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June 19, 2024

Taylor Murphy

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Marketing & Sales Operations Director

Alloy's Development Lead Ian Boyte shares how our web development agency chose Storyblok, a flexible headless CMS, for our dynamic new website

The rapid evolution of web development can seem daunting, but at Alloy, we’re known for running headfirst into new territory. So, of course, when we were building and launching our new website, our development team wanted to flex.

From a technical perspective, the most significant shift we made was to move away from a traditional, monolithic CMS (like WordPress) in favor of Storyblok, a flexible, headless CMS. We sat down with Alloy Development Lead Ian Boyte for a quick Q&A about his experience working with Storyblok for the Alloy site and his insights on the future of custom web design and decoupled architecture approaches.

Q: What about the Alloy site and the utilization of Storyblock is unique, innovative, and forward-thinking?

A: As far as the advantages of headless web architecture, you are decoupling your data source from any logic or design for the front end. That enables you to potentially use the same data source for web-connected sidewalk billboards, those E-ink billboards. Those deliverables have to pull data from somewhere, right? If you have one singular data source for that project, then you don’t have to have separate maintainers.

That’s a big part of the reason we chose the CMS solution we did, Storyblok. (Full disclosure, Alloy loves Storyblok so much that we’re a Storyblok partner) The platform offers a lot of seamless integrations. You get this visual display that updates, and you get a lot of flexibility in how you can build things and manipulate those data sets to build web pages. You can also use that same data set for other avenues of presenting that content.

Q: What type of organization should take a decoupled approach to its website?

A: Someone who values their data more than anything and values their content because a headless CMS enables reuse. It removes a level of vendor lock-in. You’re not necessarily tied to one hosting platform or framework for the website itself. You’re decoupling everything and being able to pick and choose the best solution for what you really need.

Q: What didn’t you know going into Alloy’s own website build that you wish you had? What were the biggest surprises?

A: So, from a technical standpoint, we went into this project with two very large unknowns. There’s a new complete kind of re-architecture to the frontend meta framework we use called Next.js with the Next 13 version. There were a lot of unknowns there and a lot of things that changed and things we had to adapt to on the fly. This was in addition to integrating this new CMS that we hadn’t worked with before that had its own idiosyncrasies that we had to learn and work through. But in doing so, we found that Storyblock was generally a pleasure to work with and build in.

Q: Having gone through this experience, what do you think the future of web development will look like in three years?

A: I think we’ll see a decline in monolithic architecture where, for example, you have WordPress with your WordPress host that builds your WordPress site and more into kind of microservices and microsites. Industry data backs up this idea that decoupled architecture is on the rise.

The framework we’re using, Next.js, built on the react framework, is mature at this point. And there are a lot of younger architectures that we have kept our eye on and are very interested in potentially using in future projects, which, because of the decoupled nature of how we’ve been building things, allows us to potentially pivot and continue using the CMS solution that we like a lot and try out a different architecture without having to switch to a different monolith. Hence, we get a lot of flexibility there to try new things, and we try to do that often.

Since launching Alloy’s website, we’ve implemented Storyblok for other clients who were ready to go headless. If you’re looking for a web development agency, schedule a call with Alloy’s technical consultants to help you decide if decoupled architecture is right for your new custom web design.