Best Open Source Contentful CMS Alternatives in 2018

Contentful is a popular content management tool. It is a fully managed service, where the whole technical development and maintenance is handled by the company for a fixed fee. This takes some fixed cost related to hosting and developer investment from the equation.

Contentful and other Headless CMSes offer flexibility for developers to create uncompromised online experiences with the best suitable technology. As opposed to previous generation monolithic CMSes this opens up new possibilities, but can also add complexity when constructiong decoupled sites with Next.js or other universal JavaScript Frameworks.

The traditional Open Source CMS market is quite well established with a few leading global players like WordPress and regional champions like TYPO3 in Germany. For Open Source Headless CMSes the market is much more in flux, so far there are no clear leaders in the market place. The convenience of Contentful and other proprietary CaaS (Content as a Service) providers is tempting.

Open Source Headless CMSes market still maturing

Limitations in integrations and sky rocketing costs when dealing with large volumes of content are a deterring factor for some companies. This is why there is a clear demand for Open Source CMS and there are already some enticing options available on the market.

  • Directus – A next generation PHP based headless CMS
  • GraphCMS – A proprietary CaaS in the process of Open Sourcing
  • Gentics Mesh – A feature rich Java based headless CMS

Each of the above options have their own strengths and weaknesses, with some interesting details discussed in the following links:

Open Source GraphQL Backend as a Services

Most of the recent entrants to the market are starting to boast GraphQL as their interface, as REST APIs remain common but less ergonomic for site building. For developers looking for an Open Source GraphQL BaaS (Backend as a Service), there are now new interesting options that use a relational database features to create a thin GraphQL layer on top.

Two notable option in this space are Prisma and PostGraphile, with a brief introduction available online:

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