Since the beginning of 2018, we’ve traveled from San Francisco to London to Berlin documenting all the awesome projects the Contentful community is working on. There’s more to come this year and in the future, but a few videos from last year drew quite a crowd. These are our top five community talks of all time (or at least so far) – stick around until the end for number one.
“Being flexible in your content models basically has a direct correlation with the scalability of your applications.” – James Asbery, Front-End Developer, MMT Digital
MMT Digital set out to make a brand new, flexible site for a big client with just two developers and four sprints’ time. The bigger problem? Figuring out how to balance simplicity with complexity in their content model.
The client wanted the freedom to move and reuse content both within individual pages and across platforms. But to make content easy to repurpose — without drastically increasing cost or making it difficult to navigate — MMT Digital had to make some trade-offs. James Sear and James Asbery detail how they used entity relationship diagrams to build and adapt their content model to evolving requirements.
“My favorite reason for using GraphQL: it has a strongly typed schema for your API. And that has so many advantages in your everyday developer life.” – Nikolas Burk, Developer Relations, Prisma
If you want to go from total GraphQL beginner to schema stitching apprentice in just 31 minutes, this is your video. In three clear and concise demos, Nikolas Burk explains what GraphQL is, how to use it to query and the basics of stitching using GraphQL bindings. Bonus round: learn how to extend the capabilities of the binding to create more custom functionalities, like creating new articles.
“We’ve been thinking that our readers might be better served by content that does more showing and less telling. (...) Interactive content really gets the point home because so many people are visual learners.” – Jesse Pinho, Senior Front-End Engineer, Clue
More publications are including interactive content inside their long-form texts, and Clue is one of them. Jesse Pinho took inspiration from the New York Times and other publishers and built animations that trigger when scrolling into the body text of Clue’s blog. But how can you accomplish this without making it easy for writers to break, or constantly asking for developers’ help? Jesse turned articles into a structured JSON object comprised of a series of nodes using Contentful’s rich text feature.
By the way: This talk was so popular that we had Jesse write us a blog post on it.
“Content modeling is actually really hard. Nobody gets it right the first time. (...) So when you can’t have perfection, the next best thing is change.” – Rouven Wessling, Developer Relations Team Manager, Contentful
Companies change, products change, requirements change. The hard truth: No matter how elegant your content model is, it’s not going to last. Luckily, it can evolve, and in this video, Contentful’s own Rouven Wessling shows us how.
Using the Migrations CLI, he demos creating a new content type, editing existing types and splitting fields to derive a new entry from an existing one. The CLI also limits human error by making changes repeatable on multiple environments, enabling version control, and managing access rights so you can funnel all changes through one account directly onto a continuous integration server.
“For the last 15 years, I’ve witnessed this epic battle between ecommerce platforms and content platforms. They all battle to own the glass – they want to own the front end. They force the programming model for the front end to get some level of technology buy-in. It’s interesting to notice that the winners are the ones who relinquish the front end.” – Chang Li, VP of Technology, SapientRazorfish
Legacy systems have built-in challenges: Long development cycles and high cost of ownership can get in the way of moving fast. SapientRazorfish’s client, a big telecommunications firm, decided to move to a more developer-centric way of working and used a cloud-based stack to rebuild their key applications.
The client wanted certain capabilities of their ecommerce application to mimic a traditional CMS (vanity URLs and page templates), while also keeping the flexibility and reusability of content that comes with headless. Chang Li’s deep dive into the architecture of building an ecommerce solution with Contentful covers creating a page generator, content delivery and caching, marketing personalization and more.
Still binge watching? Find our full list of community videos here.
Technical writer at Contentful and friend to engineers. Liz has spent the last 5+ years turning tech and data-heavy topics into stories that speak to both developer and non-developer audiences. Find Liz at Contentful community meetups reporting on your awesome projects.