How our open-source editors drive content platform adoption

A person entering the world of open source editors through a keyhole
June 22, 2020


When developers look for a content platform, they want a modern approach that helps them build digital products and experiences faster — and they tend to choose Contentful. The modern approach to digital experience software gives developers and other digital builders the power to tailor a platform like Contentful into whatever drives adoption and improves the lives of internal stakeholders.

Open-sourcing, a new way of working

We understand that builders, whether they’re engineers or content creators, have a need for greater flexibility in their ways of working — so we’ve open-sourced our entire library of field editor components.

For some, this might seem like a very “techy” feature that’s only interesting for developers. But if you’re managing teams or managing a tech stack, you’ll want to look for open-source flexibility when evaluating CMS vendors. Here’s why. 

Driving tech stack ROI

Contentful’s extensible interface, along with open-source components, lets developers adapt the content management experience to exactly fit your content creator’s mental models and workflows. This doesn’t just increase productivity and make for a pretty interface — it creates a positive domino effect that drives platform adoption. 

The more your editors adopt Contentful to create and manage content, the faster you can deliver digital experiences in higher quality to your customers, the greater the ROI on your content, martech stack and other cloud technology subscriptions. We open-sourced our app blueprints for the same reason with the App Framework. They show how developers can build out apps for specific use cases, using apps from our marketplace as examples.

Your content creators want (and deserve) more

We interact every day with the supercomputers in our pockets — and it gives us high expectations on the software we use on a day-to-day basis in our working environments. This goes for the editors and designers using your content platform as well. They’re tech savvy and used to working with diverse media, intuitive software and sleek devices. 

To meet this demand, software vendors have created simplified user interfaces that are meant to cover all the use cases imaginable, often resulting in feature bloat and prescriptive interfaces that are hard (if not impossible) to adapt. Any customizations tend to be a “set-it-and-forget-it” one-off initiative done at the beginning of a CMS project because of the high implementation and customization costs. In the long run, this approach locks users into a specific way of working without factoring in the need for change over time. 

Rather than tell our customers what we think is best, we’d rather give them the tools to adapt Contentful, at any time, to fit user and business needs as they evolve. This is why we’ve open-sourced our field editors. Gone are the days of highly prescriptive user interfaces and ways of working, synonymous with legacy content management systems.

An image showcasing what open-sourced editors may allow developers to do

Build bespoke, without breaking the bank

We’ve mentioned that customizing software to fit end user needs and workflows can be expensive, and it can get even more expensive:

  1. When you can’t tailor it by yourself.

  2. When you have to build functionality from scratch.

  3. If it’s in an outdated programming language or framework that would make any developer cry, or worse: leave your company.

The open-source field editors, together with our open-source Forma 36 design system, enable developers to recreate editorial experiences that look just like Contentful without spending all the time and effort building functionality from scratch. Our team even created a field editor playground to illustrate how to do this.

Created with our customers

We’d be lying if we said we came up with this idea on our own. Our champion customers and partners have led the way by building their own innovative solutions. The best part: our developer community can continue to build on the open-source components and share their best practices, while other customers and partners can benefit from their contributions. This is what lets our content platform thrive — only with an open, thriving ecosystem would we be able to create the kind of flexibility and richness of options that digital builders need.

So, we’d like to say thank you for creating with us and sharing your contributions to our platform. We look forward to building more new and exciting things with you! Keen on more ways to turn your tech stack into a lean, mean, digital-experience machine? Read our in-depth guide on getting more value from your digital investments

Curious how developers can put this into action? We wrote a technical tutorial on using apps and open-source editors to extend the editor experience in Contentful.

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