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App Framework FAQ
On this page
- What are apps?
- Why would I build an app?
- When should I use an app instead of a UI extension?
- What's the difference between apps and UI extensions?
- How is Contentful’s marketplace different from other CMS vendors?
- Can I use my existing tools together with Contentful?
- What if a tool/software I use isn’t currently on the marketplace?
- What if an app on the marketplace doesn’t match the way I work with my current systems?
- What if we don’t have our own in-house dev resources to build integrations with other tools?
- How can I request an app for your marketplace?
- Where can I find guides and documentation?
- How can I share feedback about my experience building apps?
What are apps?
Apps extend and expand the capabilities of the Contentful web app and the editors who use it. Apps empower you to integrate third-party services, build extraordinary workflows and customize the functionality of the Contentful web app.
Why would I build an app?
The primary use case of apps is integration with 3rd party tools, such as Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems, translation services and deployment platforms.
When should I use an app instead of a UI extension?
Apps come with capabilities such as an installation screen, configuration and state management. They can be shared across your whole Contentful organization and across spaces, which simplifies maintenance and upgrades.
While UI extensions are building blocks for customizing a single part of the Contentful web app, their application and ability to replicate integration across multiple spaces is limited. Taking this into consideration, we highly recommend customers build and use apps going forward, as they will scale even as you integrate more services with Contentful. In addition, we will continue to release new features to apps.
What's the difference between apps and UI extensions?
UI extensions are low-level building blocks for extending the editing interface (the Contentful web app). An app can do everything a UI extension can do and more:
Implement its own custom configuration screen for ease of installation
Access and manage its own state and parameters
Be easily shared across all spaces and environments of an organization
We recommend creating apps instead of UI extensions.
Apps will soon be able to act on their own (as opposed to acting on behalf of a user) and can be configured to receive app-specific webhook notifications.
For more information on migrating an extension to an app, please click here.
How is Contentful’s marketplace different from other CMS vendors?
Contentful’s marketplace offers a variety of extensibility features, including ready-to-use apps, webhook templates and guides for building your own apps. The source code for apps on our marketplace is available to anyone, and we hope it helps customers get started faster, without having to build everything from scratch.
Be inspired to build or customize your own apps
Save time by using our app source code
Users can easily find and install directly from our marketplace
Can I use my existing tools together with Contentful?
Absolutely! With the launch of the apps marketplace we don’t ship any breaking changes to our APIs. If you’ve already developed integrations or use tools that talk directly to our CMA, CDA etc then those will not be affected.
If you developed your own UI Extensions those will also not be affected and keep working as usual. However to take full advantage of the improved maintenance and capabilities that come with apps, we strongly advise you to start using and building apps over UI Extensions going forward.
What if a tool/software I use isn’t currently on the marketplace?
Worry not. If an app is not available today, then your development team can use the open source code, which are released under an MIT license, to build the integration you need. This makes them easy to replicate for services we don’t cover, or to draw inspiration from.
What if an app on the marketplace doesn’t match the way I work with my current systems?
If an app is not configured in the way that you would like to use it, then your development team can use the open source code (released under an MIT license) to build the integration you need. Instead of building the integration from scratch, your developers can look at how it’s built and reconfigure it with your specifications in mind. This should save your teams significant development time.
What if we don’t have our own in-house dev resources to build integrations with other tools?
We have an extensive partner network that can help you build integrations with the tools you’re using. If you need help, feel free to reach out to our Partnerships team for advice!
How can I request an app for your marketplace?
Our engineering team is always curious to hear what kinds of integrations our customers are looking for.
If you think there’s a use case that you would benefit from but it isn’t available in our marketplace, please reach out to us and we’ll make sure to review the request and gather more insights.
Where can I find guides and documentation?
Here’s a guide that walks you through how to build your own app, or you can always go directly to the code and start configuring it to your needs.
How can I share feedback about my experience building apps?
Please contact us.