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Benefits of Decoupled Architecture for Digital Products

January 5, 2022
Benefits of Decoupled Architecture for Digital Products

Decoupled site architectures are becoming increasingly more common, but how can separating front-end assets from back-end functionality benefit your project?

DecoupledSite ArchitectureApplication Architeture

When it comes to building a new website or application, there's a lot to understand right from the get go that will determine quite quickly whether or not your product will be a success. Understanding site architectures and how "decoupling" front-end assets from back-end processes can be vital in this process.

What Is Site or Application Architecture?

While it may not be immediately obvious, especially when using drag and drop editors and builders, every website or application has a specific "architecture" - the building blocks that when assembled result in a fully functioning product. This often involves multiple layers such as a database for storing site data and assets, the html front-end code for rendering those assets, and likely some JavaScript to enhance functionality of those assets. Traditionally, these things all live in the same place, all interacting with one another through a content management system like you would see with WordPress or Squarespace.

While these types of site architectures may have done the trick once upon a time, they are starting to show their weaknesses, especially with new development methodologies like Jamstack beginning to emerge.

What's Wrong With Traditional Site Architecture?

Generally speaking, nothing. They work great for simple sites that require little functionality, aren't content heavy and more importantly don't require advanced data security like you would expect from any eCommerce site. The problem becomes when developers attempt to extend these architectures beyond their design capabilities, and once again specifically speaking in terms of WordPress developments, excessive use of plugin ecosystems. The result is one monolithic client-server architecture that can be a pain to manage and becomes inherently slow.

In addition, it's becoming increasingly more common to see cyber attacks exposing private user data on WordPress sites by injecting malicious scripts to "backdoor" their way through the plugin ecosystem and into site databases. These attacks often affect millions of users as over 450 million websites are built on the WordPress platform and most of them use plenty of plugins to perform their basic functions.

What Is A Decoupled Site Architecture?

A decoupled site or application architecture often refers to a development methodology whereby developers "decouple" or separate all of the required application services into microservices called API's, often having them dynamically communicate with front-end components using serverless functions, while statically rendering front-end assets like html markup from a headless CMS. This is a lot to take in, we know, but bear with us.

By decoupling site and app services in this manner, an additional layer of abstraction is added between the end user and the website or app, rendering a near-zero attack surface when assets are statically pre-rendered on the server side rather than on request at the client side.

What Are The Benefits Of A Decoupled Site Architecture?

First and foremost, by decoupling the site architecture and integrating microservices that dynamically interact with a statically rendered front-end, you immediately enhance overall site security by reducing the potential attack surface.

Next, the API's that power sites with decoupled site architectures are built to specifically do one thing well, meaning the development teams only need to worry about working on one thing, rather than worrying about breaking site functionality when it's time to scale.

Lastly, though there are in fact many more benefits to be spoken of, decoupled site architectures typically result in much quicker operational speeds.

I Read Online That WordPress Is Now Decoupled. Is That True?

Partially. WordPress offers the ability to use their CMS as a headless option and has been recently acquiring new technology providers to help transition to a truly decoupled site builder. However, WordPress as it's traditionally offered, does not provide the true benefits or headless site architecture in the way a current Jamstack development does, as all of your data and assets still live in one place.

At Adrenalize Digital, we excel in building scalable, truly decoupled web, mobile and desktop applications that provide enhanced data security and deliver optimal user experiences. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help transform your business!

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