Drupal. Each content will have a full detail page.
    4. An API service is created at Drupal’s end, which Magento will consume to render the content. Both i.e. Magento and Drupal will have respective database and web, and everything will be managed at the admin’s end with several options available at both ends to configure.
    5. Other than content, other areas of the content page such as header, footer, and the sidebar will be shown from Magento only. The main content will be shown at the Magento store but it will be coming up from Drupal’s end via its API in a headless manner so that for a front-end user, Drupal would never come into the picture. Therefore, any changes that need to be made to the content or any new content to be added, will be done through the Drupal admin.
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    The Integration process assigns a series of logical tasks for both Drupal and Magento, which is specified below:

    Drupal: A module is created for bridging Magento with Drupal. It will perform the following tasks:

    • Provide admin configuration option to:
      1. Choose the content type to return to Magento
      2. Supported return formats like XML, JSON, etc.
      3. Allow request methods such as post, get, etc.
    • Provide the following services to Magento:
      1. Listing of the selected content-type, which will include selected fields, in a selected order, and selected format.
      2. Detail of the content in the selected format.

    Magento: Extension is created for Magento-Drupal integration. This Magento extension includes:

    • Admin Configuration: In the Magento admin panel, a section is created in the configuration section.
    • Magento Frontend: On Magento’s frontend, the Drupal listing will appear on the frontend URL configured in the admin panel. The content will be displayed in the layout format defined in the configuration in the admin panel. When a user clicks on the link of a content, which, basically, is a Drupal node, on the listing page, the detail page of the content will open. That detail page will be displayed in the layout format defined in the configuration in the admin panel.

    Conclusion

    With businesses adopting the headless integration for a more enhanced user experience, customers are now able to “find the information they want and when they want it.” Therefore, the integration of front-end and back-end systems may become the sure shot solution, enabling businesses to create a single source of content, and distribute it as when required.  Thus, customers can now look forward to more than an omnichannel experience, and businesses can keep enriching their customers’ buying journey via the headless CMS.

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    Karan Garg

    About the Author

    Karan Garg is working as a Tech Lead in Net Solutions. His has been associated with Net Solutions since the last 5 years. His forte being Drupal, he now heads the Drupal Team at Net Solutions. Alongside, his interest lies in jQuery and he likes working on the logical aspect of any project. When not at work, Karan pursues his hobbies, which includes singing and traveling.

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