Decoupled Drupal and the Front End


Decoupled content management has been taking the front-end world by storm recently as developers seek new ways to leverage battle-tested back ends alongside more flexible, extensible front ends. The JavaScript renaissance firmly envisages a future where single-page apps with ever-quickening advances can integrate seamlessly with "headless" back ends such as Drupal -- often by bypassing the theme layer altogether.

What are some of the implications of this newly decoupled world for front-end Drupal developers and designers working with Drupal? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of decoupling? This session will examine some of the trends and new ideas emerging from the Drupal community and others, but it will also frame decoupled Drupal against the backdrop of the rapidly changing front-end ecosystem, considering the impacts in such areas as Web Components, Drupal's theme layer, and presentation as a whole.

Here's what we'll dive into:

  • A brief retrospective of content management
  • Why (not) go headless?
  • Why (not) go with a JavaScript framework?
  • The JavaScript framework landscape
  • Managing content and headless Drupal
  • Decoupled out of the box with Drupal 8
  • Integrating with frameworks (e.g. Angular.js, Ember.js)
  • Integrating with native applications
  • Progressively decoupled Drupal
  • The future of the Drupal theme layer
  • The future of front-end Drupal

This session is intended for designers, front-end developers, and Drupal themers of all skill levels who are interested in learning more about headless Drupal and decoupled content management. While there will be some JavaScript presented in the context of client-side frameworks, no prior knowledge of Drupal is presumed.

This session is based on content from previous sessions presented at Design for Drupal 2015 and New England Drupal Camp 2015, but there will be much new and updated information.

Session Track


Experience Level


Drupal Version