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e-Commerce Advent Calendar

The e-Commerce geek's favorite time of year
2023 Edition

Santa and easter bunny talking about headless e-commerce

by Björn Meyer
Björn Meyer

Björn is a professional dedicated to building fast web applications and improving messy code. His career spans various software development and project management roles, with a focus on e-commerce systems like Magento and Shopware. At the moment he is a Engineering Lead for Team Frontends & Storefront at Shopware.

What would Santa 🎅🏽 do if he needed to think about an e-commerce online store for Christmas? This will depend on when Santa is thinking about his online store. One week before Christmas? Or right after Christmas when the hard work is done? Maybe he is already on a traditional storefront with Controllers and TWIG Templates but he realized that this has also downsides. In the first place, he is talking to others about how they solved that problem. So he is calling the Easter bunny 🐰, for sure.

Ring ring ring click clack

Bunny: Bunny, here. Who’s calling?

Santa: Hey Bunny, it’s me Santa. Some imps and fairies told me that you working hard to release a new online store for your Easter eggs.

Bunny: Pssssst. It is still in development and should be a surprise for all the small kids out there. But yeah you're right we working on an online store completely headless with all the new fancy bling bling that the kids love so much.

Santa: Ahhh. Great to hear, because I am also thinking about a new online store but do not know if I want to follow these headless trends. How did you figure this out?

Bunny: Oh that was kind of a journey. We first had a very simple online store with Controllers and some Template Engine. We used some marketplace plugins or apps and extended the online store to our needs. But at some point we were stuck.

Santa: What do you mean by stuck? You did not get any new orders?

Bunny: No the orders were not the problem. But the update of our online store took a lot of time and with even more plugins/apps we needed to wait for the vendors or for the core developers to fix our problems. Also, the marketing and UX department had a lot of improvements and branding ideas. So the development team could not make all the things happen.

Santa: Oh this sounds bad. And with this headless approach, everything is solved now?

Bunny: Nope. I mean it is not so easy to validate. Some of our problems are gone but also we have other new challenges.

Santa: Wait wait … I do not get it. You changed from a running online store to this headless approach but still not everything is solved.

Bunny: Yep, exactly that. We have a new tech stack and the team of imps and fairies love to work with that new tech stack and are sometimes faster but in some cases, we have to reinvent the wheel.

Santa: But why did you change it? Could you not just solve it in the old online store?

Bunny: There were multiple reasons. First, the development team decided to switch the tech stack. Second, we have more flexibility to change the design as we want. Third, we only rely on some APIs and can update the front end independently from the admin/backend.

Santa: And what should I do now?

Bunny: Ask your team about the tech stack they want to use, validate your requirements/features, and check external dependencies (payment, shipping, …) if they support headless. And then make a decision.

Santa: Bunny I need an easy, cheap, fast, future-proofed solution and highly customizable.

Bunny: Wrong number, you have dialed the wrong number.

beeeppp beeeppp

Overview Pros & Cons

Traditional Storefront Headless Frontend
Pros Cons Pros Cons
Out-Of-The-Box Approach Vendor Dependency Toolbox Approach Missing Features
Proofed by many Outdated tech stack Highly flexible Reinvent the wheel
Plug & Play (Plugins/Apps) Compatibility Issues One source of truth No Marketplace
PHP Update-Hell JavaScript/TypeScript Update Responsibility

Thx for reading and a happy new year 🎉

PS: Keep in mind that this little story is written with Shopware Storefront and Shopware Composable Frontends in mind.

Björn Meyer

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